As of December 12, 2018, there has been one Cumulative Update (CU) for the Service Pack 3 branch of SQL Server 2014. There were a relatively large number of hotfixes in this first cumulative update. If you are running on the SQL Server 2014 SP3 branch, I really think you should be running the latest SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update. 

Table 1 shows the SQL Server 2014 SP3 CU builds that have been released so far.

Build Description Release Date
12.0.6205 SP3 CU1 December 12, 2018
     

Table 1: SQL Server 2014 SP3 CU Builds

You can follow the KB article link below to see all of the CU builds for the SQL Server 2014 RTM, SQL Server 2014 SP1, SQL Server 2014 SP2, and SQL Server 2014 SP3 branches.

SQL Server 2014 Build Versions

Like I have done for other versions and branches of SQL Server, I decided to scan the hotfix list for all of the Cumulative Updates in the SP3 branch, looking for performance and general reliability-related fixes for the SQL Server Database Engine. I came up with the list below, but this listing is completely arbitrary on my part. You may come up with a completely different list, based on what specific SQL Server 2014 features you are using.

Here are the fixes in the SP3 branch:

SQL Server 2014 SP3 Cumulative Update 1 (Build 12.0.6205), 13 total public hot fixes

FIX: Change Tracking cleanup message 22123 is unexpectedly recorded in the error log file in SQL Server

FIX: Incorrect results occur when you convert “pollinginterval” parameter from seconds to hours in sys.sp_cdc_scan in SQL Server

FIX: Access violation when you run a query that uses the XML data type in SQL Server 2014

FIX: Overestimations when using default Cardinality Estimator to query table with many null values

FIX: Access violation for query that uses INSERT INTO … SELECT to insert data into clustered columnstore index

FIX: “ran out of memory” error when executing a query on a table that has a large full-text index in SQL Server 2014 and 2016

FIX: I/O errors on a BPE file causes buffer time out in SQL Server

FIX: Assertion error occurs during restore of compressed backups in SQL Server 2016

FIX: Internal error messages when you update a FILESTREAM tombstone system table in SQL Server

FIX: ObjectPropertyEx does not return correct row count when there are partitions in a database object

FIX: SQL Server service crashes when DBCC CHECKDB runs against a database that has a corrupted partition in SQL Server

 

The reason that I put these lists together is that I want to convince more people to try to keep their SQL Server instances up to date with Cumulative Updates. If you do the proper testing, planning and preparation, I think the risks from installing a SQL Server Cumulative Update are quite low (despite the occasional issues that people run into).

If you install a Cumulative Update or Service Pack on a Production system the day it is released, after doing no testing whatsoever, and then run into problems (and don’t have a plan on how to recover), then I don’t have that much sympathy for you.

On the other hand, if you go through a thoughtful and thorough testing process, and you have a plan for how you will install the CU, and how you would recover if there were any problems, then you are much less likely to have any problems. You are also much more likely to avoid the issues that are fixed by all of the included fixes in the new build of SQL Server. You have done your job as a good DBA.

Finally, Microsoft has changed their official guidance about whether you should install SQL Server Cumulative Updates. As they say, “we now recommend ongoing, proactive installation of CU’s as they become available”.