Microsoft Releases SP2 for SQL Server 7

Microsoft Corp.’s SQL Server 7.0 was updated with a service pack this week in advance of the major overhaul that will transform Redmond’s flagship database management system into SQL Server 2000.

Microsoft posted Service Pack 2 (SP2) for SQL Server 7.0 Monday afternoon at SP2 contains 190 new bug fixes and improvements, according to the fix list provided at Microsoft’s site (

Microsoft recommends that users install SP2 in all current and new installations of SQL Server 7.0 and Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) 1.0. As a cumulative service pack, SP2 can be directly installed on top of SQL Server 7.0 or on SQL Server 7.0 with SP1.

The service pack carries on the practice Microsoft started over the summer with SP1 of providing RDBMS components and OLAP Services components in separate downloads. OLAP Services were introduced into SQL Server with the 7.0 release around the beginning of 1999. There are 170 updates for the database side and 20 updates for the OLAP side in SP2.

For Intel platforms, the database component download is 41.6 MB and the OLAP component download is 64.4 MB. SP2 documentation shows that to install both components requires 380 MB of free disk space. Although Microsoft and Compaq Computer Corp. ( have stopped development for the Windows NT on Compaq Alpha platform, SP2 is available as an Alpha download as well.

SP2 also includes an additional 63 database component updates and six OLAP component updates from SP1.

One of the biggest fixes in SP2 deals with non-trusted connections through OPENROWSET, which was also addressed in a March 4 Microsoft security bulletin.

The SQL Server team also tucked in a few design changes to address problems customers were having. One is a new startup option for managing memory. "What it allows DBAs to do is start up their SQL Server with a little more granular control about how memory is managed," says Jeff Ressler, product manager for SQL Server.

Another such design change allows DBAs to limit the results returned by queries against full-text-enabled databases of 1 million rows or more. "They can bring a very large database to its knees," Matthias Berndt, a program manager in the SQL Server development team, says of the unlimited queries.

Other fixes in the service pack address memory leaks, causes of fatal errors, performance issues that caused SQL Server 7.0 to be slower than version 6.5 in some cases, problems introduced by SP1, and registry changes required for Windows 2000.

Availability of the service pack for SQL Server 7.0 barely precedes Microsoft’s opening of a wider beta testing program for SQL Server 2000. Microsoft officials say the Beta 2 testing for SQL Server 2000 will begin in April. General release is promised for sometime this summer.

With SQL Server 2000, Microsoft is adding data mining, performance clustering, and enhanced integration with Windows 2000 including support for the higher memory limits in Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Datacenter Server. – Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.