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Microsoft Releases SP2 for SQL Server 2016

Microsoft this week released service pack 2 (SP2) of SQL Server 2016, nearly a year and a half after releasing SP1.

The SP2 release, which is available through the Microsoft Download Center, is packed with performance improvements, as well as diagnostic additions, and it includes all of the latest updates through SQL Server 2016 SP1 Cumulative Update 8.

It also includes Microsoft's Jan. 2 security update for speculative execution side-channel attack scenarios. For background, see the Redmond article by Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Joey D'Antoni.

In general, Microsoft improved database backup performance for "large memory machines" in SQL Server 2016 SP2. Performance also was enhanced by the addition of "backup compression support." Highlights on the performance side include:

  • An improved cleanup process for "oversized distribution database tables" to avoid "blocking or deadlock scenarios."
  • An improvement in "change tracking cleanup" for "Change Tracking side tables."
  • An I/O backup improvement that promises performance gains when "multiple small databases" are hosted on "large high-end servers with large memory."
  • VDI backup compression for Transparent Data Encryption-enabled databases.
  • Dynamic loading of Replication Agents parameters "without having to restart the agent."

On the diagnostics side, Microsoft improved the troubleshooting. It added improvements based on feedback from the last Microsoft Connect event. Highlights on the diagnostic side include:

  • Full support for "distributed transactions with Availability Group databases."
  • The closing of all Service Broker connections on Availability Group failovers.
  • A Dynamic Management Views addition for monitoring TempDB sizing "based on the version store usage requirements per database."
  • Ability to generate full dumps for Replication Agents for troubleshooting purposes.
  • Dynamic reloading of "some Replication Agent profile parameters" without having to restart the agent.

The full list of SQL Server 2016 SP2 improvements can be found in this Knowledge Base article.

Microsoft is recommending a reboot after installing SP2. While the service pack is currently available from the Microsoft Download Center, it'll be available "soon to Visual Studio subscriptions, MBS/Partner Source and VLSC [Volume Licensing Service Center]," Microsoft indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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