Microsoft recently released SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1, then pulled it. This service pack was released to deliver numerous improvements to customers but after customers began reporting installation errors, the service pack distribution was halted. The packages were available for download, so if you’ve downloaded SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1, but have yet to install it, don’t install it!
Microsoft will release an updated service pack in a few weeks to address the installation bug. In the meantime, here are the planned improvements which will come as soon as the service pack is released again:
- Column store performance is improved when batch mode operators spill over to disk. A new XEvent provides insights into column store inserts.
- Several issues in buffer pool extension SSD configuration are addressed, including the ability to do instant initialization of the buffer pool extension file.
- Certain queries compile faster when using new cardinality estimator, and other cardinality estimation query plans are more efficient when using TF-4199.
- The scalability benefits of two trace flags (TF-1236, TF-9024) are applied automatically.
- Backup header information retrieval works better with encrypted backups.
With most service packs, this one focuses on tweaks and improvements, not releasing big features. Performance remains a big focus of this service pack and Microsoft points out early usage by Samsung Electro-Mechanics shows performance gains around 20%. Improving performance is always a welcome change, because that means companies can do more without expensive hardware upgrades.
As soon as Microsoft fixes and verifies the service pack, it will become available for download again. Even though they’ve tested the bits internally, always be careful when applying substantial updates to servers and test the service pack before doing a full upgrade. Companies like Microsoft have quality checks and a variety of test environments, but there is always some risk of data loss. Hopefully the fix will be quick and it will be verified soon!