After all the feedback from the release candidates and hot-fixes, Microsoft finally released an official update, Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2008 this month. SQL Server 2008 SP2, a long awaited update, not only fixes numerous bugs, but also supplies new functionality for managing database instances using Data-tier Application (DAC) technology and forwards compatibility with SharePoint 2010 and with SQL Server 2008 R2.
Microsoft’s most current SQL Server product, SQL Server 2008 R2 introduced the concept of DAC wherein database entities can be combined into a package for easier deployment and migration. DAC provides a SQL Server administrator with the ability to seamlessly move a database instance to another machine, foreshadowing increased database virtualization. It also allows database solution providers to easily package their final, custom designed product. The service pack adds DAC support to SQL Server 2008, so those of us that cannot upgrade to R2 yet because of hardware, support, or licensing reasons are able to enjoy the benefits of encapsulating database entities for export and import.
Also, organizations that have upgraded to SharePoint 2010, but continue to use SQL Server 2008, now with Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2008, they can integrate the report servers with the SharePoint server. In this way, they can distribute database generated data through a condoned method. Along with SharePoint 2010 compatibility, the service pack updates SQL Server 2008 so that it can be controlled through the R2 client tools. Application and multi-server management and the DAC support functionality is possible through the R2 client tools. This also means that in a mixed environment of SQL Server 2008 SP2 and R2 instances can be manipulated through the same avenues.
Anyone running SQL Server 2008 instances should seriously consider applying Service Pack 2 to your installs. Mainly it should be used, even if you don’t need the R2-style manageability and compatibility, because it crucially fixes many bugs. The bug-fixes alone are worth the effort, but the new features make it attractive to SharePoint and R2 users.