SQL Server – Software Release Labelling


Reviewing SQL Server Error Logs and noticed some errors that upon googling on suggested that I might want to apply the latest SQL Server patch.

But, as always, no indication of which specific patch.


Software Development Cycle

Let us review a typical Software Vendor’s Application development cycle particularly attuned to Microsoft’s SQL Server.

We will divide the cycle into Active Development and Maintenance.

Pre-Release Cycle

While in active development, here are the stages:


Label Implication
Community Technology Preview / Beta Active development cycle; customers interested in “beta-code” can sign-up to receive code
 Release Candidate ( RC ) A release candidate (RC) is a beta version with potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge. In this stage of product stabilization, all product features have been designed, coded and tested through one or more beta cycles with no known showstopper-class bug.
 Released To Manufacturing ( RTM ) The term “release to manufacturing”, also known as “going gold”, is a term used when a software product is ready to be delivered or provided to the customer. This build may be digitally signed, allowing the end user to verify the integrity and authenticity of the software purchase. A copy of the RTM build known as the “gold master” or GM is sent for mass duplication. RTM precedes general availability (GA), when the product is released to the public.
General Availability ( GA ) General availability (GA) is the marketing stage at which all necessary commercialization activities have been completed and a software product is available for purchase, depending, however, on language, region, electronic vs. media availability



Post RTM Cycle

Label Implication
Hotfix Designed to quickly address specific problems encountered by specific customers
Quick Fix Engineering ( QFE ) A QFE, or Quick Fix Engineering, is the release vehicle for those fixes that are not considered wide spread enough to warrant a full GDR, A QFE is associated with certain build numbers only.

A newer term known as Limited Distribution Release (LDR) is sometimes used.

General Distribution Release ( GDR )
Cumulative Update ( CU ) A Cumulative Update packages all applicable hot fixes. This makes it easier for customers who haven’t been directly affected by the issues that sparked the hot fixes to remain current.
 Service Pack (SP)  Once a large enough collection of changes have been gathered, an SP (Service Pack) will be issued.




On the SQL Instance that we are running, we confirmed that we are running SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 4.

So the question is what patches should we consider.

Service Packs?

There are no service packs post SP4.

Cumulative Patches?

The SQL Server 2005 builds that were released after SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 4 was released


Build Cumulative Package Date Time between CU
Build 9.00.5266 v2005 / SP4 / Cumulative update package 3 March 21, 2011  1 Month
Build 9.00.5259 v2005 / SP4 / Cumulative update package 2 Feb 21, 2011  2 Months
Build 9.00.5254 v2005 / SP4 / Cumulative update package 1 Dec 22, 2010  5 Days
Build 9.00.5200 SQL Server 2005 – SP4 Dec 17, 2010



So we know that we want CU patch 3.  Since it is cumulative we know we don’t have to get previous CUs.



Here are the hot-fixes post Cumulative 3.

Build Cumulative Package Date
9.00.5324 A security issue has been identified in the SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 4 that could allow an attacker to compromise your system and gain control over it. ( KB 2716427 ) Oct 8, 2012
9.00.5296 FIX: “Msg 7359” error when a view uses another view in SQL Server 2005 if the schema version of a remote table is updated ( KB 2615425 ) Feb 21, 2011
9.00.5295 FIX: SQL Server Agent job randomly stops when you schedule the job to run past midnight on specific days in SQL Server 2005, in SQL Server 2008 or in SQL Server 2008 R2 ( KB 2598903 ) Aug 15, 2011
9.00.5294 FIX: Error 5180 when you use the ONLINE option to rebuild an index in SQL Server 2005 ( KB 2572407 )  July 19th, 2011
9.00.5292 MS11-049: Description of the security update for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 4 QFE: June 14, 2011 ( KB 2494123 ) Apr, 13 2011




The package are targeted for the server and or clients.

Cumulative Package 3

Label Target Plaform What is it?
2005_SP4_SNAC_CU3_2507769_9_00_5266_x64 Database Client SQL Server Native Client
SQLServer2005_SP4_CU3_2507769_9_00_5266_x64 Database Engine Cumulative 3




Hot-fixes are targeted for the server.



Unfortunately, I still do not know whether my problem is solved, and more importantly which packages solves it.

But, I think I have a more crystallized view of which package, in terms of Service Pack or Cumulative Package, will get me closer.

And, an ability to quickly parse the hot-fixes symptom.


Software Release Cycle

  1. Software Release Life Cycle

Microosft – General Release Cycle

  1. What’s the difference in a GDR, a Cumulative Update, and a Service Pack?
  2. Paul Adams (ex-MSFT) – GDR, QFE, LDR… WTH?

Microsoft – SQL Server 

  1. Microsoft SQL Server Native Client and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Native Client

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