Microsoft Releases Latest SQL Server 2012 Service Pack

Microsoft has announced that SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3 is now available.

The new update comes almost a year and a half after SP2, which featured supportability and functionality fixes to AlwaysOn, cube creation support for Analysis services, a fix for Integration Services and some performance fixes to the product's relational engine and storage engine, among numerous other new features.

The storage engine's scalability and performance are further improved in SP3, Microsoft said in a blog post last week. Other key updates listed by Microsoft include:

  • Improvements in consistency check performance.
  • Query hints to provide granular control while using Resource Governor.
  • Additional monitoring capabilities through enhancements in DMV, Extended Events and Query Plans.
  • Improved performance while opening and reading XEL files using XEvent Linq reader.
  • Improved performance for spatial queries.

A blog post from the SQL Server Engineering Team provides more technical details of the various enhancements, ranging from performance and scalability improvements such as better consistency check performance achieved by "estimating memory grants correctly and making optimum use of CPU and memory" to better query performance troubleshooting via reporting of "information on memory grants, degree of parallelism and the threads used for executing the query."

In the coming weeks, Microsoft said it would delve even further into technical details of the updates on the Tiger blog.

In the meantime, SP3 is available to all customers with existing SQL Server 2012 deployments from the Microsoft Download Center and is slated to become available via Microsoft Update on Tuesday of next week, followed by other distribution avenues in following weeks, such as MSDN, Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS)/Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), MBS/Partner Source and the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

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