SQL Server 2017 Cumulative Update 26
On July 12th, 2021, Microsoft released SQL Server 2017 Cumulative Update 26. This is Build 14.0.3411.3. By my count, there are 22 public hotfixes and improvements in SQL Server 2017 CU26, which is about an average number. SQL Server 2017 is pretty mature by now, so the number of hotfixes is trending downward.
No Service Packs
SQL Server 2017 and newer does not have Service Packs. Microsoft is not using Service Packs as a servicing mechanism for SQL Server, only cumulative updates.
Due to human malware concerns, CU21 was delayed until July 1, 2020. SQL Server 2017 CU22 was released on September 10th, 2020. Since CU23, Microsoft seems to be back on a normal release schedule.
Normally, Microsoft will release a new SQL Server 2017 CU every two months. This is what they are supposed to do until SQL Server 2017 falls out of Mainstream Support on October 11, 2022. When SQL Server 2017 falls out of Mainstream Support, there won’t be anymore cumulative updates. There will only be security updates after that.
SQL Server cumulative updates are actually cumulative, which might seem obvious from the name. This means that when you install SQL Server 2017 CU26, you are going to get all of the hotfixes and product improvements from ALL of the previous CUs. Microsoft has fixed hundreds of bugs since SQL Server 2017 RTM, and they have also added a significant number of product improvements and new features since the RTM release.
Despite some recent stumbles by Microsoft, I am still a big proponent of trying to keep your SQL Server instances as up to date as possible. That does not mean throwing a new CU into Production the day it is released, but it also does not mean avoiding patching SQL Server indefinitely either. You really are better off trying to stay as current as possible on your SQL Server builds.
Here is Microsoft’s official guidance:
Microsoft recommends ongoing, proactive installation of CUs as they become available
- SQL Server CUs are certified to the same levels as Service Packs, and should be installed at the same level of confidence.
- Historical data shows that a significant number of support cases involve an issue that has already been addressed in a released CU.
- CUs may contain added value over and above hotfixes. This includes supportability, manageability, and reliability updates.
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