SQL Server 2008 R2 SP3 Is Last One You'll See
Microsoft makes good on commitment to continue improving older solutions, but the support will eventually end for this version as a newer, cloudified version 2014 takes over.
In what is a commitment to continuing support for products that still have viable life among its customers, Microsoft has rolled out another version of SQL Server 2008, dubbed Release 2 Service Pack 3. According to the SQL Server Releases blog, its "primarily a roll up of Cumulative Updates as it is the last Service Pack for SQL Server 2008 R2."
SQL Server 2008 is ancient in technology years, with more than six years since its release. While mainstream support ended in July, extended support will continue to 2019, of which this cumulative update is a result. In Microsoft parlance, that means customers who maintain an extended support agreement will continue to see and be able to download non-security and security-related updates. (The official Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy is here.)
Meanwhile, the SQL Server team has been moving steadily with the new release of SQL Server 2014 in April of this year, and was one of newly installed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's first product pronouncements that highlighted the cloud and Internet of Things (IoT).
SQL Server 2014 has strong integration with the Microsoft Azure cloud service mainly on the backup and recovery side, but there's lots of tooling to allow for scaling of databases and projects and for connecting, gathering and managing data from devices and sensors as part of its embrace of the IoT. It also introduced Azure HDInsight for supporting Hadoop in the cloud, and PowerBI for Office 365 for self-service BI in the cloud.
For feature details on SQL Server 2014, go here.
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