One can assume that backwards compatibility of products will be somehow limited when a vendor introduces a major new version of the underlying platform technology.
As a result, one could also assume that the introduction of Microsoft Windows Server ‘Longhorn’ (Microsoft’s next server operating system for mission-critical enterprise applications) would work very well with the latest version of Microsoft’s database server product: Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 Service Pack 2 (SP2), but not necessaryily with older database version which have already been discontinued and are not supprted any longer.
If both assumptions would be correct, and if one would like to leverage the benefits of ‘Longhorn’, it could be a wise move to evaluate the differences between SP2 of SQL Server 2005 and previous versions. Microsoft’s product information site delivers comprehensive information on the features introduced with SQL Server 2005, resulting in faster transaction processing, advanced business intelligence solutions, and enhanced developer productivity.
The subsequently released services packs then introduced a broad range of additional new features. Juergen Thomas recently listed some benefits addressing primarily the needs of high-end datacenters (DB size largern than 10 TB, several thousand concurrent users) still runing on SQL Server 2000:
- NUMA support. Providing performance benefits of 25% over SQL Server 2000 on the same datacenter server hardware.
- Online Index Maintenance. A huge advantage – especially with table sizes of several hundred 100GB – by allowing to build indexes online without locking.
- Dynamic Management Views: Possibility to analyze bottlenecks much more in detail in order to optimize performance.
- Database Mirroring: Great high-availability feature, which for example works absolutely great with SAP.
Careful preparation and proper planning, leveraging the knowledge and best practices provided by Microsoft, should allow a smooth upgrade to SQL Server 2005.
Moving further: Microsoft’s documentation notes for SP2 (chapter 5 of the online Readme for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2) describe how to use SQL Server 2005 SP2 to upgrade instances of SQL Server 2005 (except Express Edition) to SQL Server 2005 SP2. This service pack can be used to selectively upgrade one or more instances of SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2005 shared tools, and other components installed by SQL Server 2005 Setup. SQL Server 2005 service packs are cumulative, and this service pack upgrades all service levels of SQL Server 2005 to SP2.
5.1 Database Engine
Additional sources for asisstance and information are listed in the online product documentation on MSDN in the chapter “Getting SQL Server 2005 Assistance”:
as well in the Community Technology Preview of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 Books Online Service Pack 2.