CSS SQL Server Engineers

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An important change for the Microsoft Lifecycle Support Policy….

An important change for the Microsoft Lifecycle Support Policy….

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Over the past few months I’ve filed some posts on our blog regarding our support lifecycle policies because I know sometimes this topic can get very confusing:

http://blogs.msdn.com/psssql/archive/2010/02/17/mainstream-vs-extended-support-and-sql-server-2005-sp4-can-someone-explain-all-of-this.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/psssql/archive/2010/01/08/important-sql-server-and-windows-end-of-support-dates-you-should-know-about.aspx

One of the key points in these blogs is that when a service pack for a product hits its “end of life date” you must upgrade to a newer service pack to get technical support from Microsoft unless you purchase a customer support agreement. Today, the Microsoft lifecycle team is announcing a change to this policy and have blogged about it at this post: http://blogs.technet.com/lifecycle/archive/2010/04/13/end-of-support-for-windows-vista-rtm-and-recent-service-pack-support-policy-updates.aspx. You can read the official page at: http://support.microsoft.com/gp/newsplifecycle

Let me summarize these changes and explain what it means by using an example:

Today April 13, 2010 marks the end of support for SQL Server 2008 RTM (remember this just for the RTM version. Full support exists for SQL Server 2008 SP1). This includes any cumulative updates to the RTM version. Prior to this lifecycle change, this meant that if you called Microsoft Technical Support we would not be able to help you unless you had purchased a customer support agreement.

With this change, we will “now take your call” to help you but provide limited troubleshooting. What is limited? Here is how the lifecycle team explains it:

  • Break/fix support incidents will be provided through Microsoft Customer Service and Support; and through Microsoft’s managed support offerings (such as Premier Support).
  • There will be no option to engage Microsoft’s product development resources, and technical workarounds may be limited or not available.
  • If the support incident requires escalation to development for further guidance, requires a hotfix, or requires a security update, customers will be asked to upgrade to a supported service pack.

So you can expect us to help you find a solution or answer but that answer won’t involve engaging the product development team, a deep dive into root cause of your issue, new hotfix requests, or extensive troubleshooting techniques that could last for weeks. We haven’t established fixed time limits but as you can see our ability to find exactly the answer you want may be limited. There will be situations when we have to tell you that the only solution is to upgrade to a supported service pack level.

This does not affect customers who purchase a custom support agreement. These customers do not have the same limitations as described here so they are getting the extra benefit of full support.

I will continue to monitor any future updates to any of our support polices on our blog. Look for the tag called Support Policy.

 

Bob Ward
Microsoft

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  • I think that you should have released a 'last service pack' after all the cummulative updates PRIOR to establishing a life cycle date especially when some Microsoft applications require CU# after the last service pack (like SharePoint, CRM, GP, SL, etc.).  I think it would have helped your support team as well as any SQL DBA team to rollout the last service pack that would include all CU's. Now you have to keep all those CU's in your download area too...doesn't seem efficient or effective for anyone does it.

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