Going to set up a new database instance from scratch. Debating between SQL Server 2016 and 2019.

I've never installed a service pack or cumulative update on previous instances, mostly because everything was working fine.

Since this will be a clean install, should I patch right away before it goes into production? Is there any downside?

  • 1
    Why are you considering 2016? Shorter shelf life just means end of support (and, hopefully, your next upgrade) will have to happen that much quicker. Also, yes, install the latest CU when you start. Less testing later when you need a new CU for a certain fix. There really isn't a downside if you give enough time for any release (RTM, service pack - though those don't exist anymore, cumulative update) to get enough adoption to reveal any issues. It's software; nothing is perfect. But newer is almost always better IMHO. Feb 24, 2020 at 3:04
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    yes it is advisable to patch it to the latest. if it is an existing database server with live data, do it in a test environment first. Feb 24, 2020 at 3:12
  • You can club installation of SP/CU and SQL Server togther. setup.exe /q /IAcceptSQLServerLicenseTerms /ACTION=PrepareImage /UpdateEnabled=True /UpdateSource=\<path where the update is downloaded> /INSTANCEID=\<Instance ID> /FEATURES=SQLEngine.
    – Shanky
    Feb 24, 2020 at 9:02
  • @AaronBertrand, are you saying I should definitively go with 2019? Also if I were to install a CU after the database had been in production for a while, does the MDF get updated or is it just executables? Worried about downtime if a monster database has to be patched. It's why I've never installed an update before.
    – eek
    Feb 24, 2020 at 22:50
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    I see no reason to choose 2016 (or even 2017) when a much newer version with a longer support lifecycle is available for the same price. Some cumulative updates do require reboots, but you can guard against that with architecture decisions (like using an Availability Group, where you update the secondary, with a reboot if necessary, then fail over, then update the new secondary). MDF files are just containers for your data. Occasionally their format will get updated by a CU, but usually not (this happened once in 2017, and 0 times in 2016 IIRC). Feb 24, 2020 at 23:02


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