SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 2 is now Available !!!

The SQL Server team is excited to bring you SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 2 (SP2). SQL Server 2014 SP2, in addition to a rollup of released hotfixes including SQL 2014 SP1 CU7 contains 20+ improvements centered around performance, scalability and diagnostics based on the feedback from customers and SQL community. These improvements enable SQL Server 2014 to perform faster and scale out of the box on modern hardware design. It also showcases the SQL Product Team’s commitment to provide continued value into in-market releases.

Following is the detailed list of improvements introduced in SQL 2014 SP2.

Performance and Scalability Improvements in SQL 2014 SP2
  • Automatic Soft NUMA partitioning – With SQL 2014 SP2, Automatic Soft NUMA is introduced when Trace Flag 8079 is enabled at the server level. When Trace Flag 8079 is enabled during startup, SQL Server 2014 SP2 will interrogate the hardware layout and automatically configures Soft NUMA on systems reporting 8 or more CPUs per NUMA node.The automatic soft NUMA behavior is Hyperthread (HT/logical processor) aware. The partitioning and creation of additional nodes scales background processing by increasing the number of listeners, scaling and network and encryption capabilities. It is recommended to first test the performance of workload with Auto-Soft NUMA before it is turned ON in production.
  • Dynamic Memory Object Scaling - Dynamically partition memory object based on number of nodes and cores to scale on modern hardware. The goal of dynamic promotion is to automatically partition a thread safe memory object (CMEMTHREAD) if it becomes a bottleneck. Unpartitioned memory objects will be dynamically promoted to be partitioned by node (number of partitions equals number of NUMA nodes) based on the workload and bottleneck, and memory objects partitioned by node can be further promoted to be partitioned by CPU (number of partitions equals number of CPUs). This enhancement eliminates the need of Trace Flag 8048 post SQL 2014 SP2.
  • MAXDOP hint for DBCC CHECK* commands - This improvement addresses one of the connect feedback from customers and is useful to run DBCC CHECKDB with MAXDOP setting other than the sp_configure value. If MAXDOP exceeds the value configured with Resource Governor, the Database Engine uses the Resource Governor MAXDOP value, described in ALTER WORKLOAD GROUP (Transact-SQL). All semantic rules used with the max degree of parallelism configuration option are applicable when you use the MAXDOP query hint.
  • Enable >8TB for Buffer Pool - Enabled 128TB Virtual address space for buffer pool usage. This improvement enables SQL Server Buffer Pool to scale beyond 8TB on modern hardware.
  • SOS_RWLock spinlock Improvement - The SOS_RWLock is a synchronization primitive used in various places throughout the SQL Server code base. As the name implies the code can have multiple shared (readers) or single (writer) ownership. This improvement removes the need for spinlock for SOS_RWLock and instead uses lock-free techniques similar to in-memory OLTP. With this change, many threads can read a data structure protected by SOS_RWLock in parallel without blocking each other and thereby providing increased scalability. Before this change, the older spinlock implementation allowed only one thread to acquire the SOS_RWLock at a time even to read a data structure.
  • Spatial Native Implementation – Significant improvement in spatial query performance which was introduced earlier in SQL 2012 SP3 is now introduced in SQL 2014 SP2 as well through native implementation (KB3107399)
Supportability and Diagnostics Improvements
  • Database Cloning - Clone database is a new DBCC command added that allows Microsoft CSS to troubleshoot existing production databases by cloning the schema and metadata without the data. The clone is created with the command DBCC clonedatabase(‘source_database_name’, ‘clone_database_name’). Cloned databases should not be used in production environments. To see if a database has been generated from a clonedatabase you can use the following command, select DATABASEPROPERTYEX('clonedb', 'isClone').The return value of 1 indicates the database is created from clonedatabase while 0 indicates it is not a clone.
  • Tempdb supportability - A new errorlog message indicating the number of tempdb files and notifying different size/autogrowth of tempdb data files at server startup.
  • Database Instant File Initialization Logging - A new errorlog message indicating that Database Instant File Initialization is enabled/disabled at server startup.
  • Module names in callstack - The Xevent callstack now includes modules names + offset instead of absolute addresses.
  • New DMF for incremental statistics – This improvement address connect feedback (797156) to enable tracking the incremental statistics at the partition level. A new DMF sys.dm_db_incremental_stats_properties is introduced to expose information per-partition for incremental stats.
  • Index Usage DMV behavior updated – This improvement addresses connect feedback (739566) from customers where starting SQL 2014 SP2, rebuilding an index will *not* clear any existing row entry from sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats for that index. The behavior now is to what it was in SQL 2008.
  • Better correlation between diagnostics XE and DMVs – This improvement addresses connect feedback (1934583). Query_hash and query_plan_hash are used for identifying a query uniquely. DMV defines them as varbinary(8), while XEvent defines them as UINT64. Since SQL server does not have "unsigned bigint", casting does not always work. This improvement introduces new XEvent action/filter columns equivalent to query_hash and query_plan_hash except they are defined as INT64 which can help correlating queries between XE and DMVs.
  • Support for UTF-8 in BULK INSERT and BCP – This improvement addresses connect feedback (370419) where support for export and import of data encoded in UTF-8 character set is now enabled in BULK INSERT and BCP.
  • Lightweight per-operator query execution profiling – While troubleshooting query performance, although showplan provides lot of information on the query execution plan and cost of operator in the plan but it has limited information on actual runtime statistics like (CPU, I/O Reads, elapsed time per-thread). SQL 2014 SP2 introduces these additional runtime statistics per operator in the Showplan as well as an XEvent (query_thread_profile) to assist troubleshooting query performance.
  • Change Tracking Cleanup – A new stored procedure sp_flush_CT_internal_table_on_demand is introduced to cleanup change tracking internal tables on demand.
  • Always ON Lease Timeout Logging - Added new logging capability for Lease Timeout messages so that the current time and the expected renewal times are logged. Also a new message was introduced in the SQL Errorlog regarding the timeouts.
  • New DMF for retrieving input buffer in SQL Server - A new DMF for retrieving the input buffer for a session/request (sys.dm_exec_input_buffer) is now available. This is functionally equivalent to DBCC INPUTBUFFER.
  • Mitigation for underestimated and overestimated memory grant - Added new query hints for Resource Governor through MIN_GRANT_PERCENT and MAX_GRANT_PERCENT (KB3107401). This allows you to leverage these hints while running queries by capping their memory grants to prevent memory contention.
  • Query execution diagnostics for tempdb spill - Hash Warning and Sort Warnings now have additional columns to track physical I/O statistics, memory used and rows affected. We also introduced a new hash_spill_details extended event. Now you can track more granular information for your hash and sort warnings (KB3107172). This improvement is also now exposed through the XML Query Plans in the form of a new attribute to the SpillToTempDbType complex type (KB3107400). Set statistics on now shows sort worktable statistics.
  • AlwaysON XEvents and performance counters to troubleshoot latency - New AlwaysON XEvents and performance counters to improve diagnostics when troubleshooting latency issues with AlwaysON. For more details on how to leverage these XEvents and performance counters please refer to this video.
  • DROP DDL Support for Replication - SQL Server 2014 SP2 allows a table that's included as an article in transactional replication publication to be dropped from the database and the publication(s). A table can be dropped only if the allow_drop property is set to TRUE on all the publications that have the table(s) as an article. If the property is set to FALSE for any of the publications that contain the article, then the DROP TABLE operation will fail and report that replicated articles can't be dropped.(KB 3170123)
  • Improved diagnostics for query execution plans that involve residual predicate pushdown - The actual rows read will now be reported in the query execution plans (KB3107397) to help improve query performance troubleshooting. This should negate the need to capture SET STATISTICS IO separately. This now allows you to see information related to a residual predicate pushdown in a query plan.

We will be updating and adding follow-up posts on the Tiger blog in the coming weeks to describe some of the above improvements in detail.

As noted above, SP2 contains a roll-up of solutions provided in SQL Server 2014 cumulative updates up to and including the latest SP1 Cumulative Update – CU7 . Therefore, there is no requirement to wait for SP2 CU1 to ‘catch-up’ with 2014 SP1 CU content.

The Service Pack is available for download on the Microsoft Download Center, and is also available on the Microsoft Download Center, MSDN, Eval Center, MBS/Partner Source and VLSC. As part of our continued commitment to software excellence for our customers, this upgrade is available to all customers with existing SQL Server 2014 deployments.

To obtain SQL Server 2014 SP2, please visit the links below:

SQL Server 2014 SP2 SQL Server 2012 SP2 Express SQL Server 2014 SP2 Feature Pack SQL Server 2014 SP2 Report Builder SQL Server 2014 SP2 Reporting Services Add-in for Microsoft Sharepoint SQL Server 2014 SP2 Semantic Language Statistics SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 2 Release Information

Thank you,
Microsoft SQL Server Engineering Team