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If I am not mistaken, SQL server cannot be automatically updated via the regular windows backup routine. Instead, there are cummulative updates that need to be installed by hand. I assume this is done for security and stability reasons.

Is this correct? If so, how can I keep track of new updates without regularly reading SQL server related blogs? Is there any low-volume newsletter I can subscribe (ideally only announcing critical updates)?

Edit: Bonus Question: Should I even bother? I am only interested in security related issues and those shuold already be covered by General distribution releases (GDR), which seem to be patched in by Windows Update automatically.

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3 Answers 3

First, SQL updates can be distributed through Windows Update (or WSUS) although I am not sure you actually want to do that.

Visit the Microsoft Security Bulletin site and subscribe to the monthly email that lists all updates that are released. Additionally, you can use the bulletin search to find all updates related to particular version and service pack level.

Finally, if you are concerned with updates that are not spefically security related, then I was subscribe to the SQL Server Release Services RSS feed.

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+1 "I'm not sure you actually want to do that" is an understatement in my experience. Patches should always be tested on a development system prior to applying to a production server. As evidence of this have a look at this which happened to me: serverfault.com/questions/14952/… –  squillman Mar 23 '10 at 17:34
    
Unfortunately I do not have a separate staging server for my windows website. I only have development and production. The OS is different on these, so even if I was testing the patches on my development server, chances are that I would not experience the same problems on production and vice versa. So unless I skip updates entirely (which seems risky to me), I think I'll have to risk updating the production server without further testing. –  Adrian Grigore Mar 23 '10 at 17:40

Use an RSS reader and subscribe to the feed of SQL Server Release Services. It's not just updates, but mostly it is.

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Cumulative updates have not been through the same testing as an SP or the regular updates from Microsoft. The release notes usually warn against installation unless you have one of the problems specifically fixed in the update.

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