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Microsoft has finally released the Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2008, after almost three months of testing (the service pack was available only at the community test preview level, until now).

The SQL Server 2008 SP2 has major improvements that include integration of reporting services with SharePoint products and several management improvements.

This final version of the Service Pack 2 includes new compatibility features with SQL Server 2008 R2, hotfix solutions provided in SQL Server 2008 SP1 Cumulative Update 1 to 8.

Microsoft has improved several products and fixed the bugs from the CTP version.

Report servers in SQL Server 2008 SP2 now integrate with SharePoint 2010 products and as Microsoft announced it, they also integrate with SharePoint 2007 products via an add-in.

IT pros can use reporting services tools in SQL Server to “create interactive, tabular, graphical, or free-form reports from relational, multidimensional, or XML-based data sources," according to Microsoft.

The software giant enhanced instance management by using the SQL Server Utility on the SP2, because it “models an organization's SQL Server-related entities in a unified view”, says Abhishek Sinha, Program Manager at SQL Server Sustained Engineering.

In its announcement, Microsoft says about the improvements of the instance management that “with SP2 applied, an instance of the SQL Server 2008 Database Engine can be enrolled with a SQL Server 2008 R2 Utility Control Point as a managed instance of SQL Server.”

SP2 improves the database engine in SQL Server 2008 and it now supports all data-tier application (DAC) operations, comprising deploying, deleting, extracting, registering and upgrading.

The data-tier application “defines all of the database objects (such as tables and views) and instance objects associated with a database (such as log-ins) required to support the application.”

SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 2 runs on systems using Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2003, but also Windows 7 or Windows Vista client operating systems.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP2 along with the Express Edition and a Feature Pack containing enhancements to SQL Server 2008 SP2 can be downloaded here.
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