SQL Server SP4

We recently had a 3rd party audit of a SQL server systems, they raised a "high" risk issue in that some of the older MSSQL 2005 instances weren't at Service Pack 4 for 2005? Can anyone elaborate on what the risk is here? Is SP4 the only supported version of 2005? Or are older service pack levels still supported? When was SP4 released, and if SP 3 or earlier is no longer supported, can you elaborate when they went out of support?

Is this a high risk issue? Security issue?

Can you give a bit of a low tech management summary of what mainstream support actually gives you/is? And what technical support gives you/is?

What's the actual risk of operating a SQL installation for a service pack that is no longer under mainstream support?
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pma111Asked:
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Raja Jegan RConnect With a Mentor SQL Server DBA & ArchitectCommented:
SP4 for SQL Server 2005 is released in 2010 itself and you can get it from here:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=7218

And if SP4 is not applied then there won't be any support from Microsoft. But if you have applied SP4, then you extended support is available till 04/12/2016 and hence you are recommended to apply SP4 at the earliest.

More on End of Life support below:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlreleaseservices/archive/2011/01/27/end-of-mainstream-support-for-sql-server-2005-and-end-of-service-pack-support-for-sql-server-2008-sp1.aspx
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pma111Author Commented:
What's the overall risk though in not moving to Sp4? What's the impact if we don't go to SP4?
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Raja Jegan RSQL Server DBA & ArchitectCommented:
If you are not moving then you will not get support from Microsoft in case of any issues.
That would be the only major risk associated and the minor risks include the patches for issues fixed in SP4.
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Racim BOUDJAKDJIConnect With a Mentor Database Architect - Dba - Data ScientistCommented:
The main risk into remaining in SP3 is the fact that your systems is currently unsupported by MS.  From memory (I may be mistaken) and regarding 2005, if you have not or do not plan onto buying extended support until 2016, you can stick to SP3 and accept to leave your system unsupported.  That said, between buying extended support and migrating directly to 2012, I would definitely put my money onto buying a new version.  Also, see if you can consolidate your application onto a more recent license to benefit from active support.

Hope this helps.
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Racim BOUDJAKDJIDatabase Architect - Dba - Data ScientistCommented:
<<What's the overall risk though in not moving to Sp4? What's the impact if we don't go to SP4?>>
There should not be any but be very cautious about performance issues related to inner memory pressure. By passing from SP3 to SP4, many issues that did not exist on SP3 appeared on SP4.  Make sure you increase memory to reduce risk.

I would advise testing and making sure you can go back to SP3 even after installing.

Hope this helps.
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