SQL Server 2016’s End User License Agreement (EULA) contains a couple of surprises for those who let their SQL Servers connect to the internet. No, I don’t mean where the Internet connects to you – I mean where the SQL Server can reach the internet, like open a web page.
Issue #1: You may get updates whether you want them or not.
You probably shouldn’t run 2016 side-by-side with older versions because:
IMPORTANT NOTICE: AUTOMATIC UPDATES TO PREVIOUS VERSIONS OF SQL SERVER. If this software is installed on servers or devices running any supported editions of SQL Server prior to SQL Server 2016 RC (or components of any of them) this software will automatically update and replace certain files or features within those editions with files from this software. This feature cannot be switched off. Removal of these files may cause errors in the software and the original files may not be recoverable. By installing this software on a server or device that is running such editions you consent to these updates in all such editions and copies of SQL Server (including components of any of them) running on that server or device.
Issue #2: Your SQL Server phones home to Redmond by default.
We collect data about how you interact with this software. This includes data about the performance of the services, any problems you experience with them, and the features you use…. It includes information about the operating systems and other software installed on your device, including product keys. By using this software, you consent to Microsoft’s collection of usage and performance data related to your use of the software.
Before 2016, you had to manually opt-in by checking a checkbox during installation.
With SQL Server 2016, there’s no checkbox – you’re opted in by default.
I’m actually a huge fan of app telemetry – sending crash reports and usage data back to the application developers in order to help make the app better. I want developers to know how I use their apps, because I want them to improve the parts of the app that I use the most. Heck, I’d be fine if SSMS turned on the microphone while I worked, and then did sentiment analysis. (They would see a very high number of four-letter words tied to the term “IntelliSense.”)
Here’s the relevant part of setup:
The Privacy Statement links to https://www.microsoft.com/EN-US/privacystatement/SQLServer/Default.aspx, which at first glance looks like it has some juicy hyperlinks, but they’re not links. You have to click on the Learn More link at the bottom right:
How to Turn Off the Phone-Home Option for Standard and Enterprise Edition
That above link explains:
Enterprise customers may construct Group Policy to opt in or out of telemetry collection by setting a registry-based policy. The relevant registry key and settings are as follows:
Key = HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\130
RegEntry name = CustomerFeedback
Entry type DWORD: 0 is opt out, 1 is opt in
Be aware that editing the registry, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, is nothing to, uh, mess around with.
Issue #3: You can’t Turn Off the Phone-Home Option for Developer, Express, and Evaluation Editions
Jason Ash points out that the KB 3153756 says:
You can disable the sending of information to Microsoft only in paid versions of SQL Server. You cannot disable this functionality in Developer, Enterprise Evaluation, and Express editions of SQL Server 2016.
I’m curious to see how customers react to these new changes. I bet in the days of phone app telemetry, folks are okay with it. I certainly am – as long as we don’t find out that things like memory dumps with end user queries (especially insert statements) are making their way to places unknown.
Update 2016/06/01 – Microsoft’s Jeff Papiez points out KB 3153756: How to configure SQL Server 2016 to send feedback to Microsoft. That KB explains the registry changes required to turn off telemetry, and also lists a couple of sample DMV queries whose results could get sent back to Microsoft.
If you believe you should be able to disable phone-home telemetry feedback for Developer, Express, and Evaluation Editions, vote for this Connect item.