Microsoft appears to have given up on patch documentation, and that’s kinda scary for a product that costs thousands of dollars per core.
Yesterday’s SQL Server 2019 Cumulative Update 6 launched with the worst documentation I’ve seen yet. It’s been steadily going downhill, but CU6 represents a new low.
For years, we’d complained that the hotfix articles weren’t documented enough, and they “fixed” that problem by giving up on the articles altogether, and just publishing a short summary:
For some bugs, these short descriptions are probably fine. However, some of them post more questions than answers:
This sounds an awful lot like a performance issue, not a security issue, and it doesn’t have nearly enough details. What features does it pertain to? Should all users be concerned, like folks who just run parallel queries? Or is it only relevant to a specific feature that isn’t installed by default? How can people know if this fix is relevant to them?
Sure, maybe short notes are okay for some updates, but if they are, they sure as hell gotta be correct. We’re now at the point where not only are we getting 3-sentence notes, but the notes aren’t even right.
To make matters worse, CUs have been having showstopper issues – but those showstoppers are buried down in the tiny print at the end of the CU, far after someone clicks on the download link, like this Cumulative Update 4 bug that talks about SQL Server not being able to start up:
To put this in perspective, Azure Data Studio’s closed issues and commits have way more details, and that product is free. Customers paying $7,000 per core for SQL Server Enterprise Edition are supposed to just take down production every 30 days and apply barely-documented updates without a clear reason.
I don’t think that’s okay. What do you think? Are you still patching every 30 days like Microsoft wants you to, or are you less likely to frequently patch given the lack of documentation?