You ever wonder how people keep up with when service packs, hotfixes, or cumulative updates (aka CUs) are released by Microsoft?

Well I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you where I get my notices from.  Microsoft does not actually have a notification system in place for just SQL Server.  They do for Windows.  So other than using the blogs that I follow, I use these 2 sites:

Microsoft SQL Server Release Services Blog KBAlertz.com: Knowledge Base Alerts The basic cycle of updates for SQL Server is a major release comes out, hotfixes or CUs released for those little issues that pop up, then eventually a service pack is released, then CUs for that service pack are released (along with hotfixes), then the cycle just keeps repeating. On most occasions companies will not push out CUs except when needed, awaiting for that wonderful Service Pack to move to.

You usually see hotfixes and CUs stop when the next service pack or next major release of SQL Server comes out. For instance SQL Server 2005 has gone to Cumulative Update #9 for Service Pack 3 (as of the date of this post). With most DBAs now hoping Microsoft will release a service pack 4 to finish out the SQL 2005 era, as you can see by the number of votes Steve Jones (blog | twitter) is getting on his Microsoft Connect suggestion.