In response to customer feedback, SQL Server team has revised the mechanism to deliver hotfixes on reported bugs with a new model called Incremental Servicing Model (ISM). The objective is to deliver high quality fixes within an acceptable amount of time and on a predictable schedule.
We have moved away from current “priority driven” hotfix release model to a scheduled delivery model in which a customer can get a hotfix to service their most critical situations with a short turn-around time or a fix that has undergone higher levels of testing is released on a scheduled basis. As a result we created the two delivery mechanisms outlined below:
1) An On-Demand Hotfix request:
a. The issue must meet the criteria for this request (including a lack of a viable work-around, critical business impact, etc.)
b. May be requested by any customer regardless of their support offering as long as it met the above bar.
c. Is released on or before a mutually agreed date based on customer’s need
d. This hotfix build could contain one or more fixes.
2) Cumulative Update:
a. May be requested by any customer regardless of their support offering.
b. Is released every 2 months.
c. Is a Cumulative Update build containing:
1. All previous on-demand hotfixes to-date
2. Fixes for issues that meet hotfix acceptance criteria which considers the work-around availability, customer impact, reproducibility, complexity of code needing to be changed, etc.
While we are rolling out this revised model, there are several other projects are being done concurrently to focus on improving the quality of SQL Server at ship time to reduce the need for hotfixes of this nature