First off, the less interesting one: SQL Server 2017 Cumulative Updates come out about every 60 days, so that one’s not a big deal. The new Cumulative Update 26 includes fixes for columnstore, affinity masking, and other stuff. Note that sp_pkeys was broken in CU25, and that one’s still not fixed in CU26.
Now for the more interesting one: SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 3.
2016 was the last version to have Service Packs. Starting with 2017, Microsoft only ships Cumulative Updates. In the past, Microsoft has used one last Service Pack to kinda seal the tomb, closing off support for a version. Long term support is only available for the last Service Pack for a product. As of today, 2016 SP2 only gets support until October 11, 2022, whereas SP3’s support goes all the way out through 2026.
I like this approach because it makes support simpler. Microsoft doesn’t have to deal with a wide variety of builds for these older versions (if you can call 2016 older) – we can just say, “If you want help, it’s gotta be build 13.0.6300.2.”
Sure, there are a list of fixes in the KB article, but for me, the bigger takeaway is that for long term support, you need to patch all your 2016 instances at some point in the near future. I know, it’s a little more work added to your plate – but ideally, this will be the last SQL Server patch you’ll ever have to apply on those boxes, barring a critical security surprise.
SQL Server 2016 isn’t dead yet, but…he did just have his retirement party and get a box with a nice gold watch for his services.