When Microsoft releases multiple public betas and Community Technology Previews (CTPs) of a product, as is the case with SQL Server 2005, many organizations might find they're running several different builds of the same product. In spite of Microsoft's warnings to the contrary, some eager customers even deploy these early releases into production roles.With many products, that can be a questionable practice. However, SQL Server has had a history of stable beta releases; thus many companies did deploy early SQL Server 2005 releases. In SQL Server's case, Microsoft even promoted early adoption of SQL Server 2005 with its Go-Live license program.

Although it's true that several companies successfully deployed the beta and CTP versions of SQL Server, in general this isn't a great idea for a production database. Installations based on prerelease code should be upgraded to the final release. Not only will the software have fewer bugs, but the final releases have also been optimized to improve performance.

Additionally, many labs and virtual-machine (VM) test environments might have ended up installing several prerelease versions of SQL Server 2005. This is fine while you're performing your initial product testing with the various SQL Server 2005 betas and early CTP builds. But now that the final version of the product is available, there's little need to keep all those prerelease versions of SQL Server around.

Even so, you might have a hard time visually distinguishing the different prerelease versions of SQL Server from the final release.To find out which SQL Server 2005 version you're running, open SQL Server Management Studio, then open the Object Browser.The release number is listed in the top server node.

Alternatively, click the New Query button to open Query Editor. In the Query Editor window, type SELECT @@version then click Execute or press F5.After running the query,look in the results pane for the version number. If you're interested in the build numbers of earlier SQL Server releases, you might want to check out the Microsoft article,"How to identify your SQL Server version and edition" at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q321185. Here's a list of the major SQL Server 2005 build numbers that Microsoft used.

  • SQL Server 2005 Beta 1 --9.00.608
  • SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 --9.00.852
  • December 2004 CTP Release --9.00.981
  • April 2005 CTP Release --9.00.1116
  • June 2005 CTP Release --9.00.1187
  • September 2005 CTP Release --9.00.1314
  • SQL Server 2005 Release to Manufacturing (RTM) (November 7th 2005) --9.00.1399.06