SQL Server Management Studio 18.5 now generally available

In November, Microsoft released version 18.4 for the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), introducing some key features such as support for materialized view scripts in SQL Data Warehouse. It also included a bunch of bug fixes, as well as new capabilities for the sqlpackage.

Now SSMS v18.5 has been made generally available, bringing a slew of new features, bug fixes, and more. The build number for this release is noted as 15.0.18330.0.

As far as general SSMS, integrated services, and analysis services are concerned, these are the capabilities that have been added with this release:

  • General SSMS
    • SMO / Scripting
    • Added “Notebook” as a destination for Generate Scripts wizard.
    • SQL Assessment API – Platform, Name, and Engine Edition fields can now contain usual comma-separated lists (“platform”: [“Windows”, “Linux”]), not only regular expressions (“platform”: “/Windows|Linux/”).
    • Data Classification
    • Added support for sensitivity rank in Data Classification.
    • Hyperscale
    • Added support for “Import Data-Tier Application” (.bacpac) to SQL Azure HyperScale.
    • This change adds missing Azure Editions to our Dac wizards, particularly support for Hyperscale.
  • IS
    • Support executing SSIS Package from file system in MI Agent Job.
    • Made user-friendly improvements in configuring Azure-enabled DTExec to invoke SSIS package executions on Azure-SSIS Integration Runtime.
    • Support connecting Azure-SSIS integration runtime and managing or executing SSIS packages in package stores.
    • Support migrating on-premise SSIS agent jobs to ADF pipelines and triggers.
    • Made an improvement for the user experience of exporting SSIS projects from SSISDB. Compared with the old Export, which loaded and upgraded packages in the SSIS project, the new version independent Export won’t load and upgrade packages in the SSIS project. Instead, it keeps packages in the projects as they are in SSISDB except changing protection level to EncryptSensitiveWithUserKey.
  • AS
    • Added support for PowerBI endpoint in AS, matching functionality of asazure.
    • Profiler: added support for AS Trace Definition 15.1.

Bug fixes this time around are focused on accessibility, DPI and scaling, and more, aside from general SSMS adjustments:

  • Always On
    • Fixed an issue where the first database added to Always On AG does not join correctly.
    • Fixed an issue where an error was displayed when trying to display the dashboard when connected to a Big Data Cluster endpoint.
  • Object Explorer:
    • Fixed an issue where OE was very slow in expanding tables for databases with several thousands of tables (over 20,000).
  • SQL Agent
    • Fixed an issue where trying to edit a SQL Agent job step could have resulted in the SSMS UI freezing. See more here.
      Note that SSMS is now allowing viewing (View button) an output_file whose name is tokenized (at least for the simple macros/tokens supported by SQL Agent that are not determined at runtime). Additionally, SSMS is not disabling the View button when the user does not have access to the file (as far as SQL permissions go).
  • Fixed the tab ordering on the Job Step page.
  • Reversed the position of the Next and Previous buttons on the Job Step page to put them in a logical order.
  • Adjusted the Job Schedule window to not clip the UI.
  • General SSMS:
    • Addressed at least two common sources hangs and crashes in SSMS.
    • Addressed one more case where “Restore dialog” hangs when clicking Browse.
    • Fixed “New Database GUI” for SQL On Demand.
    • Fixed “New External Table…” and “New External Data Source…” templates for SQL On Demand.
    • Fixed database properties, connection properties, hiding reports and rename for SQL On Demand.
    • Cleaned up the “Database Property Options” grid which was showing two “Miscellaneous Categories.”
    • Fixed an issue where the scroll bar started from the middle in “Database Properties Options” grid.
    • Fixed an issue that was causing SSMS to crash when opening .sql file while connected to Analysis Services server.
    • Connection Dialog: fixed an issue where unchecking the “Remember Password” does not work. Also, fixed an issue where credentials associated with Server or Users are always remembered.
  • Mitigated an issue where occasionally Editor windows were not properly refreshed. This is achieved by disabling the hardware acceleration in Tools | Options | Environement. See more here.
  • Fixed an issue where Azure Active Directory authentication was not working through a proxy
  • ShowPlan:
    • Improved how SSMS displays estimated row counts for operators with multiple executions: (1) Modified “Estimated Number of Rows” in SSMS to “Estimated Number of Rows Per Execution”; (2) Added a new property “Estimated Number of Rows for All Executions”; (3) Modify the property “Actual Number of Rows” to “Actual Number of Rows for All Executions”
  • Xevent UI:
    • Fixed an issue where items in the grid were being selected on hovering. See more here.
  • Replication tools:
    • Fixed an issue where Replication Wizard would throw an exception dialog (heterogeneous replication).
  • Data classification:
    • Fixed an issue where the “Data Classification” wizard won’t open for databases with a large number of tables.
  • Auditing:
    • Fixed an issue where the Audit logs merge window crashes when there’s a folder with an empty name in the root folder of the storage account.
    • Fixed an issue where the Audit logs merge window doesn’t show all servers when there are too many items in the root of the container.

And finally, these are the known issues to look out for:

  • Database Diagram created from SSMS running on machine A cannot be modified from machine B (SSMS crashes). See UserVoice 37992649 for more details.
  • When importing or exporting packages in Integration Services or exporting packages in Azure-SSIS Integration Runtime, scripts are lost for packages containing script tasks/components. A workaround is to remove the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 18\Common7\IDE\CommonExtensions\MSBuild.
  • New Server Audit Specification dialog may cause SSMS to crash with an access violation error.
  • SSMS Extensions using SMO would need to be recompiled targeting the new SMO v160 (package will be available on Nuget.org right after SSMS 18.5 is released)

The release notes for v18.5 can be studied in more detail here, and the UserVoice feedback forum can be utilized to notify the product team of any other issues that users might face.

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