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Gathering Additional Information Necessary to Proceed

During the installation of SQL Server 2008, you will have to tell the setup wizard how you want your server configured. The wizard will take the information you provide and configure the server settings to meet your specifications.

Taking the time to gather the information described in the following sections before starting your installation or upgrade will likely make your SQL Server 2008 installation go faster, smoother, and easier.

New SQL Server 2008 Installation or In-place Upgrade

The first and most major decision when moving toward SQL Server 2008 is debating whether to implement a brand new SQL Server installation from scratch or to conduct an in-place upgrade. If you don’t already have SQL Server in your existing infrastructure, it is a “no-brainer,” and a new installation is warranted. However, if a legacy version of SQL Server resides in the infrastructure, the organization must decide between an in-place upgrade or a new installation. If a new installation is chosen, it is necessary to transition existing SQL Server data from the legacy system to the newly established SQL Server 2008 system. As mentioned earlier, each alternative has benefits and disadvantages.

New SQL Server 2008 Stand-alone Installation or Failover Cluster

Another major decision needs to be made in the planning phases: Should SQL Server 2008 be installed in a stand-alone system or should Failover Clustering be utilized? Failover Clustering provides high availability for a SQL Server instance and should be leveraged if an organization needs maximum availability, protection against server hardware failure, seamless failover that does not require DBA intervention, and finally, automatic client redirects. A stand-alone installation is also sufficient, as it is cheaper, easier to administer, and does not require specific failover clustering hardware.

Single-Instance or Multiple-Instance Installation

For years now, discussions on the topic of single-instance versus multiple-installation have both engulfed and engaged the SQL Server community. Should you install a single-instance SQL Server installation and place all databases on one instance, or scale up and create a multiple-instance SQL Server installation and spread databases across each of these instances? This question continues to echo through every organization. Here are some best practices to assist in making such an arduous decision.

One of the main drawbacks of placing all databases on a single-instance installation involves the tempdb database. The tempdb database is a shared resource between all databases contained within the same SQL Server instance. Performance degradation may occur as the tempdb database is the single point of contention for all temporary database workloads. In multiple-instance installations, a tempdb database is created for each instance, minimizing contention and performance degradation.

Many DBAs implement multiple instances for other reasons, including regulatory compliance, administrator autonomy, different global security policies, global server settings, and compatibility requirements.

Side-by-Side Installations with Previous Versions of SQL Server

Organizations also have the option to install a brand new installation of SQL Server 2008 on a server that is already running a legacy instances of SQL Server 2005. Based on this methodology, more than one version of SQL Server will reside on the system.

Typically, the preference is to either conduct an in-place upgrade or install SQL Server 2008 on new hardware to minimize hardware contention and performance degradation. However, side-by-side installations are sometimes warranted. Let’s look at the situations that support this installation. SQL Server 2008 will coexist with SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2000. Unfortunately, SQL Server 7.0 is not supported, but hopefully the majority of the organizations out there have already transitioned out of SQL Server 7.0 because it is no longer supported by Microsoft.

Determine Which SQL Server 2008 Features to Install

Give serious thought to the SQL Server 2008 features before installing them. The modular setup of SQL Server 2008 is made up of many independent features, previously referred to as components, allowing for complete customization by organizations. This typically results in minimal surface area and more granularity compared with older editions of SQL Server. This improved modular installation process is said to be “slim and efficient” like other new Microsoft products such as Windows Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2007.

The following bullets depict the modular installation including shared features that can be selected during the installation of SQL Server 2008:

  • Database Engine Services—This is the core service for storing, processing, and securing data. It is designed to provide a scalable, fast, and high-availability platform for access and the other components. Two subfeatures within the Database Engine are

    • SQL Server Replication—Replication allows DBAs to copy databases to different locations and keep the copies synchronized. This can be used for data distribution, synchronization, fault tolerance, disaster recovery, load balancing, or testing. The Replication component manages database replication and interacts primarily with the Database Engine features.
    • Full-Text Search—The Full-Text Search engine populates and manages the full-text catalogs. The Full-Text engine also makes full-text searches easier by maintaining indexes, a thesaurus, noise words, and linguistic analysis of the full-text indexes.
  • Analysis Services—The SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services (SSAS) feature provides online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining. OLAP is a modification of the original database concept of online transaction processing (OLTP). OLAP is designed to provide immediate answers to analytical and ad hoc queries from a multidimensional cube known as an OLAP cube. Data mining is the process of searching large volumes of data for patterns and trends. SSAS allows SQL Server 2008 to provide both these capabilities and is the core feature of business intelligence.
  • Reporting Services—The Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services (SSRS) feature allows for the presentation and delivery of data in a variety of ways. The reports can include tables, matrices, and free-form data. The source data for the reports can be provided by the Database Engine component, the Analysis Services component, or any Microsoft .NET data provider such as ODBC or OLE DB to access data sources such as Oracle or file-based data.
  • Shared Features—Features designated as “Shared Features” include

    • Business Intelligence Development Studio—The Business Intelligence Development Studio is essentially Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 with some additional SQL Server 2008 business intelligence project types. It is an applications development environment that allows developers to build applications that include Analysis Services, Integration Services, and Reporting Services.
    • Client Tools Connectivity—This feature includes the installation of communication components between clients and servers.
    • Integration Services—The SQL Server 2008 Integration Services (SSIS) feature integrates data from different sources. This integration includes importing, exporting, and transforming data from disparate sources. The data can be copied, merged, restructured, and cleaned as part of the integration processing, which makes the integration services a powerful tool in the development of data warehouses. It is imperative to mention that the Integration Services component fills an important gap in the extract.
    • Client Tools Backward Compatibility—This feature was heavily requested by the SQL Server community. When Client Tools Backward Compatibility is installed, a DBA can manage legacy SQL Server systems.
    • Client Tools SDK—This feature includes the Software Development Kit containing resources for developers.
    • SQL Server Books Online—SQL Server Books Online (BOL) is Microsoft’s documentation for SQL Server 2008.
    • Management Tools Complete—When installed, SQL Server 2008 will possess all the management tools, including but not limited to Management Studio, support for Reporting Services, Analysis Services, Integration Services, SQL Server Profiler, and Database Tuning Advisor.
    • Management Tools Basic—This refers to the scaled-down version of the management toolset. It only includes management studio support for the Database Engine, SQL Server Express, SQL Server Command-Line Utility, and PowerShell.
    • SQL Client Connectivity SDK—This feature includes the Software Development Kit containing connectivity resources for developers.
    • Microsoft Sync Framework—This is a comprehensive synchronization platform enabling collaboration and offline of applications, services and devices with support for any data type, any data store, any transfer protocol, and network topology.

When installing the SQL Server 2008 Database Engine, the additional optional subfeatures to install include

  • Replication
  • Full-Text Search
  • Integration Services
  • Connectivity components
  • Programming models
  • Management tools
  • Management Studio
  • SQL Server Books Online
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