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SQL Server 2005 Setup Enhancements

Let’s now explore some of the enhancements introduced in SQL Server 2005 setup. SQL Server 2005 setup has been redesigned and re-architected from scratch to provide a flexible, unified, easy-to-use, robust, and secure setup experience. The following are some of the new setup features:

  • Windows Installer–based setup—Instead of using proprietary InstallShield-based setup, SQL Server 2005 now uses the latest Windows Installer (MSI) technology, which provides the most reliable, secure, customizable, and self-healing installation experience.

  • Enhanced user experience—Microsoft has invested a lot of time and resources in simplifying the installation process and at the same time giving complete control over the installation to the users. Microsoft has done a lot of work to improve the setup usability and user experience. It has redesigned all the setup dialogs, and beta customers and usability engineers have evaluated them several times. Also, Microsoft has improved the setup documentation to serve as a better setup reference and a troubleshooting guide.

  • System Configuration Checker (SCC)—The SCC routines scan the destination computer for conditions that may block setup. In other words, SCC checks for conditions that would prevent a successful SQL Server installation. Before setup starts the SQL Server 2005 Installation Wizard, the SCC retrieves the status of each check item, compares the result with required conditions, and provides guidance for removal of any blocking issues. SCC checks can run on a local computer, as well as in remote and cluster situations. For clusters, SCC runs on all nodes of the virtual server. As shown in Figure 3.1, SCC checks include operating system minimum level requirements, minimum hardware requirements, any pending reboot requirement, any system administrator privilege requirement, any WMI service requirement, any MSXML requirement, and so on.

  • Figure 3.1

    Figure 3.1 SCC verifies whether the system meets the minimum requirements and also performs other checks to increase the chances of a successful setup.

  • Integrated setup experience—SQL Server 2005 setup provides a single feature tree for installation of one or more SQL Server 2005 components, including the database engine, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Notification Services, Integration Services, replication, management tools, documentation, and samples. Figure 3.2 shows the feature selection tree that provides a unified way to selectively install various SQL Server 2005 components. For each selected component, you can specify a disk folder that the component should be installed in to.

  • Figure 3.2

    Figure 3.2 SQL Server 2005 setup provides a single feature tree to install one or more SQL Server components.

  • Improved logging and error handling—As discussed previously, SCC minimizes the setup failure instances. However, if a setup still fails, then the improved detailed logging and error-handling mechanism introduced with SQL Server 2005 setup helps you quickly troubleshoot and resolve the setup issue. A setup summary file is generated at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Summary.txt, and detailed log files are generated in the %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Files folder.

Figure 3.3 shows the Setup Progress dialog. When the setup for a component is finished, the text under the Status column becomes a link that can be clicked to open the setup log file for that component.

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3 The Setup Progress dialog box lists each component as it is being installed and configured.

  • Cluster setup enhancements—SQL Server 2005 setup has been enhanced to better support the installation and configuration of failover clustering. The setup establishes real-time communication between the host computer and secondary nodes during the installation. This facilitates integrated logging, progress reporting, and achieving consistent installation states across all cluster nodes to make the installation more reliable and robust. In addition, unlike in previous releases, SQL Server 2005 setup now provides an ability to selectively install components such as Full-Text Search and Analysis Services. SQL Server 2005 clustered installations can be scripted for unattended installation.

SQL Server 2005 includes configuration tools such as Surface Area Configuration, Reporting Services Configuration, SQL Server Error and Usage Reporting, and SQL Server Configuration Manager that let you alter some of the settings originally configured using SQL Server setup.

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