Home > Articles > Data > SQL Server

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

SQL Server 2005 Infrastructure Management

One of the largest consumers of a database administrator’s time is working across the infrastructure to ensure that databases are available for applications while service packs are deployed, application code and underlying database schemas are changed, and the data itself is changing. Add to this the complexity of systems, a lack of transparency or complete knowledge of the database server infrastructure, and the fact that the database may be in another country, and you can see what a challenge managing change is for the DBA. The goal for you, the DBA, is to keep the plane in the air while the engines are being changed.

Microsoft has made some progress in the area of change management. One of the most potentially painful topics is setup, either local or remote. It seems that as fast as hardware models change, operating system and application code changes to keep pace. In organizations with high data growth rates, the underlying hardware structures are consumed and become potential bottlenecks. Ultimately, managing change is a combination of administrative skills, business process, and product features. Combined, these constructs reflect the organization’s overall data management strategy. Change management has been one of the biggest issues for SQL Server 2000. SQL Server 2005 has improved change management scenarios in several key areas:

  • Database Snapshot lets you roll back a change in a database schema or data by reapplying changed database pages.
  • Setup. Using an MSI-based model, local and remote installations can be accomplished. Setup now provides a setup consistency checker that examines and provides reporting about the receiving server’s state. Setup can also be executed from the command line and is fully scriptable.
  • SQL Server Management Studio includes support for source control. This allows for tighter control of queries and batch files in the system. Source control is extended to SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and business intelligence database code.
  • Remote management and scriptability. SQL Server 2005 supplies several methods to script all objects in the database. These scripts can be used to manage database code via source-safe technologies. Additionally, these scripts can be used to generate database objects, including OLAP databases in remote locations.
  • For testing and development phases, the new Dynamic Management Views increase visibility into memory and system processes, allowing for query and procedure evaluation.

Maintaining availability during state changes on the server infrastructure happens at several levels. At the hardware level, SQL Server conforms to capabilities provided by Windows 2003 and the hardware original equipment manufacturer (OEM). SQL Server takes advantage of dynamic capabilities for adding and removing RAM, disc arrays, and components without restarting the server from Windows Server 2003. With Windows 2003, many server changes still require restarting the server. By understanding the Windows environment, administrators can be prepared to deal with planning downtime for maintenance. Their strategy should be to employ new features of SQL Server 2005 to mitigate planned downtime.

Two new features help in this capacity—database mirroring and Database Snapshot, which you can think of as a mechanism for rolling back changes to database objects. Database Snapshot has several advantages that make it perfect for dynamic system changes. Database Snapshot uses a technology called copy-on-write. This mechanism captures in the Snapshot Database only data pages that have changed. This makes the snapshot very lightweight. A development team could take a snapshot before applying any schema changes.

Another tool for managing infrastructure change is the Setup program. Now in SQL Server, an administrator can make changes to database features, including adding them to and removing them from failover clustering using the Setup dialogs. (Setup is discussed in depth in the section "What’s New in Setup?")

Database Snapshot

Database Snapshot is a read-only copy of the database. Database Snapshot isn’t meant to be used for reporting or as a snapshot of the database from which to develop new schema. It is actually a sparse file with pointers to the original data pages. Only when the pages change does the snapshot absorb the original page. At creation time, Database Snapshot creates a sparse file and bitmap. They are stored in memory in the buffer cache memory allocation. The size of the bitmap is directly related to the size of the source database. This is an important consideration on smaller RAM systems. In a system with a total of 4GB of RAM, if the database is large, the memory pool could have pressure applied to it via too many snapshots residing in the buffer pool. It makes sense to implement a policy that all changes to the server, except RAM and hard drives, should be accomplished after a Database Snapshot is created. It’s also a good practice to delete any unneeded Database Snapshots.

With their simplicity of use, snapshots are easily abused, so you should use them carefully. The files need understandable names. If you generate a lot of them, consider a naming convention like this:


The file extension can be almost anything. Books Online uses SS. I use sht. You can see how easy it is to create a snapshot in the following sample:

CREATE DATABASE AdventureWorks_dbss1800 ON
( NAME = AdventureWorks_Data, FILENAME =
'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL 
Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data\AdventureWorks_data_1800.sht' )
AS SNAPSHOT OF AdventureWorks;

What’s New in Setup?

In SQL Server 2005, Setup has dramatically improved over previous versions. This is due largely to the move from a third-party installer to Microsoft Windows Installer. The core Windows Installer technology resides on all Windows operating system installations and provides an excellent backbone for installing SQL Server. SQL Server Setup has two installation modes:

  • Unattended Setup is used for remote installations. It includes the ability to set up failover clustering on a remote server.
  • Attended Setup is done interactively through a wizard. The new wizard takes users through each step of the installation process. One of the most important gains from the new Setup tools is a higher level of security. The Setup Wizard ensures that all the features are installed securely by default.

Windows Installer

The Windows Installer installs all components in a single feature tree. Minimum and typical installation modes are no longer implemented. Instead, Setup displays a feature tree with default options selected. Administrators can then customize the installation by selecting and clearing items on the feature tree and specifying installation paths. This version of Windows Installer also supports remote Setup and multiple instance configurations.

SQL Server 2005 uses Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel to add or remove individual features and to remove instances of SQL Server. Maintenance of existing SQL Server instances is supported via the Setup user interface, the command line, Microsoft Systems Management Server, or with an .ini file.

SQL Server and its supporting components—Analysis Services, Reporting Services, and Notification Services—are now integrated into a single feature tree. Setup for SQL Server 2005 provides advanced detection logic to identify previous component installations, simplifying installation of additional components or instances and upgrade of existing instances of SQL Server. One of the most exciting new features of Setup is the Consistency Checker.

Setup Consistency Checker

SQL Server 2005 provides Setup Consistency Checker (SCC), a new feature that checks and validates the target computer before Setup begins. Using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) technology, SCC prevents Setup failures due to unsupported configurations on local, remote, and clustered target computers. If Setup can fix failed check items, the user can allow Setup to take the necessary action. Otherwise, SCC guides the user to a solution for each blocking issue before Setup can continue. SCC provides a rich reporting interface that allows you to click through to help files. Additionally, the report can be copied to the clipboard or e-mailed from the Report window. SCC’s profile changes according to the feature selected for installation.

Customizable Installation Path

Setup allows administrators to specify custom installation paths for the main features of SQL Server, including Analysis Services, Reporting Services, SQL Server Relational Database, and Client Tools. In addition, administrators can customize install paths for SQL Server log files and tempDB. The ability to customize installation paths is useful in the following scenarios:

  • An administrator wants to install tempDB and the log files to different volumes on a file system. During setup, the administrator can configure custom installation paths for tempDB and the log files.
  • An administrator wants to install Analysis Services to a different location than the default defined in Setup. The administrator can configure a custom installation path for Analysis Services.

Failure Reporting

One of the biggest headaches for DBAs is when Setup fails. In previous versions of SQL Server, if the installation failed, you simply had to check the log files and hope you could figure out what happened from the cryptic log text. With SQL Server 2005, significant work has been done to make Setup as painless as possible.

Setup for SQL Server 2005 includes improved failure reporting and extensible alerts. If an error occurs during installation, Setup determines a failure exit code, provides a descriptive error message, recommends corrective actions to take for resolution, and points the user to the Setup log. Setup also saves the log from each installation.

For example, suppose that while upgrading from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005, an administrator receives a Setup error. The administrator is presented with an informative alert stating that a specific dynamic link library (DLL) failed to register on the system. The administrator clicks OK, and Setup rolls back the failed installation. When Setup is done rolling back the failed installation, the administrator sees a dialog box that asks if he or she wants to report the problem to Microsoft and is directed to any additional help available. The administrator can report the problem on the Microsoft Support website and receives a link to a related Knowledge Base article. The article presents the administrator with a possible workaround for the problem.

Watson Integration

SQL Server 2005 extends exception handling in replication components to include local minidump files for Dr. Watson 1.0 integration. In earlier versions of SQL Server, if a replication agent hit an exception, a stack dump was generated. This dump provided debug information but was not generated in a format that could be loaded in Visual Studio and debugged. In SQL Server 2005, a Visual Studio–compatible minidump file is generated.

Applications can produce user-mode minidump files that contain a useful subset of the information contained in a crash dump file. Applications can create minidump files quickly and efficiently. Because minidump files are small, they can be easily sent over the Internet to technical support for the application.

The dump file is stored in the mssql\log folder for replication executables and in the current directory for any .exe using replication ActiveX components. In addition to the local minidump, replication components also call Dr. Watson to generate a cab file with debug information.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020