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Is this tool even necessary?

Dec 9, 2008 at 4:39 AM
I've set up numerous SQL Server 2008 Enterprise and Developer Edition installs, mostly in VM's, and have zero difficulty using the GUI installer that ships with SQL Server 2008.

Normally, I install the default instance and then go back and install a named instance called SQLEXPRESS, the later being useful for running sample applications that assume the database is sitting in a named instance called SQLEXPRESS.

Help me understand why I would want to use your tool when the vendor's tool seems easy enough to use on its own?
Dec 11, 2008 at 7:42 PM

I agree it is easy enough to run the GUI install.  But if you want to get to the latest maintenance level you then also need to run the GUI installs for SP2, CUlatest and the BOL update.  After you have done that, an experienced DBA will want to set some server configuration values, maybe move tempdb to its own drives, maybe lock down security, etc.  All of this can be done manually, and many experienced DBAs have scripts that do each of these processes.  For inexperienced DBA, doing all of this can be beyond their skills.

FineBuild provides a single script that does the lot.  It can also install some useful community and PSS tools, all in the same process.  This can save a lot of time over running multiple scripts.  FineBuild can also be run from tools such as Altiris, so you can fully automate the SQL Server install process without a DBA needing to be present.

The objective of FineBuild is to provide a best-practice install and configuration of SQL Server.  It does not claim to be the best possible build - there is no absolute concensus of what is 'best practice' - but it does claim to raise the standard that anybody can achieve.

Finally, even if you do not use the FineBuild scripts to install SQL Server, you can raid the Reference manual for step-by-step documentation of installing SQL Server you can copy into your site documents, and there are a number of useful stored procedures that script most SQL Server objects.
Dec 11, 2008 at 8:21 PM
Edited Dec 11, 2008 at 8:22 PM
Excellent points.  I'll give it a try and see if it helps speed up the process of setting up what I consider my "standard configuration" for a developer and also for setting up my "standard configuration" for SQL Server for a demonstration virtual machine, including ones that run SharePoint (MOSS 2007).

I will see if  your tool can do things like:

  1. install the default instance that runs "all services under the same account", an account I usually set up ahead of time named sqlsvc.
  2. repeat step 1 except this time, create a named instance called SQLEXPRESS.  This handles all those "I downloaded a piece of sample code from the Internet and it uses connection strings with .\sqlexpress" in them and I don't want to have to find all ".\sqlexpress" and change them to just ".".  It also saves me the trouble of having to install SQL Server 2008 Express edition since most of the sample programs could care less, just so long as they can connect to a named instance called SQLEXPRESS.  The only issue I ever run into is the occasional piece of sample code with a connection string that includes User Intance=True, which has to be removed to get the example to work properly under Enterprise or Developer edition.
  3. Assuming I have copies of the appropriate MDF and LDF files, attach certain "standard" (to me at least) databases like Northwind, AdventureWorks, AdventureWorksLT and (god help me) pubs to both instances.

Who knows, even this old dog can (and perhaps should) learn some new tricks. :-)

Dec 12, 2008 at 8:29 PM
FineBuild does not yet support SQL Server Express Edition.  It may work for SQL Server Express, but I have never tried it.  My current priority is to suport SQL Server 2008 and cluster installs (a beta covering this is now available).  Then I want to upgrade FineBuild for SQL 2005 to include the features added to FineBuild for SQL 2008.  After that, support for SQL Server Express is top of the list.

FineBuild should do the install of your default instance, and maybe by the middle of next year also do the Express instance.
Dec 15, 2008 at 7:09 AM
Don't rush to support SQL Express on my account. 

If you reread my posts, you'll see that I never install SQL Express.  Instead, I install a named instance of SQL Enterprise or SQL Developer called SQLEXPRESS, which is sufficient to run most demo programs downloaded from the web.  The only tweaks I find I need to perform on downloaded demo code is to take out User Instance=True from any connection strings since the way I install a named instance called SQLEXPRESS is not considered a user instance.