installing SQL Server and SQL Server Express is not that trivial

Ok, I thought that I would be able to knock out an install of SQL Server Express Edition today with little or no problem. Man was I wrong. Since Oracle Express Edition and mySQL were easy to install, I thought the Microsoft product would be trivial to install as well. When I tried to install the package I got an error that I needed the .NET Framework 2.0 installed first. Ok, no problem. I can find and download that. It wasn’t that difficult to install. Once I got that installed, I found out that I was running XP Service Pack 1. The SQL Server suite does not install on this service pack so I had to upgrade to service pack 2. That turned out to be a little more difficult since the Windows upgrade program kept generating an error. Based on some blogs and web sites I needed to download the service pack standalone and install it manually. No problem, I’m only three hours into this exercise and I haven’t even seen an install screen for SQL Server. Once I get the service pack downloaded, it complains that it needs encryption services enabled to verify the download before it will execute. Ok, five minutes later I have it enabled and are starting the service pack install.

Now that I am into this installation for three and a half hours, I finally get a splash screen. The software looks like it is installing but it complains that I don’t have some service configured properly. Looking at various web sites, it looks like I need to perform a two part install; first the core database then the client services. Once I get the server installed I then successfully go back and get the client services installed.

Great. It only took me four hours to get the product installed and I can now install and configure sqlDeveloper. I find out that I have the wrong jdbc driver so I need to get a new one and configure it. No problem. I try to test the connection but get a network connection error. Network connection error? It looks like I got everything installed and configured. It looks like I have the right port and the right account enabled for login. How do I test this? Does the express edition come with a browser that enables me to troubleshoot it? With mySQL I at least had a command line interface to create a user account and test the connection.

I guess it is back to the web to figure out how to look at a SQL Server Express Edition and see if it is listening on the right port. I tried turning off the firewall to see if it was blocking access, no luck. I tried restarting the server to make sure it was listening on the port, no luck. Back to the web browser.

Unfortunately, I thought that this installation was going to be the simplest. It turns out to be the most complex because there are operating system patch and service dependencies that are strictly enforced. Probably not a bad thing but it does add to the complexity. I hated this on Solaris when it required a specific version of a patch or package and would just stop. It would be so much nicer if there were a link in the GUI interface to initiate the download and installation of the dependency rather than coming up with an error screen with an Ok button or Exit button and no log file generation.

It appears that nothing is perfect, just perfectly complex. I guess this is why most DBAs are paid the big bucks.

more later on the trials and tribulations of installing SQL Server and SQL Server Express…..

655 thoughts on “installing SQL Server and SQL Server Express is not that trivial”

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