SQL Server 2008 Installation Strategies and Best Practices - Part 2 of 5. New Installation, Upgrade or Transition?

SQL Server 2008 Installation Strategies and Best Practices

Part 2 of 5 

Greetings, last week I initiated this blog series which focuses on best practices and installation strategies when deploying SQL Server 2008.  Today we will continue the blog with the focus on Part 2 - New Installation, Upgrade or Transition? 

Enjoy ~ Ross Misry

New Installation, Upgrade or Transition?

Organizations that have conducted a SQL Server implementation in the past may need  to perform a new SQL Server 2008 installation or upgrade their existing SQL Server system, which is commonly referred to as an "in-place" upgrade.  In addition, organizations may choose to  "transition" to SQL Server 2008 by first installing a new installation and then migrating SQL Server databases and objects from the legacy environment to the new server.   There are benefits to each of these options. The next two sections details the benefits. 

Should You Perform a New SQL Server 2008 Installation?

The primary benefit of a new installation is that, by installing the operating system from scratch, you are starting with a known good server and brand new SQL Server 2008 implementation. You can avoid migrating problems that might have existed on your previous server - whether due to corrupt software, incorrect configuration settings, or improperly installed applications. Moreover, a new installation provides an opportunity for house cleaning as legacy SQL Server items are not carried over.  For example, it is common for an old SQL Server system to have many outdated databases, packages, user accounts and stored procedures which have not been touched in over 10 years.  Keep in mind, however, that you will also lose all configuration settings from your previous installation. As well , all SQL Server elements such as databases, user accounts, packages etc, will need to be migrated/transitioned. Moreover, required applications on the legacy server will need to be reinstalled after the installation of the new operating system and SQL Server 2008 implementation is complete. Make sure you document your server configuration information and back up any data that you want to keep.When running SQL Server 2008, there may be situations where installing a new installation from scratch is the only option.  For example, it is not possible to upgrade a legacy SQL Server Failover Cluster from SQL Server 2005 running on Windows Server 2003 to SQL Server 2008 Failover Clustering running on Windows Server 2008.   

Should You Upgrade an Existing SQL Server System to SQL Server 2008?

Upgrading, on the other hand, replaces your current SQL Server binaries but keeps existing databases, components, features, packages, users, settings, groups, rights, and permissions intact. In this scenario, you don't have to reinstall applications or restore data. Before choosing this option, keep in mind that you should test your applications and databases for compatibility before migration. Just because they worked on previous versions of SQL Server does not mean they will work on SQL Server 2008.As always, before performing any type of server maintenance such as a SQL Server or Windows Server 2008 in-place upgrade, you should perform a complete backup of the SQL Server environment, any applications residing on the server and data that you want to preserve. Do not forget to include the System State when backing up the SQL Server system. It is required when performing a restore if you want to maintain the existing Windows settings.This covers the strategies associated with installing, upgrading or transitioning to SQL Server 2008.  Stay tuned for Part 3of the series Part 3: Choosing the Appropriate Edition of SQL Server 2008?

Here is the link for the previous blog associated with the series.http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/30052

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