SQL Server Post Installation steps

From time to time, organizations move from an old version to a newer version as the application using the databases keep changing and become more complex. When they move to the newer platform, eventually the database versions have to be migrated / upgraded to the newer version. All these results in setting up a new SQL Server Instance by Installing SQL Server Database and other required services.   

In this blog we shall look at some of the post installation steps performed on a newly installed SQL Server.

  • Check all the necessary Protocols are enabled except VIA (unless you are absolutely sure you need VIA).
  • Make sure that you can connect to the SQL Instance from a remote system. That way you are sure your firewall is not blocking etc..
  • Configure the Backup Compression option on the SQL Instance. (If you intend to use it and your SQL Server Version is 2008 or above)
  • Configure Database Mail.
  • Configure all Backups. (Full, Differential and Log) SQL Server Maintenance Plan is the the quickest way to get started.
  • Make sure the SQL Server Authentication Mode is set to the mode that you wanted, be it Windows Only OR Mixed Mode.
  • Set the minimum and maximum Memory settings for the SQL Instance. Remember that enable AWE is not required for 64 bit servers. (Read blog here…)
  • Assign Lock Pages in Memory to the service account under which SQL Server is running. (Read blog here…)
  • Configure startup modes for SQL Agent, SQL Server Database Engine, Integration Services, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Full-Text and SQL Browser.
  • Create maintenance plans to manage / purge old backup files.
  • Create linked servers that are required (especially where you are Upgrading / Migrating) (Read blog here…).
  • Recreate the SQL Agent jobs you had on the old SQL Server (if you are doing a Upgrade/Migration).
  • Configure Reporting Services (if install only option was chosen) (read blog here…).
  • Document everything that was performed on that Server, over a period of time you might not remember every step or changes made to that Instance.
Note: All of the above steps might not be necessary in every instance of SQL Server Installation. This is an attempt to make a check list of Post Installation steps..
Update: Links to related posts are added as and when there is a blog post published..
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— Bru Medishetty

Rules to follow while naming a SQL Server Instance

When planning to install SQL Server on a server, you need to plan ahead about the name of the SQL Server Instance. If you are installing a default instance then this is not necessary. There are certain rules you will have to follow when naming your SQL Instance and lets see what are some of the acceptable names and some non acceptable names for a SQL Server Instance.

Lets start with those names which are not accepted along with some examples….

Reserved Keywords in Microsoft SQL Server are not accepted. You cannot name a SQL Instance as DATABASE or ALTER or CREATE or SCHEMA (of course Capitals Letters does not matter). See the below pic when I try to name the SQL Instance as DATABASE..

First character should not be a numerical value (0-9), it can be an alphabet (a-z), underscore ‘_’, number sign ‘#’, or ampersand ‘&’. If you try naming a SQL Instance as ‘1SQLServer’, it would not allow you to name with that name. See pic below..

Space and special characters (such as @, ^, *, \ ) are not allowed. That is, if you try naming the instance as “SQL TEST 2”, it is not accepted.

Instance name should be 16 chars or less in length. This is pretty easy to understand, if you want to name the Instance too long, then you have to think again..

As long as they are less than 17 characters, some of the acceptable names can be..

  • SQLServer123
  • SQL_Server_123
  • SQL_Server#123
  • SQL$Server123
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Installing SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate 0

This blog will show you step by step instructions on how to install SQL Server 2012 RC 0.

Before we begin the installation, I would recommend you to go through the Installation documentation for SQL Server 2012 such as Minimum Hardware and Software Requirements and SQL Server 2012 Release Notes.

Once I setup my separate Virtual Machine for SQL Server 2012, I made sure that my Windows Server 2008 R2 had the Service Pack 1 installed. After that I added .Net 3.5 Framework by adding the Role Application Server. You can read how to install .Net 3.5 Framework on a Windows Server R2 in one of my previous blogs.

Once I was done installing those 2 prerequisites, I rebooted my Server to ensure it is ready for the SQL Server 2012 Installation (remember, SQL Server Installation will perform a check and if any of the previous updates needs a system reboot, it will ask you to reboot, so it is always good to restart your machine before you begin the Installation)…

Go to the location where you have copied the SQL Server Installation software and you should find the root directory something like what you see below. Make sure you logged in as a user who has Admin rights on the server. Right click the Setup.exe and choose Run as Administrator. (Though this is not an absolute must, you can also double click the Setup.exe to begin the installation)

SQL Server Installation Center should open and by default the Planning page is displayed as shown below..

SQL Server Installation Center is designed to be useful when you are performing a new Installation, or modify an existing installation, perform an upgrade and many more tasks related to Installation. We need to click on Installation to display the Installation choices. The Installation page is displayed as below..

When you are installing SQL Server 2012 on a stand-alone server, we need to choose the very first link by clicking on the text in New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation.

Setup Support Rules is displayed (picture below) which performs a quick check that might cause issues while installation. If there are any failures in the the checklist, those failures need to be corrected (such as a system reboot or user not having admin rights etc). Click OK to proceed.

The next screen is Product Key, in this screen you will have to key in the product key (25 characters long) which came with your Installation media. In this case we are installing an Evaluation Edition, hence that is left blank and we continue clicking Next.

The next screen will display the License Terms and we need to accept the license terms by selecting the check box (as shown in the picture below).

Click Next to proceed. The next screen displayed is an enhancement to SQL Server 2012 installation, “Product Updates“, this step check for any updates available for the SQL Server product we are installing.

In this case we do not have any updates available, click Next (above pic). The next screen would display download and extract any updates / setup files (in this case they are skipped as there are no updates available) and then Setup files are installed..

As soon as the Setup files are installed, the windows closes and the next screen is displayed, which is second leg of Setup Support Rules which performs additional checks for smooth Installation (picture below).

See that there is one warning (Windows Firewall) which will not stop us from installing SQL Server. Click Next to proceed..

The Installation now moves to the next step where we can choose how do we want the SQL Server installation to continue. Select SQL Server Feature Installation option button, as this would give us more control on what SQL Server components are going to be installed and installation drives and directories.

Click Next to continue.. In the next screen, you can choose what features do you want to install on your server. You can choose only what is required and in a work environment, not all features are going to be installed. Since we are setting it for trying all features in the latest release of SQL Server, I selected all features. Click Next…

One more round of Installation Rules to ensure that we do not run into trouble while Installing.. Since the 2 check have passed, click Next

Then see the below screen displaying the disk space required for the Installation, this space requirements depend on the components / features we choose. Click Next to proceed…

In the next screen, Installation wizard shows us Names of the Service Accounts  which will be created and used for each of the SQL Server components and the Startup Type for those components. You can also set the Starup Type according to your choice. (In this case I changed the Startup to Automatic for SQL Server Agent).. Once you are done, click Next..

The next few screens will be displaying the configuration for the components, the first being Database Engine (pic below). This is the place where you can set the Authentication Mode of the SQL Server Database Engine. By default it would be Windows authentication mode, If you choose Mixed Mode, you will be asked to enter sa password and additionally you might want to add any other users who would be sysadmins on the SQL Server. You can do both of these at a later time, but I prefer doing it at the time of Installation.

There are multiple tabs in this screen and the below screen is displayed when we choose the Data Directories tab. This tab allows you to choose the Data and Log directories of the User databases, TempDB and the location for your database backups. In this case, I changed the location for User Databases Data and Log directory.

Click Next, to go to the next screen.

In the next screen (pic below), you can choose the Analysis Services Mode, Admins and the Data Directories for SSAS. Once you have made your selections, click Next

The next screen is for Reporting Services. If you would like the Installation to automatically configure Reporting Services for you, you can choose Install and configure option. I have chosen Install only as I would like to configure manually at a later time. Click Next

The option in the next screen lets you decide if you would like SQL Server to send Error Reports to Microsoft automatically. It is only optional and varies from user to user.

The next screen is the final check of Installation prerequisites before Installation begins..

We are all set for Installation, and the next screen is a summary of what we have chosen to Install, what components and chosen, installation location etc.. Click Install for the Installation to begin..

The screen below is a screen shot of the Installation process..

Once the installation is successfully competed, the following screen is displayed.

Related blogs you might want to read…

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— Bru Medishetty