How Do You Setup Your Instances?

I’ve set up a lot of SQL Server instances in my career. I’ve gone from manual only setup in SQL Server 4.2 to more automated means in the latest versions. The easiest was actually in Azure where I only need to specify a few parameters for a PoSh cmdlet. However, unattended setup is pretty easy as well for local SQL Server instances. If you’ve never done it, you’re missing out. There are plenty of other ways to do this with tools like Chef and PuppetAMIs in AWS, and more.

Erik Darling wrote a post recently called Setting Up SQL Server: People Still Need Help. Erik’s point in the piece is not that installing SQL Server is hard, but that many people stick with the defaults once they’ve installed the instance, never changing anything. There are some basic things that you’ll want installed all the time, so having a repeatable process is important.

This week I’m wondering how you install instances in your job. If you need to add a new SQL Server for production or development, what do you do? Let us know your process and procedure.

I don’t set up too many instances, and in fact, I mostly add them as a lab instance on one of my machines. For the initial install at times, I’ll just run through the manual install, but I then have a quick config script that I use to change a few items, but very few. In most cases, I don’t do much more than add a few logins, limit memory, and enable the DAC. For the cases where I want to add a few different instances for testing, say for looking at patches or using mutli-server features, I’ll use an unattended install script.

There are some amazing ways people have created for repeatable installs, such as the Finebuild project. If you’ve got a way that works for you, let us know. Just be sure that whatever repeatable process you use changes some of the defaults and ensures your SQL Server is better prepared for any workload to come.

Steve Jones

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