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SlipStream in SQL Server 2008 Setup

Slipstream is a feature expected in earlier version of SQL server itself however from SQL Server 2008 SP1 its included. This is one of the most expected thing in SQL Server by DBAs since windows operating system has the feature already and the system admins can easily update their setup packages. Now we have the capability to merge service pack with the base setup of SQL Server 2008. There are two methods of slipstream creation available and they are below

  • Basic Slipstream

In this method you will be merging the service pack with the base setup at the time of installation. This method is very simple and straight forward. The merged setup package cannot be reused and its valid only for that particular (single) installation.

  • Merge Drop Slipstream

In this method you will be merging the service pack with the base setup prior to the installation there by altering the source setup files. The merged setup package can be reused multiple times and you can burn it in DVD or copy it to a network share. However the main thing is that you need to TEST this setup package before promoting it as the core setup or live setup copy.

Advantages of Slipstream

  • You can save time for installing SQL Server 2008
  • Reduce the number of restarts required
  • Keep SQL Server with latest service pack with minimal effort
  • Unattended installation can be done easier for Service packs
  • Updated setup support files
  • Removing known issues from the setup

Limitations of Slipstream

  • If there is any failed or pending SQL 2008 installation as indicated in summary.txt log file then you need manually uninstall that instance.
  • Using slipstream to upgrade WOW64 installation, you need to perform any of the following
    • GUI setup Go to Options Page in installation center and select X86
    • Command Line Setup Add the parameter /Action in addition to X86
  • If you try to add additional components or features to the existing database engine, you might face some error. In that situation you can use the base RTM setup.

Known Issues

  • Installing SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 may reset the “max_worker_threads” column value for a SQL Server Agent subsystem

For more information on this slipstream issue refer the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/972759

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