SQL Server Installations … Is there an “Easy” Button?

In previous posts, I have discussed the benefits of giving attention to how you install your SQL Server (https://sqlbadboy.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/preparation-and-setup-leads-to-good-results/) and the need to automate things when you are doing them again and again (https://sqlbadboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/can-you-do-it-again-and-again-ok-lets-automate-it/).

So, if we put the principles in these two posts together, we should come up with the idea that we should automate the installation of our SQL Servers. 

Wouldn’t it would be great to have a big “Easy” installation button for SQL Server, like Staples uses in their marketing campaigns?  On a side note, I did not realize that you can actually buy an “Easy” button from Staples (http://www.staples.com/Staples-Easy-Button/product_606396).

While an “Easy” button does not exist for SQL Server installations, it is possible to work on building one progressively.  In my previous post about installations, I mentioned three basic phases: pre-installation, installation, and post-installation.  Although any of these phases can be automated, I am going to focus on the actual installation using a configuration file.

How to build a configuration file (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239405.aspx)?

Creating a configuration file is simple.  The basic idea is that you run SQL Server setup and configure all the options like you want them.  Proceed through the wizard until you reach the “Ready to Install” page.  The location of the configuration file that is created, based on your options selected, will be specified as shown below.  Then, cancel out of the installation.


How to use the configuration file (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms144259.aspx)?

In order to use the configuration file that is generated in an automated fashion, we will need to install SQL Server from the command line.  The following command gives the syntax.

Setup.exe /ConfigurationFile=MyConfigurationFile.INI

One thing to keep in mind is that you may have to edit the configuration file to add parameters (i.e. passwords for service accounts or option to accept license terms) or add them as command line parameters.

Now, every time you have to install SQL Server, everything will be standardized and it will be just like pushing the “Easy” button.

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