Slipstreaming SQL Server Installations and the SP1 Controversy

Slipstreaming SQL Server Installations and the SP1 Controversy

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Yesterday, along with several hundred other folks, I told you that SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 was out, and where to download it. I also mentioned that one of the big advantages in it was that you could now do "slipstream" installations. Well, there were two things about that statement that I should have explained a little more.

First, what is a "slipstreamed" installation? We use jargon so often that we forget that not everyone cares about our little catch-phrases, so I apologize for not spelling that out. A "slipstreamed" installation is the combination of all the latest patches into the initial install. For instance, in SQL Sever 2005, you had to install the initial product (called RTM) and then apply the latest service pack and the hotfixes you wanted. This is tedious, primarily because of all the reboots.

Most all software is made up of various files. and those files put together make a single version. A slipstream is when you copy the newer files over the older ones, so that when you do the first installation, you get the latest version.

The second thing I should have told you was how to do that!  The full instructions are here: http://blogs.msdn.com/petersad/archive/2009/02/25/sql-server-2008-creating-a-merged-slisptream-drop.aspx

Now, the second thing is about those of you who "have a policy to wait until SP1 is out to install any Microsoft Product". That's shortsighted. Sure, we've made mistakes in the past, and some things have been released before they were ready. But that isn't the case with SQL Server any more.

The CTP process weeds out the major issues, and the product is ready for use at RTM. I was on the product team; I do know that there is always something still to do in the product when it releases, but this one was tested millions of times (no exaggeration) and had multiple, large customers running the CTP's in production over a year before it was released.

Even so, now you have the obligatory SP1. Install and enjoy!

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  • Mr. Woody, while I appreciate your comments on RTM vs SP1, the plain fact of it is that Microsoft has released some software in desperate need of a service pack.  Heck, I've heard a Microsoft MVP say that 2005 RTM was a POS.  

    Now, to be fair, I've also seen some HORRID service packs come out over the years (SQL 2000 SP3a, anyone?  NT SP5a?  Or, more recently, SQL 2005 SP2 rerelease?)

    So, I'm looking forward to it.  We had one in testing and liked it, but now that SP1 is out and it's been a week, I'll install it for a production machine.

  • FYI - Slipstreaming worked like a charm.  Thanks for the link.  It's a concise guide on how to build it.  

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