As we’re gearing for the release of SQL Server 2008, please be aware of the page in the Setup process where one chooses Collation. In the SQL 2008 setup, the collation is on a second tab, on the same page where one sets up the service accounts. The default collation is taken from the system locale, and thus the default is chosen as SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.
Given the way the page is setup, it makes it easy to ignore this tab and move forward, and this can in turn lead to a SQL Server installation with an “incorrect” collation. Correcting this later is a costly operation.
It is not uncommon to install Windows servers with the default collation, that is English (United States). But for example, for a SQL Server in Sweden or one that stores Swedish data we would want to choose Finnish_Swedish_CS_AS and it’s easy to miss that step during Setup. As mentioned earlier, changing the collation later is a very expensive operation.