Microsoft REALLY needs to start creating slip-stream downloads or .ISO files of SQL Server with Service Packs Rolled in.
They provide instructions on how to slip-stream Service Packs into SQL Server Installation DVDs by yourself, but, honestly, who wants to go through all of that headache. Take a look at the instructions, and you’ll see what I mean.
More importantly, that’s NOT always feasible. Right now I’m installing SQL Server on a machine for a client. Only the machine in question is a hosted/managed server. So we either had to snail-mail the installation DVD, or download the .ISO from MS according to the license agreement. Downloading is OBVIOUSLY the nicest choice, but I’m back to being stuck with a SQL Server 2008 installation DVD that doesn’t have SP1 slip-streamed in. (Likewise, if I wanted to slipstream SP1 into play by myself, I’d then have to snail-mail/FedEx the disk to the hosting company. Lame.)
Without the slipstream in place?
Well, that’s where things get seriously lame, as the process to install SQL Server 2008 on Windows Server 2008 R2 is cheesy:
A) Install Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2008. The installer will install a bunch of needed files, then will ‘barf’ when it doesn’t find a SQL Server instance to patch.
B) Install SQL Server 2008.
C) Now install SQL Server 2008 SP1.
If you don’t go that route, you won’t be able to install the patch, and your SQL Server won’t run (as J.D. Wade points out in this blog post).
Call me crazy, but it would be MUCH nicer if Microsoft made SQL Server 2008 with SP1 disks/.ISOs available for download. (Especially when Windows Server 2008 R2 won’t even let you install SQL Server 2008 without SP1 – without warning/nagging you that you’re installing a version of SQL Server with known compatibility issues.)