My organization is preparing to deploy a Microsoft Windows SQL Server 2012 on dual servers as production databases. The organization aspires the servers to handle 500 users on a daily basis. This paper documents a research pertaining SQL 2012 planning and installation process. The first section will detail the list of considerations the organization needs to have in mind before installation of the SQL server. The second part review the SQL Server 2012 editions and provide a rationale on the best option. The third section details the minimum hardware requirement for the machines and the maximum resources necessary to ensure availability and scalability. Finally, the research will provide a synopsis of the potential installation and configuration issues and suggest a viable approach to mitigating them to facilitate the success of the installation.
Considerations before installing SQL Server
Before deciding on the SQL server to install, there are key considerations to be made. Deciding on the best option or process of installation will magnify the probability of success and avoidance of errors. Knowing the most basic ideas ahead of the installation will mean that the user will not interrupt installation process to confirm some features. For instance, there are two groups of components in the Feature Selection page: main features and shared features. There is information on the two segments, and it talks about how the database functions. SQL Server 2012 is a relational database, and the literature explains concepts such as data replication and structured storage of data in columns. Besides the database engine, there are components such as Analysis services and reporting services. Thus, a thorough analysis of the server will reveal information that are instrumental to the installation process. Other considerations important to the planning and installation of the database include:
Database instances: There is need to establish whether multiple instances of the database will be required. There are two instances in SQL Server: default and named. The choice between the two need to be made because both operate under different circumstances. For instance, multiple instances are recommended to be used if there are different types of databases on the computer and the workstations is powerful enough to manage multiple instances.
Another consideration is the authentication mode of the database engine to be adopted. There are two authentication modes for the database engine: Windows mode and mixed mode. The mode of authentication is different for each option as per the security considerations. Microsoft recommends the utilization of the Windows mode.
SQL Server editions
The SQL Server family comprises of many Enterprise, Business, Intelligence, Standard, The web, and Developer editions. SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition is a constraint to 16 core and 64GB of RAM. Its features include a core relational database and business intelligence suite. It does not support advanced availability and powerful business intelligence functionalities such as PowerPivot, Power View, and Master Data Services. SQL Server 2012 Business suite is an introduction in the SQL family and supports all the functionalities of the standard edition plus BI functionalities such as Power View and Power Pivot. However, it lacks advanced availability features and other online applications. SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition is the advanced of the SQL Server edition and supports the maximum number of cores, BI features, and advanced availability. It has 16-node AlwaysOn Failover Clusters and AlwaysOn availability.
SQL Server Express Edition is the experimental edition offering free versions of SQL Servers with options of the database, with tools and advanced services. It support is limited to one CPU and 1GB of RAM with 10GB per database. Finally, SQL Server 2012 Web and Developer Edition provides the same functionalities as Enterprise Edition although it is licensed per developer and cannot be utilized for production purposes.
For this project, the preferred option is SQL Server Enterprise Edition. This is the high end of all the SQL Server editions and provides advanced capabilities. There is support for an unlimited number of core supported by the OS and complete SQL Server features. The option for scaling up to meet an increase in the number of users is unlimited. Also, it supports BI and advanced availability. This means that all the functions in the organization will be taken care of.
Hardware and resource requirements
When installing SQL Server 2012, the hardware requirement is the critical consideration. There is the need to ensure that the hardware chosen meet the minimum requirements. Any device that will sufficiently support SQL Server 2012 needs to have a processing speed of 1.4 GHz 64-bit though the recommended speed is 2GHz and above. Supported memory is 512MB RAM though a minimum of 2GB or greater is recommended. The maximum resource supported is 32GB RAM for Standard Edition and 4TB RAM for Datacenter Edition. The minimum allowable disk space is 32GB though 40GB is always recommended for full installation or 10GB for server core installation.
It is imperative that when designing and selecting the appropriate system configuration, the optimal system requirements from Microsoft might not suffice. It is always recommended to assess the server specifications of the server role while taking into consideration the load upon deployment and future scalability. For example, for a Windows Server 2012, running an SQL Server 2012 with enterprise business intelligence package will require more than 2GB RAM to function adequately. This implies that it is important to size the system accordingly and test the load before going live.
Potential installation and configuration issues and mitigation strategies
The installation process may hang-up and cease to continue to completion. This may be as a result of hardware or software incompatibility. For instance in situations where the SQL server is configured to operate under an instance other than the local system account. Also in cases where Windows Security Policy configured for object access in either of the two ways: local or group policy. The installation process may stop and show an error message.
One of the mitigation strategies adopted is to make sure that all the hardware and software chosen suite each other correctly. An update is required to correct the said issue.
Another probable issue is where one or more SQL Server 2012 databases are not online when SQL Server is launched. The issue may be temporary such that after some restarts, the server comes online. For a persistent case, an error message emerges and no matter the restart, the SQL Server service do not come online.
A solution to this is to restart the portable device enumerator service.
Microsoft Support. (2015). Various problems may occur when running SQL Server 2012 in Hyper-V or VMWare environment. Microsoft forum.
Petkovic, D. (2012, November). Excerpt: Planning a Microsoft SQL Server install. TechTarget.