Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Steps to take when SQL Hotfixes and Service Packs fail...

I do a lot of hot fixes and service packs installations in my environment and needless to say that some do not go well. Usually failures occur on clustered servers. A good rule of thumb is to check whether previous service packs are installed correctly. This rule applies mostly to clustered servers but sometimes it works with single machines as well. On clusters, I would pull up Add or Remove Software panel on both nodes and go through every application installed on both machines. Usually inconsistencies in .Net framework version, SP, hot fix will solve your pains and sorrows. These usually are services failing to start or failed installations of hot fixes. Be sure to check the box for view hot fixes and updates in the Add or Remove Software dialog box and compare any updates as well as general releases. On single machines, view logs for previous installations that can be found in the boot strap folder of MSSQL directory for SQL 2005 and 2008 at least. Review and rerun previous service packs to apply to any components that haven't been updated. This happens a lot on clustered nodes when cluster-unaware services like SSIS, Reporting Services and Workstation Components are installed. Administrators fail to realize that these components only get installed on primary nodes and DO NOT GET INSTALLED on the passive nodes. A user must install SSIS, Workstation Components, etc. separately on the passive node. Then SP must be applied to the passive node separately AGAIN! This will ensure that same software version levels are maintained throughout the installation. It is a good idea to go back to Add or Remove Software panel and compare again after installation. After all that is done rerun your new update and most likely it will install correctly.

until next time...
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