First impressions of SQL Server 2008 November CTP …

I have just installed SQL Server 2008 November CTP on my Windows XP Professional SP2 test machine (freshly built for July CTP and fully patched).

The installation process is an improvement over SQL Server 2005 and previous SQL Server 2008 CTP releases. The screens are a lot bigger so you can actually see what is going on. You can even maximise the installation window. There are however quite a few installation screens to go through and it is easy to miss the tab on one of the screens which allows you to specify the data directory locations. I personally think this should be its own screen to avoid mistakes particularly when installing in a production environment. The process of specifying usernames and passwords for the various services is a little clunky if you have selected to install all of the services.

The installation process defaulted to the following location

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\
MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA

Rather than

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data

I initially thought this was because I had uninstalled the July CTP and did not ensure the underlying directories were deleted. The directories were left behind by the uninstall program because they had database files in them. However, I later uninstalled the November CTP and deleted all of the directories that might confuse it. When I reinstalled, it still prompted to install in

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\
MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA

Let’s hope the RTM default is

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data

Overall the installation process is an improvement though.

Once installed if you look under Services for some reason Microsoft have included the version number in the service name for Integration Services, i.e. SQL Server Integration Services 10.0. A minor point but I hope they don’t do this for the RTM version.

The SQL Server 2008 July CTP had an issue restoring a database backup measuring several tens of gigabytes in size. It appears the issue has not been fixed in the November CTP. The error is

“Msg 3167, Level 16, State 4, Line 2 RESTORE could not start database”

and occurs right at the end after everything appears to have been restored. There is a chance the file could be (although I don’t think so) corrupt however I have transferred the file several times to the test machine and the same database backup file restored fine on a laptop installed with SQL Server 2005. It should be noted that this database contains two full-text catalogs.

As the backup wouldn’t restore I detached the database from the SQL Server 2005 instance and copied it to the test machine. There I used

CREATE DATABASE mydatabase ON (…), … FOR ATTACH

to restore the database. I received the following error message for each of the two full-text catalogs

NECPM4RSY(NECPM4RSY\Administrator): Msg 7689, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
Execution of a full-text operation failed. ‘The specified service does not exist as an installed service.

When I installed SQL Server 2008 I elected to install FTS (Full-Text Search). It claims to have installed it, however, I can’t see the service listed and I can’t find it using Task Manager. The issue with the database restore previously mentioned could be linked to this.

I tried uninstalling SQL Server 2008 and reinstalling however the same issue occurred.

I have had a quick play with SQL Server 2008. The IntelliSense feature is pretty handy! Hopefully I will find time soon to take a more indepth look.

Given that SQL Server 2008 is scheduled for release in February 2008 and the November CTP has just been released and there have been no beta releases, I would be surprised if Microsoft released a fully functional, high quality release in February 2008.

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