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Upgrade SQL Server first (05 std to 08 R2 std) or upgrade OS first (in place upgrade)? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:27 PM
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I'm trying to assist our sysadmin with the best way to go on this in place upgrade (I'm almost strictly BI with some admin exp in past). Our current environment is SQL Server 2005 Standard SP 4 (9.00.5057.00) 64bit on Windows Server 2003 SP2 standard.

We need to upgrade the OS to enterprise edition in order to take advantage of the full 64Gb of RAM in the server (32 are just sitting idle unrecognized). We also need to upgrade SQL versions for many reasons, compressed backups being a big one.

Our sysadmin would like to go to Windows 2008 R2 64 Ent. Edition but has no experience installing or upgrading sql server . My feeling is to upgrade the OS first and then SQL Server and to spread it out over two separate weekends. Thoughts?

Also, is this just plain crazy to do as an in-place upgrade? It may be possible for us to get funds for a new box (I'd like to see a cluster) but it also may not.
Post #1516609
Posted Thursday, November 21, 2013 9:24 PM
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Hi,
Yes you can upgrade from Windows server 2003 SP2 to Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard/Enterrpise 64 bit provided your existing 2003 server is 65 bit as upgrades from x86 to x64 is not supported.
As per as upgrade sequence is concerned i personally prefer upgrade OS first and then SQL Server.

Hope this helps..




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Post #1516636
Posted Friday, November 22, 2013 4:00 AM
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I'd be very, very cautious with this in place upgrade since you performing both OS and SQL.

Ensure all databases are backed up and kept off the server. Also consider whether you have to backup the SQL server encryption keys as well.

Can you afford for the server to be rebuilt if the installation goes badly? This could take a couple of days.
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Posted Friday, November 22, 2013 9:06 AM
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If you have the budget, do some sort of drive image/bare metal restore capable backup after each major step - Acronis TrueImage, Paragon Disk Manager, Clonezilla, FSArchiver, or even a GParted (Parted Magic, and I think System Rescue CD) or DD partition copy to another drive.

These allow you to pop in a brand new drive (or overwrite your current drive if the upgrade breaks it completely) and simply restore to exactly where you were at the time of the backup, instead of spending days rebuilding from scratch.

Note that for Windows Server, you cannot use the desktop versions of Acronis or Paragon - you must spend a couple hundred to several hundred dollars on the server versions. The others listed are open source.
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Posted Friday, November 22, 2013 9:11 AM
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Thanks for all the responses guys. We were actually planning an app upgrade to follow the OS and SQL upgrade but after reviewing the vendor docs it looks like this server's processors are not up to recommended specs. It's several years old and was probably due for a refresh anyway which will hopefully give me an opportunity to build it correctly. Our previous sysadmin had some bad ideas (one tempDB file on the C: drive, simple recovery model, not reserving memory for the OS) and our current sysadmin tried to tell me log shipping causes corruption . My role at this company has been strictly focused on the sql server BI stack but it hurts me to see them doing so many things wrong with their mission critical sql server.
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Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 4:35 AM
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I'd be very, very cautious with this in place upgrade


I would be even more cautious. An in-place upgrade may be an interesting training exercise, but has considerable risks for anything else.

If you are doing an in-place upgrade your planning should include the scenario of the upgrade failing part-way through - these things can happen. For the OS upgrade this could mean your server is unusable and needs to be restored to state prior to the OS upgrade starting. For the SQL upgrade this could mean SQL is unusable and your server needs to be restored to a state prior to the SQL upgrade starting. If you are updating a production machine you should test these scenarios to make sure the restore process will work.

IMHO the risks and work needed to do an in-place upgrade are not worth it for a production machine. You should always aim to do a side-by-side upgrade for production, and anything else that your organisation relies on.


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Post #1517190
Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 4:46 AM
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EdVassie (11/25/2013)

If you are doing an in-place upgrade your planning should include the scenario of the upgrade failing part-way through - these things can happen.


I thought I'd pretty much said this

MysteryJimbo (11/22/2013)

Can you afford for the server to be rebuilt if the installation goes badly? This could take a couple of days.


Oh yes...

EdVassie (11/25/2013)

IMHO the risks and work needed to do an in-place upgrade are not worth it for a production machine. You should always aim to do a side-by-side upgrade for production, and anything else that your organisation relies on.


The point being, performing a side by side upgrade is not always possible and within everyone's budget so this. Sometimes the risks are acceptable. If the in place upgrade works, great. If not, the business owners were made aware this could happen and the time to rebuild the server can be absorbed providing precautions are taken in advance.
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