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Installing SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate 0

In my last post, I indicated that my plan was to post by Dec. 3 on the topic of data mining in the latest version of SQL Server. Thanks to a couple of hitches during installation, however, I wasn’t able to get through the section in Help or play around with the new version at all; I just managed to get it installed last night and now hope to post on the subject by next Saturday. Until then, I figured I’d post a few quick observations on my experience in installing the Release Candidate for SQL Server 2012, previously code-named Denali.

  • The first order of business, of course, is to download the installer from Microsoft. The first issue I encountered was that at 4.4 gigs, the .iso was a couple of megabytes too large for my DVD burner, so I had to open the archive on a spare hard drive and run Setup from there.
  • Before installing, you may also want to download Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2010. If you have that product installed the Setup program for SQL Server 2012 RC 0 will prompt you to install the Service Pack and won’t continue until you do. The full .iso for the Service Pack takes 1.48 gigs, so plan ahead (as I did not) if your Internet connection is slow or you’re short of hard drive space. The Service Pack installation took several hours to complete on my machine and then I had to restart before proceeding with SQL Server 2012 setup.
  • Also be sure to have your installation disk for Visual Studio 2010 handy, if it’s on the computer you plan to put RC 0 on. Once you’re deep into SQL Server’s setup process you may be prompted by the RC 0 installer to insert your VS 2010 disk, so that it can roll back some backup files left from the Service Pack installer mentioned above.
  • The only outright error I encountered when using the RC 0 installer came on a page that prompts you to add an adminstrator account for the Distributed Relay Coordinator, a new feature of SQL Server 2012 that I have yet to try or read up on. I was prompted to add administrator accounts on previous pages for the MSSQLSERVER service and for Analysis Services and received no error when I clicked on the Add Current User button, but when I clicked on a similar button on this page, the setup program gave me this message: SQL Server Setup has encountered the following error: There was a failure to validate setting CTLRUSERS in validation function ValidateUsers Error code 0×85640004. The installer then quit, so I re-ran it again, but this time I unchecked the box for the Distributed Relay Coordinator during Feature Selection. After this, Setup proceeded without a hitch.
  • On my development machine, I keep a Microsoft Management Console pre-populated with all of the available snap-ins right on my desktop. After startup, I usually run it and start my servers using the SQL Server Configuration Manager snap-in. Since installing RC0 on the same machine, however, I have received this error whenever I start up the Configuration Manager through this method: The remote procedure call failed. [0x800706be]. There are now two instances of Configuration Manager listed in the available snap-ins, but both of them produce the same result. There is probably some simple run-of-the-mill name conflict between the two versions in the registry, one that will in all likelihood be fixed by the time the final version of 2012 is released.
  • The product documentation was not installed locally by default. I started to download it through Help Viewer so I can run it locally, which requires a 524 megabytes of disk space. My slow Internet connection at home couldn’t complete this last night before Windows Update restarted my machine just before 4 a.m., so I’ll have to try again tonight. If I can get through the documentation by the end of next week, I’ll post some reactions to the changes in data mining and DMX (assuming there are any).

The problems I listed above weren’t all that serious, to tell you the truth; in fact, I have had a harder time on some routine installs of the complete versions of 2005 and 2008. Another bright spot is that I didn’t have to restart my machine; in fact, I kept SQL Server Management Studio for 2008 R2 open during the whole installation process and used it repeatedly without any interruption. I was already excited about the new version when I heard about FileTable and the windowing functions, but the relatively smooth setup process is another plus. At some point this week I’ll find out if there were any significant additions to data mining and DMX, my favorite areas of SQL Server. Most of the hype in the new version of Analysis Services has surrounded Tabular Mode, which can’t be used with data mining and DMX; during setup, you must make a permenant choice to run your new instance of SSAS in either multidimensional or Tabular Mode. The two features ought to be complementary rather than competetive, since they are designed to solve different sets of problems that don’t overlap completely, but this week I will find out whether or not Microsoft has give the traditional and much more powerful multidimensional mode its fair share of new features.


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