No More SQL Server Installs

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714105

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item No More SQL Server Installs

  • Beatrix Kiddo

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 32323

    Interesting question. I was interviewing for a DBA yesterday, and when asked which aspect of SQL Server he considered himself strongest in, he said installation. I felt so embarrassed on his behalf.

  • Thom A

    SSC Guru

    Points: 98029

    I have been using containers at home to spin up SQL Server, but I am still actually installing it. I now solely use Ubuntu at home, and specifically my normal "work" PC has Ubuntu 18.04 (which still isn't supported by SQL Server). Often i find, anyway, that when testing things it's quicker to create a container, on LXC with Ubuntu 16.04 and install SQL Server on Linux that way. After I'm done, I simply delete the Container.  Going to be useful this weekend, I think, as I'm going to finally try and tackle setting on OpenLDAP with SQL Server; snapshots are going to be priceless.

    I haven't had look at Kubernetes yet, in truth, but i do keep on seeing it pop up in blogs/articles I subscribe to; so maybe it's time I start having a look!

    Thom~

    Excuse my typos and sometimes awful grammar. My fingers work faster than my brain does.

  • n.ryan

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2223

    There's a balance to be had, and a sensible developer/administrator must know and understand the important difference.

    An organisation's database is often utterly critical to the operation of the organisation. The performance of this database is also often critical, with data retrieval and access expected to be fast and seamless. Offloading the database server to somebody else's computer (or cloud as every vendor under the sun is pushing largely for repeat subscription fees) is passing control of a key, critical organisational asset out of the organisation. Access to this asset will be at the whim of the owning organisation, access to it will be noticeably slower than operating the database server locally, useful functionality will be impaired for deployment reasons (hopefully this will improve soon) and access fees will go up.

    On the other hand, for smaller organisations who may neither want to nor be able to invest in proper management of systems, cloud can be very useful as using somebody else's computer then becomes a benefit rather than a massive negative. Also, for organisations that are somewhat distributed in nature, a central database that is not hamstrung be being on the "wrong" side of a business Internet line deploying a cloud based database is a fair alternative to deploying a hosted server.

    Neither option is wrong or right in all cases. The only wrong thing is to charge recklessly down one path without considering the advantages of the other.

  • steve.powell 14027

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 184

    I'm with N.Ryan on this, but will add a spin: You'll need to configure SQL to meet your needs, and test that configuration, so at some point you'll need to install SQL to create a template, else trust to someone else's template. Either way, there's an initial installation taking place to create a template to use when spinning up a copy as a container - the same way we can do this with VM's - create a template VM and then copy it to spin up a new VM (I'm thinking VM templates in Azure of cause).

    So someone, somewhere, has to install SQL. They have to get the right options included for you. They have to the create a template based off this install which you can then copy. Then you can spin up as many copies as you like (depending on licenses, obviously) , be they in VMs or containers or whatever the future holds. But even then, you may still need to add or remove options and change settings and in some instances it would be easier to install from scratch than change after.

    So no, I can't see installing SQL becoming a thing of the past. Not even if it becomes a tick box exercise to select features and settings (which it pretty much is already).

    But it is nice to dream 😛

  • n.ryan

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2223

    I'll also be very happy when scripting the installation of MS-SQL server is a bit less painful. Controlled installation where are a lot of options and knowing exactly what is being set and to set these options reliably and repeatably is critical.

    Still, considerably less like tooth extraction than installing SharePoint through a script!

  • Ricky Lively

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 488

    SQL Server installs are already a 5-10 minute process...using a ConfigurationFile.ini makes it very easy to apply a standardized template to multiple instances.

  • ZZartin

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 30242

    The process of installing SQL Server isn't going away anytime soon, AWS or pre imaged set ups might reduce the need to install for scratch but those options aren't always appropriate.

  • Geoff.Sturdy

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1197

    n.ryan - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:26 AM

    There's a balance to be had, and a sensible developer/administrator must know and understand the important difference.

    An organisation's database is often utterly critical to the operation of the organisation. The performance of this database is also often critical, with data retrieval and access expected to be fast and seamless. Offloading the database server to somebody else's computer (or cloud as every vendor under the sun is pushing largely for repeat subscription fees) is passing control of a key, critical organisational asset out of the organisation. Access to this asset will be at the whim of the owning organisation, access to it will be noticeably slower than operating the database server locally, useful functionality will be impaired for deployment reasons (hopefully this will improve soon) and access fees will go up.

    On the other hand, for smaller organisations who may neither want to nor be able to invest in proper management of systems, cloud can be very useful as using somebody else's computer then becomes a benefit rather than a massive negative. Also, for organisations that are somewhat distributed in nature, a central database that is not hamstrung be being on the "wrong" side of a business Internet line deploying a cloud based database is a fair alternative to deploying a hosted server.

    Neither option is wrong or right in all cases. The only wrong thing is to charge recklessly down one path without considering the advantages of the other.

    In other words the cloud is in effect an updated version of the old hosted service model where smaller companies bought time on a larger organisation's mainframe rather than invested in one themselves.

  • steve.powell 14027

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 184

    Geoff.Sturdy - Wednesday, March 27, 2019 1:26 AM

    n.ryan - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:26 AM

    <snip>

    In other words the cloud is in effect an updated version of the old hosted service model where smaller companies bought time on a larger organisation's mainframe rather than invested in one themselves.

    Yup! All your data sits on someone else's servers. They're just clustered and replicated so if one data centre goes dark, you'll get to your data via another in the group.

  • n.ryan

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2223

    steve.powell 14027 - Wednesday, March 27, 2019 2:36 AM

    Geoff.Sturdy - Wednesday, March 27, 2019 1:26 AM

    n.ryan - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:26 AM

    <snip>

    In other words the cloud is in effect an updated version of the old hosted service model where smaller companies bought time on a larger organisation's mainframe rather than invested in one themselves.

    Yup! All your data sits on someone else's servers. They're just clustered and replicated so if one data centre goes dark, you'll get to your data via another in the group.

    Yes, however due to regional sites if the data centre goes down in your region then everything still goes dark.

    "Cloud" is really nothing more than an evolutionary progression of shared, hosted services. Obviously, it's extended on a little more now, with better management, but rather than being assigned a fixed, shared system that your workload operates on the system is no longer fixed. Unless you pay for a fixed system in which case it's pretty much back to how things were. However it's important for the marketeers that "cloud" is totally new and amazing and the fix to everything. Largely in the same way that "blockchain" and "AI" are, of course... 🙂

  • steve.powell 14027

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 184

    n.ryan - Wednesday, March 27, 2019 3:44 AM

    Yes, however due to regional sites if the data centre goes down in your region then everything still goes dark.

    "Cloud" is really nothing more than an evolutionary progression of shared, hosted services. Obviously, it's extended on a little more now, with better management, but rather than being assigned a fixed, shared system that your workload operates on the system is no longer fixed. Unless you pay for a fixed system in which case it's pretty much back to how things were. However it's important for the marketeers that "cloud" is totally new and amazing and the fix to everything. Largely in the same way that "blockchain" and "AI" are, of course... 🙂

    Data centres are normally split across multiple physical sites to reduce that risk. Still happens (I've encountered it once) but you've more risk of losing power to your own site than to a data centre (That I've seen a few times - including UPS failing after a prolonged mains outage).

    I agree that it's all marketing to make it sound new and exciting - and I really hate how 'AI' is being used (was something I studied at Uni), so I suspect blockchain is in the same boat. But I think we're drifting from the intended topic of conversation :p So to get back to the topic: I suspect we'll see more marketing of 'installation free software/services' when all it means is someone else did the install o:)

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124938

    Beatrix Kiddo - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:07 AM

    Interesting question. I was interviewing for a DBA yesterday, and when asked which aspect of SQL Server he considered himself strongest in, he said installation. I felt so embarrassed on his behalf.

    When you asked: "What is your greatest weakness?", did he reply: "Candor" ?
    🙂

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Gavin Fuller

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 102

    It depends how you define 'install'.

    Currently we have some cloud presence and I can see this increasing with time but I suspect we'll always be in a situation where the majority of our SQL estate sits on prem. We haven't done anything serious with containers yet and again I suspect this'll increase with time. Will we ever reach a point where all of our SQL lives in containers? Possibly, although I suspect regardless of what the future holds we'll always have standard installations taking place.

    However our SQL installation and configuration is automated via PowerShell so I don't have the need to run through the GUI, even to use a current configuration file. Therefore it depends on if you consider PowerShell running the installer instead of a human as part of your question.

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