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Upgrading a Microsoft SQL Server 2008

One of dsp’s Microsoft SQL Server DBAs talks to us about upgrading SQL Server 2008 …

“Recently I was commissioned to upgrade a SQL Server Data Warehouse instance for one of our customers, it was my first engagement for dsp whereby I was the working as the sole DBA onsite for the customer. The upgrade process itself it quite painless, but what makes a successful upgrade is quite another story.

The plan was to implement an in-place upgrade from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2008 R2, as the maintenance window was pretty small and the business needed their Data Warehouse back in service ASAP. My initial approach was to expect complete success but prepare for utter failure. I read up on a number technical white papers, articles and blogs regarding in-place upgrades with SQL Server (especially between SQL 2008 to SQL 2008 R2). By the time I had completed my research, I had plan A, B, C, D and E scoped out for any possible issues.

Unfortunately even after my due diligence and planning to get the upgrade to complete successfully, I encountered an unknown failure. It was pleasing to know that all the possible failures I had accounted for did not occur, due to my hard preparatory work completed before hand. I had a brief conversation with my Practice Head, just after the failed upgrade and assured him there was no need to panic as I had plan B, C, D and E ready to go. After resolving the failure, and completing the rollback process (the backup… a DBA’s insurance policy). The second attempt completed much smoother than expected, and a great air relief blew through the customer’s IT department.

In typical fashion, whilst my upgrade checks were completing, which I anticipated was going to take a while, I started on my next task…engaging with the customer and dsp. I granted the customer a SQL Server health check, on one of their many SQL Server instances. I went through recommendations, and configuration proposals according to Microsoft and dsp best practices.

By the end of the engagement the customer was more than pleased to say the least, even despite the day’s earlier issue. They appreciated my thorough and detailed approach (no shortcuts taken), and felt their environment was definitely being taken care of in a pair of trusted hands. I left the customer’s office with assurances that they will definitely be calling ondsp’s services again, and as I quote “I’ve got your number!””

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