Deploying Application Virtual Machines Just Got A Whole Lot Quicker

Several years ago, I first heard Mark Minasi talk about accidental DBAs.  The term refers to server administrators/engineers who find that the vast majority of their Windows Servers either have or use a SQL Server installation.  We were mostly still in a physical world back then, with virtualisation just in its infancy in the industry (as a whole).  Things have moved on since then.  Anyone deploying servers now should be looking at the virtual option first (be it some open cloud, Xen, VMware, or Hyper-V).  Virtualisation seems to encourage server sprawl and that means lots more servers.

My last experience as a hands-own “own it” engineer was in hosting.  Here’s how a deployment looked:

  1. Time to deploy a VM: about 30 seconds in a wizard, and do something else while the files copied
  2. Customize the OS: about 1-10 minutes
  3. Install SQL Server: 30-45 minutes (longer if SQL 2008 R2 Reporting was required)
  4. Install the SQL Server service pack (if not already slipstreamed): 30-45 minutes
  5. Install the SQL Server service pack cumulative update (if not already slipstreamed): 30-45 minutes

In my experience, I could lose the guts of a day installing SQL Server if I didn’t have a slipstreamed package, while the VM deployment itself took very little time.

“Why, in a cloud, shouldn’t the user install SQL Server?”

LMAO!  Clouds are like hosting, and I left the hosting business because 80% of the customers made me want to scream at them.  They were clueless: e.g. the guy who opened a helpdesk call to get a DR replication application written for his new SaaS business (selling DR).

Not that all of them were like that.  I learned from a few and some were doing very interesting and innovative things.

When it comes to things like SQL Server, the infrastructure people (or system) must do the installation.  But we want to minimize that time.  SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 has expanded support for Sysprep.  This means that you can optimise the deployment of virtual machines with SQL Server (including service pack and related cumulative update).  For more information you can see:

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