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Eventually SQL2012 SP1 is up and running

April 26, 2013

After a period of a lack of time at home again, I finally have my physical SQL server up and running. After a lot more messing around, it turned out not to be anything more than a faulty RAID card it seems. I tried the disk erase several times, and was still only seeing a subsection of the installed drives. Going back to brass tacks, I pulled another P400i from another DL360 G5, slotted it in and powered up and lo and behold, all 5 drives appeared for configuration. Go figure. So, bays 1 and 2 configured in RAID 1, and 3, 4 and 5 configured for RAID5 for data. But that’s not all, of course. The way I’ve been doing these physical boxes (because it just ‘feels’ right) is to install 2008R2 (non-SP1, as previously noted), upgrade to SP1 and all the updates, and then upgrading to Server 2012. Having used 36GB drives for the OS partition, I had just less than 36GB to play with once formatted. This did not leave me enough space to upgrade the OS. These installs are big nowadays, and of course, the upgrade path requires files to be copied on to the OS partition to use during the upgrade. This left me wondering if I could do something fancy with what I had. I have several spare 72GB drives, so it seemed logical if I could upgrade the array to these drives, I’d have enough space. The process of migrating the array to 72GB drives was in the event relatively easy, and quick. Power down the server, pull one of the 36GB drives, plug in a 72GB drive in it’s place, and when the server boots, the RAID card picks up the missing drive and asks if you want to proceed with repair. F2 selects the automatic rebuild, and off it goes, rebuilding the mirror on to the new drive. Rinse and repeat with other drive, and I now have the original mirror and a bootable OS on 72GB drives. The only issue was that I didn’t have the option to ‘Expand Array’ in the GUI-based ACU, which I should have, given that I’m using a P400i with 512MB cache and battery backup. Ah, well. I had to reinstall in the end anyway, but the theory was there. So I ran through the original process again with a few beers, and Server 2012 is now installed, and SQL2012 is up and running in a pretty basic, vanilla-install kind of way.

As most IT pro’s are very well aware, pretty much everything uses a SQL backend nowadays, so getting this up and running is a step early in a greenfield build. I never was anything close to a DBA, and SQL2012 is new again, but now I have an operational build up and running, it gives me chance to hone my skills down the line. I’m planning to install another SQL2012 VM once I get fully moving, which I can play with for learning purposes.

So exciting times. I’ve been keenly following the ‘Build Your Private Cloud Month’ series, on Blain Barton’s blog, and both Keith Mayer and Yung Chou are superb presenters bringing these new and occasionally quite daunting (it’s going to take a while to get a good grip on the networking side of VMM, I think) technologies to the masses. Good stuff. If you’re in the market for System Center 2012 knowledge, you could do a lot worse than start there. http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2012/09/19/step-by-step-from-bare-metal-to-the-private-cloud-with-microsoft-system-center-2012.aspx is also an interesting read, along side.

 

Edit – For information, I deleted the windows.old folder. I’m never going to need it, by virtue of how I’m building these servers, but I was surprised (a little) to see this folder was 16.6GB in size. I’ve seen some posts stating this was difficult to delete due to permissions, but I was logged in as  domain admin (early days), and therefore a local admin on the server, and had no issues. Worth considering a cleanup plan if this was performed in the enterprise after a period of post-upgrade stability checking 🙂

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