Installing Sql Server Express 2008 on SBS 2003 Std R2

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by RobC, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. RobC

    RobC Guest

    Hi all,
    Let me state upfront that I'm in way over my head right now. However, we're
    in no rush, and I'm happy to learn. Short of blowing up my server, I have
    the time to make some mistakes.

    I want to install SQL Server Express 2008 on my company's server, running
    SBS 2003 Std R2. We're a small company (<10), and right now using Access for
    database needs. However, I want something more robust for business as our
    company grows. I'm writing C# code for bespoke client applications that we
    will run that will access the database. We will not be data intensive by any

    I recognize there is a mix of expertise that I'm missing right now, both on
    the database admin side AND on the SBS admin side. The first thing I
    encountered when attempting a 'jump into the water' first go at installation
    was a warning that it's not recommended that I install SQL Server on a
    primary domain controller. Immediate red lights for me - clearly not the
    same as installing on my laptop running XP!!

    After searching around on the web, I couldn't find a good place to start. I
    couldn't find the answers to (what I thought were) simple questions, such as:
    Ok, if I don't install it on a PDC, where do I install it if I've only got
    the one server? So -
    1) any suggestions to whether or not I should install on a primary domain
    2) any suggestions as to where I should go to start learning about domain
    controllers, installing and setting up SQL Express 2008 on my server, etc?

    Thanks in advance for any help. I'm sure there are folks gasping out there
    at my naivete, but I've got to start somewhere!! :)

    RobC, Oct 6, 2009
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  2. RobC

    Joe Guest

    My guess is that SQL 2008 is likely to be more resource-hungry than SQL
    2005. I have Express 2005 on an SBS2003 to host an Outlook Business
    Contact Manager database, and since BCM isn't in use yet I've disabled
    the SQL Server as it was bringing the machine to its knees (even with
    nobody using it!). I think when the time comes to use BCM, I'll pull it
    off and stick it on an XP machine, as there are only a few potential
    users. Express can run on XP and Vista, with up to ten connections.

    There's between five and ten megabytes of text data in this database,
    but if allowed, SQL Server would eat more than a gigabyte of RAM. When
    someone logged on and opened Outlook, the BCM would start, and the SQL
    Server would begin a contemplation of its navel which lasted about ten
    minutes and used as near 100% CPU as it could manage. I can't imagine
    any organisation in which that would be acceptable, and this is
    obviously why domain controllers are not recommended as SQL Server
    hosts. A DC needs to be reasonably responsive at logon time. Having
    Exchange on the same machine makes matters even worse as Outlook
    resynchronises, or at least tries to.

    So SQL Server Express 2005 certainly can be installed on SBS2003, but
    I'd advise in the strongest possible terms against it. Presumably 2008
    would be no better behaved. Unless of course, someone else knows

    Oh, yes, Access. It can certainly use SQL servers, and is much quicker
    and better and safer that way, but it has some oddities. When creating
    new records using an auto-number key, it will mark them as deleted
    because the SQL server doesn't yet know the key and can't return the new
    record(s). Just ignore that and refresh the display, shift-F9 or
    equivalent. But seeing a huge block of apparently deleted records after
    importing a chunk of data does unnerve people. On the other hand, if
    they're used to using a big .mdb file they will be favourably impressed
    by the speed.
    Joe, Oct 6, 2009
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  3. RobC

    RobC Guest

    So that's interesting to hear. I've installed Sql Server Express 2008 on my
    laptop and had no problem with it, though obviously my laptop is not doing
    anything like SBS2003. I'm also surprised to hear that b/c I thought the
    Premium Edition of SBS comes with SQL Server 2005 already.

    I appreciate your input. It's certainly something I'll have to think about.
    RobC, Oct 7, 2009
  4. RobC

    Joe Guest

    It does, but that doesn't mean that it runs quickly and comfortably. It
    does need as much RAM as the machine can take. It's recommended with
    SBS2008 that the SQL Server component is run on the additional server.

    There are also, of course, a couple of instances of SQL Server, or
    something closely related to it, which are an integral part of SBS. They
    are fairly simple applications, and are configured to behave well in a
    1GB SBS2003.

    It will depend a lot on what you do with it. The BCM is actually a
    fairly simple database in terms of what it does, but it has an
    unbelievable number of tables, and presumably relationships and joins. I
    did dig into it a little with an Access front end, but the documentation
    is not good, and it's far too complex to hack easily.
    Joe, Oct 7, 2009
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