Are you Slipstreaming? The Very Best Way to Install SQL Server!

Filed under: Awesome things I learned at SQLPASS!

Somehow, I didn’t know about slipstreaming installations of SQL Server until last week. I heard about them at SQLPASS in Allan Hirt’s session on installing SQL Server 2008 on Windows 2008 clusters.

What’s Slipstreaming?

Slipstreaming is creating a single installation directory and process for installing SQL Server along with any Service Packs (SP) and/or Cumulative Update (CU). You can use unattended installation files with a slipstream installation, just like normal.

So in other words, you get a single, smooth, optimized install, completely configurable to run from the command line!

I love imaging, but I like this even better because it’s easy for me to keep different configuration files for standalone vs clustered installs, and the installation works on different hardware profiles. Every time I want to move to a new SP and/or CU, I can quickly and easily create a slipstream drop with that CU. And I can share my slipstream drop and configuration files with my development teams so that labs are built out in the exact same way.  (This last bit is only advisable when you provide your account and password information at the command line at install time, and don’t store it in your config file.)


How Do I Slipstream?

For instructions, see these posts on the SQL Server setup blog by Peter Saddow:

Here is a CSS blog post by Bob Ward including information and referencing the two posts above:

Allan Hirt’s great blog is here:

And lastly, here is the SQL Server Release Services team blog, which is the best place to keep up on current SP and CU info.

Update 11/10: Added link to Slipstream FAQ Blog post.
Photo attribution: / CC BY-ND 2.0

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Great and informative blog post. I’d heard other MVPs discussing this, but I’d never seen it written up in one cohesive article.

    BTW, do you have any idea how to create multiple slipstream builds besides having multiple folders with each of the appropriate SPs, CUs, etc? Seems like it could lead to a bit of bloat if your enterprise needed two or three standard builds instead of just one.


    Twitter @KEKline

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your comment. As far as I have read, you do have to create multiple folders for each update. I have found that it is very quick to set up– the instructions have a lot of steps but they are very detailed and don’t take long.

      My SQLServer2008_FullSP1_CU4 drop is 3.6GB on disk, so things will add up in terms of storage space.

      My own team does try to keep all our boxes on the same SKU as much as possible (per version, ie we do still have some boxes on sql 2000 and 2005, but we try to keep them all at the same level). It just makes it so much easier to troubleshoot issues. So we will be able to compress older versions of the slipstream install as we pass them on 2008.

  • […] Preparing the install Slipstreaming is the way to go in SQL Server 2008; Kendra Little has a great blog post about it.  Thanks to Peter Saddow and the rest of the setup team; this has absolutely been the […]

  • […]         1>… […]


Share a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: