FAQ: Will there be a single/inline image of SQL Server 2005 + SP1?

(First in another new category of posts, taking questions I get in mail, in blog comments and from our internal support alias’s and posting them back out again)

With the exception of express the answer is currently no, let me explain a little.

Historically with SQL 7/MSDE 1.0 and above we have not provided a slipstreamed(thats the term we use at Microsoft but I have heard others call it inlining, single image etc) image of the non embedded (MSDE, Express) SKUs. Its vital for the embedded SKUs as it makes it much easier for ISVs to install. The current plan is not to change that approach, although plans are subject to change.

The primary reasons for not doing it are resource cost and complexity, remember there are > 700 SKUs of SQL Server, if we slipstreamed we would add 700+ new SKUs in every SP. We know we have to ship a pure patch based solution (ie the current solution) but if we slip streamed, it would mean that each SP that followed would need its patch based solution tested against both a patched previous SP and a slipstreamed one so on and so forth. Doing this would massively increase the time required to ship an SP as the team would be struggling under the number of combos, that is already pretty huge.

Now there are alternatives we have been looking at for this going forwards, one would be a chained installer where you would start setup of the RTM bits and then all the SPs would be applied either from media or from Microsoft Update.

We actually have considered this very carefully a couple of times over the last few years, but when we map out the resources to do it, we have always backed away, however as I said plans change, feel free to comment.

Comments (23)

  1. Xied75 says:

    Totally support your decision. After all, people looking after SQL Server isn’t non-professional, knowing the need to patch is the first job requirement. Time should be used to build beautiful products to beat Ora%^& away. Playing X360 isn’t allowed too!

  2. S Panja says:

    Favor a chained installer from Microsoft update.

  3. SQL Consultant says:

        With respect, this SKU-based excuse is ridiculous.  Somehow MS found the "resources" to slipstream SP3 into SQL 2000 after the Slammer worm.  Likewise, a plethora of SKUs existed at that time as well.  

        Do you mean that MS "had" the technology to do it at one time yet somehow "lost" the means to implement slipstreaming in the SQL Server product line later on?  

  4. Euan Garden says:

    SQl Consultant,

    Good point, however…

    SP3 was never slipstreamed into SQL2000 (other than MSDE), there was a SQL2000a version release that contained only the slammer fix, which was very very very narrow, ie a couple of lines change in one file. This was done for a couple of reasons

    It was far more narrow a change than an SP, hence we felt it was valid, we also pulled the SQL2000 media after that so you could only get the "a" version, although it was not all removed from the channel, hence we did attempt to reduce the number of SKUs as part of this.

    In the case of that fix we had to, it was difficult in orgs where slammer existed to get a SQL Server RTM up and running without it becoming infected becase the SSRP process comes online fairly early in the setup.

    It was also simply the right thing to do.

    I should be clear however, this is not a technology problem, you are right it can be done, and we do it for Express, it is resources as I said.

  5. SQL Consultant says:

        I stand corrected.  I should have cited the "slammer fix" itself in lieu of a reference to "SP3" for the non-MSDE product line.

        Without loss of generality though, I would like to humbly submit that offering a new slipstreamed SKU and/or a chained installer is also "simply the right thing to do".   😉

  6. Dave says:

    Even if you’re not planning on shipping SP1 pre-slipstreamed, is it possible for us to slipstream the patch ourselves onto our install source, to allow for easier deployments?

  7. Euan Garden says:

    SQL Consultant,

    Humble submission accepted, and you would not be the first.


    Yes you can just do the chaining yourself as long as you wrap the installer in some way. Call the RTM installer with switches and then the same for the SP1 installer.

  8. Andy Ball says:

    it would be perhaps good if MS could provide (say in a kb) a robust example of how to script this in a say batch file.  ie with error checking that handles dependencies – ie if RTM doesn’t install then drop out , if sp1 fails give option of rolling back (ie go de-install) pausing (ie fix up the problem) or quitting



  9. I truly think MS have missed a step with the install of SP1. The install for RTM inroduced side by side…

  10. Euan Garden says:


    Good suggestion I’ll see what we can do.

  11. K. Brian Kelley says:

    I understand what you’re saying about the number of SKUs, but doesn’t this same concern exist with respect to the various OSes?

    We do have the ability to slipstream with them as well as order already slipstreamed CDs (such as Windows Server 2003 SP1). We can chain hotfixes from the slipstreamed install. Both of these together greatly reduce the amount of time an administrator takes to bring a system online but what really makes up the difference is that slipstream of the service pack.

  12. Euan Garden says:


    Yes the same concern does exist with OS’s but it is also slightly different fo some of the same reasons we did 2000a, these also apply to Windows. To be clear its not that we can’t do it, right now we have chosen not to, having looked at the trade offs. One of the reasons for starting this thread is because I wanted to see how people felt about the issue, well now we know 🙂

  13. SQL Guy says:

    Slipstreaming Windows patches has proven to be a huge plus, and I’d even say, essential in a large environment. The same should be true for SQL Server.

    We’ve been asking for slipstreaming SQL patches/SPs for as long as I can remember to no avail. The alternative of using a wrapper install script is just not robust enough. But since we are not going to get slipstreaming, I support Andy’s call for a Microsoft supplied sample, but robust, install script that installs both RTM and SP1.


  14. SQLBobGuy says:

    Come on Microsoft, sort it out. You have all that  money in the bank, and you cannot (willnot) sort it out?

    I have been doing this install RTM, Service pack, patches thing with SQL for at least 8 years now. You have not evolved. Implementing and managing SMS we have to install 100’s of servers (800 was biggest yet).

    What good are wizzy features when you have ludite installation technologies.

    Get the bloody basics right!


  15. I truly think MS have missed a step with the install of SP1. The install for RTM introduced side by side…

  16. SQL_Guru says:

    There seems to be multiple points that seem to be in contradiction to a chat last year.  At that time, Maxwell Myrick indicated that it was a design goal to allow slipstreaming for SQL 2005.  It also says that there will be a MSDE version of 2000 that will have SP4 slipstreamed into it.  Both things you have said either won’t happen for SQL 2005 and didn’t/won’t happen for MSDE 2000.

    Actually “Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000) Release A” includes sp3a “slipstreamed” into it.  This is according to the readme included with the download for MSDE 2000 Release A.

    Slipstreaming was one of the "features" that I was looking forward to in SQL 2005.  Now it seems that it will not be happening after all.  Too bad, with it you know your new installs will always have the current patches/service pack regardless if a developer with no DBA experience is installing them or not (we still have issues with developers using a blank sa password).

    Below I have included the references and extracts from the sources I mentioned.


    Max (Expert):

    Maxwell Myrick is a Program Manager Lead with SQL Server at Microsoft. He is currently responsible for the servicing release team. He was also the release manager for SQL Server SP3a / MDAC 2.71 refresh. Some of you may also remember him as the SQL Customer Lab manager from Aug 2000 through Feb 2003.

    Max (Expert):

    Q: Will there be a Slip streamed SP4 Install package for SQL 2000 to ease the installation of SQL 2000 on Windows 2003?

    A: There will NOT be a slipstreamed version of SQL 2000 SP4 – except for MSDE per usual. SP4 is still Installshield-based as was our original SQL Server 2000 product. SQL Server 2005 (aka Yukon) will be MSI based and we are working to provide slipstream SPs on that platform thanks to the benefits of MSI. MSDE users will have a full version (SQL 2000 + SP4) for their MSDE installation in both MSM and MSI format.


    MSDE 2000 Release A contains the same fixes as MSDE 2000 SP3a , including those that address issues raised by the Slammer worm. You do not need to apply MSDE 2000 SP3a to MSDE 2000 Release A, or to upgrade MSDE 2000 SP3a or SP3 to MSDE 2000 Release A.

  17. Euan Garden says:


    Actually I think Max and I are in violent agreement.

    It was a design goal to allow slimstreaming of SQL2005, we always wanted to be able to do it at some point, especially if we could address the matrix issue. SQL2005 is easier to slipstream than 2000 although the install would be a lot bigger because of the technology.

    We did ship a slipstreamed SP4, its here, http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/B/D/1BDF5B78-584E-4DE0-B36F-C44E06B0D2A3/ReadmeSql2k32desksp4.htm

    We have always done MSDE and will continue to do Express as a slipstream. Perhaps my wording above is confusing on this but what I was trying to say was that we do it for MSDE and Express but not the others.

  18. SlapDash says:

    When rolling out servers I can usually bear the overhead of applying SPs manually, albeit reluctantly. The biggest headache I have is rolling out client tools to hundreds/thousands of developers/users then applying the SPs, either slaughtering a WSUS server or the link to Microsoft Update.

  19. Welcome to 2007! As seems to be the trend here is the list of most popular posts for the last year, I

  20. Kevin Kline says:

    I’ve been getting requests from users concerning the best way to roll out new service packs and hot fixes

  21. Kevin Kline says:

    I’ve been getting requests from users concerning the best way to roll out new service packs and hot fixes

  22. I truly think MS have missed a step with the install of SP1. The install for RTM introduced side by side