If you’ve maintained SQL Server instances for any length of time, you know how time-consuming it can be to keep all of your servers on the same version. Keeping up with hotfixes, cumulative updates, and service packs can be a real pain when you have more than a couple SQL Server systems inhouse. And it can be even more complex and time-consuming if you like to load all of your servers with useful utilities and script libraries. Enter SQL Server FineBuild.

FineBuild provides easy, one-click installation and configuration of SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008, and SQL Server 2005 by installing not only SQL Server but also service packs, cumulative update hotfixes, popular community tools, and pre-defined best practice configurations. The predefined configurations are very handy and follow most of the best practice recommendations that I’ve seen published, but they can also be edited to meet your company’s standards.

Features

Designed and maintained by Ed Vassie, a database architect who divides his time between a major UK company and doing IT projects for charity, FineBuild makes it easy to define a standard install configuration for SQL Server that you can manually deploy or automatically deploy via common distribution tools. FineBuild offers the following four pre-defined configurations for easy, standardized SQL Server builds:

  • Default Server: Installs default instances on servers with multiple hard disks on clustered or non-clustered Windows servers
  • Named Instance: Installs a named instance of SQL Server, alone or as an added instance, in cases where the Windows server already includes an instance of SQL Server
  • Workstation: Installs an instance on a machine with a single hard disk
  • Client Tools: Installs only the native SQL Server tools, such as SQL Server Management Studio, when you need to administrate remote SQL Server systems but don’t need SQL Server itself

 Other key features of FineBuild include

  • Installing all the prerequisite products needed by SQL Server such as .NET (appropriate to the version of SQL Server you’re installing), PowerShell, and Windows Installer.
  • Installing all the appropriate SQL Server services, including SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), and more
  • Installing popular and useful tools, such as PDF Reader, the Sysinternals Process Monitor, the SQL Server Best Practices Analyzer, which I covered in “Best Practices Analyzer” 
  • Configuring the SQL Server installation based on a variety of best practices, using Microsoft’s recommendations for a variety of areas within SQL Server, such as Policy-Based Management, tempdb configuration, SQL Server Agent job history, backup directors, and admin accounts

If you’ve already developed a set of configuration settings, you can alter the predefined configurations in the Configuration File to include your own specifications. You can also customize FineBuild to install specific tools and scripts, such as other free tools profiled in Tool Time.

System Requirements

FineBuild runs on any system running Windows XP or later (on either x86 or x64 CPUs). Of course, the servers on which you deploy SQL Server using FineBuild must meet the system requirements for the version of SQL Server you’re installing. You can download FineBuild and read the product’s details at sqlserverfinebuild.codeplex.com.
 

SQL Server FineBuild
Benefits: FineBuild makes configuring and deploying custom or best-practice installations of SQL Server fast and easy.
System Requirements: SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2005; Windows XP or later
How to Get It: You can download FineBuild from sqlserverfinebuild.codeplex.com.