Why is Deploying SQL Server 2008 R2 sooooo FRUSTRATING?!! - by JoelTbay

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ID 586624 Comments
Status Active Workarounds
Type Suggestion Repros 0
Opened 8/16/2010 8:56:56 AM
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I originally posted this here:


One of the moderators suggested I post this issue here as well.

Why is it that in 2010, developing and deploying applications with Microsoft's latest tools is an exercise in complete frustration?  I developed database applications for years using Microsoft's Visual FoxPro, and application deployment was NEVER the MESS it is now!  In fact, deployment was always the least of my worries.  I could concentrate on programming great applications!  Now I cannot for the life of me find a seamless solution for my customers using Microsoft products.  Where, I ask, is the progress?

Case in point - SQL Server 2008 R2 Express as the database for a Visual Basic 2010 application.  Many new and exciting features that would entice anyone to use 2008 R2 rather than 2008 SP1 or SQL Server Compact.  For example, 2008 R2 supports larger Express database sizes (up to 10GB from 4), has streamlined the gui installation with "fewer clicks", and, unlike SQL Server Compact Edition, it supports "Views" (as did earlier versions of SQL Server Express).

Want to deploy SQL Server 2008 R2 Express as part of your VB 2010 application with a seamless installation experience for your customers?  Want to sell your application on a DVD to your customers, confident they will have a great "out of the box" experience with your product. Want to avoid having to personally visit each customer to diagnose installation errors?  Forget about it!

According to Microsoft, the release date for SQL Server 2008 R2 was rather "unfortunate". (This is a direct quote from Microsoft's Program Manager for SQL Server Express)  You see, Microsoft only creates bootstrapper packages in Visual Studio for versions of SQL Server shipping at the time of release.  Its just the "policy".  Visual Studio 2010 was released on April 12, 2010.  SQL Server 2008 R2 in May.  A matter of days.  Too bad, so sad.  Forget about including SQL Server 2008 R2 in a "Click Once" Visual Studio 2010 application setup routine.  Ignore all the marketing hype about new features in 2008 R2.  Please just use the OLD SQL Server 2008 SP1.  Or, better yet, don't use the full product at all.  Maybe try the Compact edition.  Who needs something as advanced as "Views" anyhow?  Sure, you've had views in Visual Foxpro since the mid 90's, but you won't miss them!

So, my question is this.  What database engine does Microsoft encourage developers to include and distribute with their applications?  Clearly its not SQL Server 2008 R2.  Why bother with this release in the first place if support is going to be half-hearted?  And yes, I know there are command line options as long as an encyclopedia that I could muddle through.  Why, why, WHY??  Its 2010.  These are the LATEST development and database tools available.  And yet there is NO way to SIMPLY include SQL Server 2008 R2 with my application??  What am I missing here?  Somebody at Microsoft.  Please.  FIX THIS!  Seriously.  This is progress?
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Posted by Keith Dorken on 4/25/2012 at 6:24 AM
History continues,

The SqlLocalDb solution would be ideal for many of the things SQL express provides. It has a simple installation (still requires Admin rights it appears), but again, no easy integration or bootstrapper package provided for Visual Studio that I can find.

I would suggest the SqlLocalDb web page for download simply include a link to a bootstrapper package that developers can use to ADD to their visual studio 2010 SP1 installation.
Posted by Jeremy Sage on 2/26/2011 at 3:35 AM
I filed a similar suggestion for SP1:
For that, the situation was even worse, the current VS2008 did not support the necessary SSEE version for the current OS (Windows 7).
Come on Microsoft, get a grip!
Posted by JoelTbay on 1/20/2011 at 9:01 AM
Zero progress. Zero support on this. In fact, to avoid making VS 2010 SP1 "too big", it is now confirmed this will NOT be included:


Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 will *not* include the bootstrapper for SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. One of the reasons for this decision was that including the SQL Server 2008 R2 Express packages would grow the size of Service Pack 1 package by almost 200MB.

I wish I had better news to share, but wanted to at least clarify this for everybody.

Krzysztof Kozielczyk,
Program Manager for SQL Server Express

Posted by Scripticus on 11/22/2010 at 12:10 PM
Has there been any progress on this? Is there a workaround bootstrapper that we can manually download and add to our machines? Anything at all? We're really stuck here.
Posted by Bas Jansen on 9/20/2010 at 11:50 AM
Hallo Rod,

Can you post the bootstrapper files you created? It would really help me. It's a really unbelievable that Microsoft is not able to this.

Posted by JoelTbay on 9/8/2010 at 9:26 AM

The command-line installation for SQL Server 2008 R2 Express is not a bootstrapper. There is no bootstrapper package available for the latest version of SQL Server Express. A bootstrapper would allow SQL Server 2008 R2 Express to be added to a 'click-once' setup project in Visual Studio (without adding custom installation code or a 'from scratch' custom install routine). Microsoft refuses to make any commitment to provide a bootstrapper for the current version of SQL Server Express. They don't seem to want developers to use SQL Server 2008 R2 Express as the database engine for Visual Studio applications. We are being forced to explore other databases (including open source) for our applications - and the only reason is Microsoft's deployment mess!
Posted by Rod Weir on 9/7/2010 at 10:58 PM
We're using the SQL Server 2008 R2 Express bootstrapper as part of our deployment process, and it's working great. An improvement over previous versions at any rate. The command-line installation process seems to be much more robust than previously, and the error reporting has been improved somewhat.

My gripe would be to have an installer that has the engine, the management tools and the full text searching, without being 500MB big! Surely these 3 components can be bundled together.

Posted by Microsoft on 8/24/2010 at 6:22 PM
Hello JoelTbay,

Thank you for sharing your feedback with us.

As much as I would like things to be different, the truth is that there is no bootstrapper for SQL Server 2008 R2 Express in Visual Studio 2010. As I said in the quote above the reason for that is that SQL Server 2008 R2 shipped too late to be included in Visual Studio 2010. It was not just a couple of weeks either – we lock big releases like Visual Studio a few months before the RTM date, so in order to be included in Visual Studio 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2 would have to be shipped at least six months earlier.

We do understand how bad the situation is and we are investigating our options to get the SQL Server 2008 R2 Express bootstrapper into the hands of Visual Studio developers. However, at this stage I cannot commit to any particular plan or timeline.

Krzysztof Kozielczyk,
Program Manager for SQL Server Express