Required SQL Server Versions and Patch Levels for SharePoint 2010

Microsoft has been very clear about the requirements for installing SharePoint 2010. The biggest thing in this release is that it’s 64 bit only, not just on the Operating System side, but also in the SQL Server requirements. In addition, it’s also quite fussy about which versions it supports.

On the operating system side, a complete list can be found here. On the SQL Server side, it’s generally thought that it supports only SQL Server 2008 and above. However, this isn’t true – it supports SQL Server 2005 – provided that it’s 64 bit mode. However, the devil is in the details. It’s very specific about the patch level that you’re running. Glenn Berry has a list of the supported versions, with patch levels, and the SQL script for determining your precise version levels. There are only 3, so I’ll repeat them below:

  • SQL Server 2005 SP3 CU3 (Build 4220) or greater
  • SQL Server 2008 SP1 CU2 (Build 2714) or greater
  • SQL Server 2008 R2

The kicker is that neither the SP3 level of 2005, nor the SP1 level of 2008 will cut it,and you will have a failure if you do not conform to these versions. This failure will not appear until you run the SharePoint Products configuration wizard,which is pretty much past the point of commitment. In addition, the stsam.exe –o preupgradecheck command on a 2007 farm does not appear to detect this deficiency (at least it hasn’t yet in my experience).

Do yourself a favour, and patch up your SQL servers before you start your install/upgrade. The most recent cumulative update packages, as of this writing are:

I’ve used CU7 for 2008 on my installs thus far, and can attest that it works. I’m still waiting, hopefully not long now, for 2008 R2…

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How to get SharePoint Designer 2010 and a few gotchas

Anyone that’s worked with SharePoint 2007 or WSS 3.0 and SharePoint Designer, and is moving to SharePoint 2010 might be a little confused about how to get the new Designer client. Previously, it was (and still is) delivered through MSDN, but after the announcement that it was made free of charge, it was made available for general download.

SharePoint Designer 2010 is ONLY available through public download. You can find the home page for the product here, and download links for both 32 bit and 64 bit are at the bottom of the page.

There are a few important usage notes here. Firstly, SharePoint Designer 2010 works ONLY with SharePoint 2010 sites (not 2007 sites). Designer 2007 works only with 2007 sites, and not at all with 2010. Therefore, if you find yourself like I do in a situation where you need to support both environments, you’ll need to keep both installed side by side.

This however brings up another issue. The bit level of all Office applications need to be the same. SharePoint Designer is an Office application, and Designer 2007 only had a 32 bit version. In this scenario, you are restricted to the 32 bit version of Office 2010. In truth,this isn’t much of a restriction,and Microsoft itself suggests that you use the 32 bit version of office unless you have a compelling need for 64 bit. The 32 bit version is more compatible with add-ins, etc.

Back to VMWare Workstation

I’m pretty disappointed with Windows Virtual PC (the latest version). It’s April 2010, and it still doesn’t support 64 bit guest operating systems, which I believe is a pretty glaring omission. I’m a big fan of Microsoft’s server virtualization (Hyper-V) but the client side is just so lacking, I’ve been forced to find another solution. For a number of reason (chief among them video performance) I do not want to put Server 2008 on my laptop.

Microsoft actually forced the issue themselves. The latest waves of server releases (SharePoint, SQL Server) are 64 bit only. As a developer/architect I need to run these servers from my laptop, which makes it impossible to use Windows VPC. Originally Windows VPC also required hardware virtualization, which made it unusable on some of our systems, but they have recently removed that restriction. Good.

I was originally  a VMWare user, and I only switched to VPC after I noticed that it performed considerably better on Vista 64 bit systems. VMWare had become a dog. I was also hoping that using Microsoft virtualization would make it easy to move VMs between client systems and Hyper-V. Alas, that was not to be the case.

Given all that, I recently installed VMWare 7, and I’ve been quite impressed with its capabilities and its performance. Don’t get me wrong,it would be much simpler,and cheaper for me as a Microsoft Partner to use MS technology across the board, but until such a time as they support 64 bit guest operating systems (which is something they have been very quiet about), it’s simply not an option for me.