Installing software is not a difficult task. Regardless of the platform, most modern software has an installation program, so simply performing a "Next, Next, Finish" procedure typically gets you up and running. The same holds true for SQL Server. For an enterprise production system, however, that process is not enough.
SQL Server 2005 represents the latest Relational Database Management software offering from Microsoft. This version has a wide array of features, capabilities, and functions. Creating the proper environment for your installation involves making the right choices even before you install the software. It is important to understand all the variables so that you create a system that will function, and function well, for the long term as well as the short term.
You need to gather a lot of information before you buy any software or hardware for your environment and it is often difficult to know where to start. The best process is to understand the variables involved in your decision, and then match the information from possible configurations that meet your needs. Using this method, you can avoid a guessing game that can end up costing you a great deal of money and time.
I explain this process starting in the "System Sizing" section. The "Take Away" section at the end of this chapter provides a few spreadsheets that you can use to document the variables and thus make intelligent decisions when deploying SQL Server in your environment.
Note that this chapter deals with planning a new installation of SQL Server 2005. Even if you have a previous version of SQL Server already installed, you should read on; however, this chapter does not cover the upgrade process. Appendix A, "Upgrading to SQL Server 2005," explains the upgrade process in detail.