SQL 2005 on ESX Installation Fails – How Odd

SQL 2005 on ESX Installation Fails – How Odd

I’m sure that all professions have their share of daily headaches but computer science seems to take the cake. I find it amazing how a simple process that you may have done a dozen times over can suddenly turn into a vicious 3 hour hair-pulling endeavour for what seems like no reason at all.

Today I was setting up SQL 2005 on a virtual windows 2003 sever box running on VMware’s ESX. What is normally a relatively painless install, today turned into failure after failure. For some seemingly mysterious reason the SQL service would not start near the end of the installation and a rollback would occur. Log files hinted at permission issues but everything I tried seemed to fail miserably.

Finally after some digging I came across a tidbit of information about odd numbers of processors in a Microsoft article. It seems that SQL server 2005 does not want to play nice when there are an odd number of CPU’s or processor cores installed on the host machine. By “not playing nice” I mean it beats up the other kids, steals their lunch money, then goes home to play Wii.

I checked the virtualization settings and sure enough I had the box set to 2 CPU’s with 3 cores each (don’t ask, it was late). Luckily solving my issue was a simple matter of shutting down the guest, assigning one more core to each CPU, firing things up and reinstalling. Then bam, everything is back to normal. SQL installed perfectly, windows made a new friend and I lost a few hours of my life. Perfect.

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