Updating SQL Server 2008

I am looking to update our SQL 2008 Server to SP1. Can someone advise best way to do that? Anything to check before running (besides having a backup). What to check before updating and do I have to run within SQL or just run as a regular download?
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lcohanDatabase AnalystCommented:
Please see checklist at link below and regardless of that please make sure you have a copy of ALL your user database FULL backups just prior to upgrade somewhere safe.

"Checklist for upgrading to a new version of SQL Server"


Few more good things to check/be aware of at:

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JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
I may just do 2 cumulative updates instead of jumping to SP1. Should I still run DB check?
lcohanDatabase AnalystCommented:
Please as it is not wasted time for sure...and make sure you have the FULL backups available and...please make sure you understand the implication of applying just CUx's instead of SPx's.

A CU will never go through a FULL regression testing like a SPack does so I personally would rather apply a SP than a CU unless there there is no SP available yet including that fix and my SQL is hit by a specific bug for which a CUx exists. Even in that case I do it in a DEV/QA environment first where I can reproduce the issue and the fix before applying a CU in production SQL Server.
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JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
That is good to know as were are back and forth on whether to go with the SP or the CU, but sounds like the SP is better idea. We are new to this as we never have to touch the SQL server for anything it almost never has issues so any advise will help. I will try to figure out to run the full backups aside from my regular backups.
JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
Can I run full backups during regular hours or does everyone need to be out of the DB?
JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
Can you roll back the SQL SP if needed?
lcohanDatabase AnalystCommented:
I'll start in reverse order:

"HOW TO: Remove a SQL Server Service Pack"

"Can I run full backups during regular hours or does everyone need to be out of the DB?"
Sure - no issue to do that however please consider the backups will take CPU and IO therefore is advisable do run the FULL backups when load is at minimum on the system.
Also you could use SQL compression and I recommend a verify option as these FULL backups would be your 1st(and the best) line of defense in case any disaster.
JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
If I run the backup with the options you mentioned above do I need to run a database check prior? Or does it do it while backing up?
JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
Also after I have run all the backups, I just run the exe from download, I don't have to run within sql correct?
lcohanDatabase AnalystCommented:
No need to checkpoint manually  prior to backup just for instance if you want to detach/attach a DB.

"A full database backup backs up the whole database. This includes part of the transaction log so that the full database backup can be recovered. Full database backups represent the database at the time the backup finished. "

So all transactions committed after the full backup would be lost in case you need to do a restore that why I said to take a full backup just prior to the SP (or CU) update - ideally all users disconnected so no new data can be written into your DBs.
You could run a backup prior to the SQL Update to see how long it takes and if you done' have a SQL Job taking FULL database backups (daily) I recommend you start doing so.
JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
Do I have to update any other components such as .net framework if I do SP1?
lcohanDatabase AnalystCommented:
From system requirements it does not look like there are any "prerequisites" for SP1 however all the details are found at:
JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
Lastly I know I need to backup the system databases, but should I also do a full on my actual database with data and tables or are the system ones fine?
lcohanDatabase AnalystCommented:
I would back up the system DBS as well because they don't take much time and space - at least master and msdb databases. This way you'll have all user info/permissions saved along with all SQL job details in case you need by any mean to restore them.
JessicaWattersAuthor Commented:
Excellent and quickly response. Resolved my issue.
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Microsoft SQL Server 2008

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