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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    5

    Unanswered: MSDE Alternative

    My company develops software that is distributed to thousands of customers. We chose MSDE as the database engine. Over the past 4 months, we have spent countless hours with customers, Microsoft, Installshield and web searches trying to resolve issues with installing MSDE. The issues seem to vary by customer and most take a great deal of support time. We understood MSDE to be a product that requires little support but in hindsight, it appears that it requires a great deal of knowledge just to get installed. We make small steps but no leaps forward.

    It has come time to evaluate other products. If there is a magic bullet, I would love to hear about it. In its absence, does anyone have success to share with other products?

    Phil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Andover, MA
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    256
    When you install MSDE, be sure to also install the latest MDAC update (2.8 now I think).

    I had similar problems distributing testing software to universities - a total nightmare. Insisting on the latest MDAC for all servers and clients helped tremendously.

    After that, it was convincing admins to assign the proper privledges, which was akin to pulling teeth.
    -bpd

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5
    Thank you for your response. Below is a list of solutions we have tried. These are the items that have at least helped. We have tried others with no success.

    - Updated MDAC to most current version
    - Modified the install to use MS Setup instead of Installshield Merge Modules
    - Installed outside of the Installshield product
    - Ensured that Print/File Sharing is installed and enabled
    - Copied the contents from the CD to the hard drive and installed
    - Installed MSDE with blank SA password and then changed it manually after installation
    - Verified that no previous instance of MSDE or SQL Server is installed

    I may have missed a couple but these give you an idea of what we have been through. We sell an inexpensive product and the product has to install without event.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Phil

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Andover, MA
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    256
    First, let me say I have no good recommendations for you as alternatives.

    I am curious as to what kinds of problems you are seeing.

    Have you tried a full SQL Server install in any of the trouble spots to see if would eliviate the problems?

    Our biggest problems almost always stemmed from NT permissions, once the MDAC issues were ironed out.
    -bpd

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5
    Our experience falls into three major categories. First, we have customers who get to the end of the MSDE Install and it starts rolling back and will never complete and ends up leaving a mess. Next, we have customers whose install freezes in the middle of the install and they have to reboot to recover. Lastly, we have customers who appear to be installed correctly but are not able to connect to the MSDE engine.

    We have also wrestled with the admin issues you talk about. However, those are generally fairly quick support calls and get resolution.

    Phil

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Jersey
    Posts
    10,322
    We're just discussing the install of MSDE?

    What if they have it installed already?

    Does your application install it for them?

    Do you do a restore of a dump?
    Brett
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Andover, MA
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    Have you designed your own installation of MSDE, or are you using Microsoft's installer?
    -bpd

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5
    Yes, we are trying to install MSDE. Initially, we tried installing via Installshield merge modules. In late fall, at Microsoft's direction, we broke our install into three pieces. We install .NET, then MSDE (using Microsoft's installer), and then lastly our custom software. We have no problems with the components other than MSDE. If MSDE is already installed, it doesn't appear to cause issues. However, some suggested that we should clean up any prior versions. We tried that as an option with very limited success.

    If I understand the restore question, we are starting from scratch.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Andover, MA
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    Sounds like the problem is Microsoft's, if it is their installer that is failing. Not much consolation, but what do they say?
    -bpd

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5
    Over the past few days, we have talked to Microsoft a number of times. They are attempting to give us help at chipping away at the issues. However, they have also indicated that MSDE is closer to full SQL server than it is to a "personal" database (which was the way we interpreted much of their promotional information) for the purposes of the installation discussion.

    We are working with them to try to resolve as many issues as possible and hope to build an installation to reflect that information. In the meantime, we are still investigating other alternatives. Our product stretches a bit outside the standalone environment into some network configurations. I am looking for a product that is easy to install but can go into a "light" network environment without introducing corruption.

    Any ideas?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Andover, MA
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    256
    Man, I can't tell you how much I hate saying this, but Access might actually work for you, if it is cheifly a standalone app, with occational (limited concurrent users) network use. I am dodging lightning bolts here.

    Also, it is (was?) my understanding that MS planned on ditching Access/Jet for the desktop, and replace it with Access/MSDE. Are they backing off that concept now?

    Plus, desktop or not, the they should (need) to get the thing to actually install without rolling itself back.

    Hmm, just a thought. Could it be related in any way to XP config save points?
    -bpd

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1

    MSDE install problems - any resolutions?

    Hi,

    Just wanting to find out if there were any breakthroughs in consistently installing MSDE?
    My company has had similar problems to what Phil described in this thread.

    We've also tried all sorts of variations. Ensuring MDAC 2.8 and IE 6(!) is installed first made helped, but we still get a significant proportion of failed installs.

    As with Phil, we can't afford to spend hours working with each customer to make the install work. MSDE is used with the low end (cheap) version of our software!

    Regards,
    Peter

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    69
    hi, i've encountered such problem dealing with MSDE installation and deployment on such environment you said. why not try the full scale MS SQL Server? 2000 i recommened 'coz it solve the problem. Another thing is i'm trying another db, (MySQL, InterBase, Adabas D and MaxDB) which are good alternatives for MSDE. but if you prefer Microsoft products, go to the full scale MS SQL Server. that should solve your problem in any ways. Hard to find that "lite" db.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    3,662
    Full SQL2K instead of MSDE? You may degrade your workstation if you go that route. Reading MSDE prerequisites definitely gets you closer to performing a successful install.
    "The data in a record depends on the Key to the record, the Whole Key, and
    nothing but the Key, so help me Codd."

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