Slipstreaming SQL Server 2008 SP1

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Service pack 1 for SQL Server 2008 was released just a couple of days ago (07-Apr-09), eight months after the RTM. As exciting as it is, I did not want to put up just an ‘SP1 Released’ post, since it may seem a little too ambiguous and also since I had already done it on the ‘Universe‘…
One feature of this service pack is that it allows for administrators to slipstream it into the main product, hence when new SQL Server 2008 installations are required, they could just install it along with SP1 in one go. This obviously saves time and money. Put that together with the fact that many people haven’t gone ahead with SQL Server 2008 yet; you’ll have a lot of happy administrators when their organizations finally decide to go ahead with implementing SQL Server 2008.
I just tried creating my own slipstreamed SQL Server 2008 with SP1 drop (following these steps), coupling in the latest version of Books Online as well. The only issue was that the final size of the entire folder was more than 5GB, which requires me to compress it if I need to burn it onto a DVD. Isn’t it nice, when things just (almost) work…?

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To get Certified, or Not to get Certified

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Being technically certified is something that all of us (or at least most of us) would love to be. But, getting there is certainly a little bit more practical than wishing it were so. Surprisingly getting oneself technically certified is not a elephantine task as most of us think. It obviously requires some effort alright, but most of us (me included in the not so distant past) always like to put it away for next month. I have successfully put away my certification exams for next month, only to realize that it it had actually gone beyond an year. And not just once, but twice. And the best part of it was, that I started giving myself excuses; It’s only been a couple of months since the last exam, I’ll do it next month. Darn! Too much work at office, I’ll do it next month. I have this and that to do this month, I’ll do it next month.
The second time it happened, it really hurt. Who was I fooling? And what was I trying to prove pushing back the exams?
See, the first time I did my certification (SQL Server 2005 MCTS) after an year of pushing back was when I got a free voucher from Merill. And it was to expire in a little more than a week. And I had to use it. Use it, i did and got through. Then the pushing back came again, and it was worse this time – 19 months. Then I received a couple of free vouchers for SQL Server 2008 beta MCTSs and some random googling found me more voucher codes published by considerate people for SQL Server 2008 MCITPs, and the thing was all of these were only valid for a month. But heck, I didn’t want to waste even one of them. Used them and got through: Certifications are no more going to be pushed back again.
See, there’s one thing that we Sri Lankans love, and that is getting stuff free or for a discount. I could even be a little bolder and extend this statement to include Asians as well. So, if something valuable (yes 50 USDs is quite valuable to a lot of folk) comes along free or with a discount it is really worth it.
What I am really trying to say is, guys, there are offers that keep coming up from time to time, where you could get discounts or free vouchers to do your certifications. Grab these opportunities and get it done with, and keep going. Don’t set deadlines too far off. Don’t give yourselves excuses for doing it next month. You never know how your certification will help you push yourself that extra bit in your career. Even if you have to pay for your certification in full, get it done with…

It also happens that I have 10% discount vouchers with free second shot available until April 30, 2009. These vouchers can be used to do any MCTS, MCITP or MCPD exams before May 31, 2009. If anyone is interested mail me at gogulaa[at]gmail.com, and I shall be happy to send you your voucher. This offer is only valid for exams taken in Sri Lanka. If you are from another country, you could try contacting an MVP from there and maybe he/she will be able to help you out.
Disclaimer: No, the above article is not an advertisment to lure you into requesting vouchers. 🙂