Failing SQL 2005 cluster installation because of amount processors


You come to work and set your mind to start installing your new SQL 2005 64-bit cluster. You’ve prepared your servers with the installation of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition 64-bit, created all the right users and groups, all the IP addresses are available and all the needed disks are already created. There is a little more to it like names for virtual servers but that’s outside of the scope of this article.

The problem

All the settings for the installation are made and the installation starts. The entire installation goes right but at the very end it gives the following error:

SQL 2005 error

Not a real clear error but still an error. Clicking the retry-button doesn’t help so “Cancel” is your only option. The installation rolls back and you’ve lost about a 45 minutes of your time monitoring a failed installation.

Let’s go back to the configuration of the cluster node. The node has the following hardware (not every item of hardware is listed only those that could affect the installation):

  • DL 580 G5
  • 34 GB memory
  • 4 x Intel Xeon E7450 (6 core) CPU
  • Several logical disks

Both nodes for the cluster have the same hardware specifications.

I started puzzling over what could be the problem. Did I use the wrong settings for the installation? The log files didn’t give me any direction as to where the problem could be; they only showed that the installation stopped at starting the services.

In a desperate attempt to fix things, I tried to do the installation again but the same error occurred at the same point. What to do now?

The solution

Google wasn’t my friend in this situation because I couldn’t find anything related to this problem. Than I remembered an article about the fact that SQL Server 2005 has trouble with processors that have an uneven number of cores in the CPU. I have an even number of cores, but I could at least try it because I wasn’t going to solve my problem by looking at my screen.

I started searching the Microsoft articles and found the following page:

I started up the “Systems Configuration Utility” through Start->Run->msconfig. Set the “/NUMPROC” to 2 in the “Advanced Options” in the “BOOT.INI” tab and restarted the server.

I started the installation of SQL 2005 and guess what, the installation went perfect, just like it should. A little slower than normal, but I got the SQL cluster installed.

You’re probably thinking “I’m not going to use 2 cores if I have a lot more of them”. This problem is resolved in service pack 2 for SQL Server 2005 (at the time of this writing Service Pack 3 has been released).

After SQL Server 2005 was installed and the server restarted, I installed Service Pack 3 and undid the settings I had made in the “Systems Configuration Utility”. I restarted the server and everything worked like a charm.

If you have trouble installing your service pack 3 in your clustered environment you can probably fix this by reading my other article “Prepare SQL Server 2005 in a clustered environment for SP3“.

The entire process took me a lot of time because the installation errors weren’t unveiling what the exact problem was. I hope that others won’t have this problem with this information.

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