We have about eighty or so SQL 2005 instances running in our shop. Up until last week we had zero problems installing SQL 2005 on any of these instances. That all changed last week, when we were greeted with this error message:

The SQL Server service failed to start. For more information, see the SQL Server Books Online topics, “How to: View SQL Server 2005 Setup Log Files” and “Starting SQL Server Manually.”

To confuse us even more, the SSAS piece of the install had completed without any problem. We were dumbfounded. Since we had our streak of successful install snapped, my first thought was “what is different”? We checked to verify that we were using the right version (x64), we checked to verify that the server was connected to the domain, we checked for lots of things. We checked with the server team and asked them “what is different?” They had no immediate answer, so we kept poking around and finally the server team rebuilt the box, we tried the install again, and it failed.

And then, today, I see our team is asked to try again, and this time the instance was installed without any problems. So, what was the issue? Well, check out this KB. Apparently, there is an issue with the SQL 2005 install on a server with a multicore processor if the ratio of logical processors to physical sockets is not a multiple of two. Luckily this was fixed in SQL 2005 SP1…well, actually, that is not lucky, because I need to install SQL 2005 before I can apply SP1.

The fun never ends!