SharePoint 2003 and SQL2005

In the past month or so several customers have asked about the use of SQL 2005 with SharePoint 2003.  Some of the typical questions and the corresponding answers are captured below:

1. Does SharePoint support SQL 2005?  Yes, both WSS and SPS support SQL 2005 with Service Pack 2.

2. Are there any performance advantages of upgrading to SQL 2005?  Yes, check out the results.

3. Can I install SQL 2005 initially or do I have to upgrade to SQL 2005?  You will need to install SPS with SQL 2000, apply SP2 and then upgrade the database.

4. What is the process for upgrading? If you are upgrading from WMSDE, detailed instructions are provided here.  You can also find detailed instructions in the WSS SP2 Admin Guide.  Personally, I have found a more detailed summary given here.

5. Any watchouts or gotchas?  Make sure the SQL services are running as a Local System and not a Domain account or you will need to set up an SPN.  Also make sure the DBO of the databases is the same as the SharePoint Admin App Pool account.  You may also encounter difficulty creating databases so make sure you enable TCP/IP.

6. Do I have to create an SPN?  The short answer is that you have to create an SPN if the SQL 2005 service is running as a Domain account or if you are using Kerberos when extending the SPS virtual server.  Keep in mind that when you apply SP2 that Kerberos becomes the default instead of NTLM (the pre-SP2 default).

For those interested in understanding more about Kerberos, check out "How to configure a Windows SharePoint Services virtual server to use Kerberos authentication and how to switch from Kerberos authentication back to NTLM authentication" and  "Exploring Kerberos, the Protocol for Distributed Security in Windows 2000".

I know it doesn't need to be said so I will say it: practice the upgrade in a test environment before upgrading production.  Happy upgrading........