Upgrading SQL Server Enterprise Evaluation Edition to Enterprise

Are you near to completing or have finished 180 trial period with your Sql server evaluation edition and would like to own the full corresponding edition of the product;

If yes then you are probably concerned if there is going to be too much work involved, then read this carefully. This upgrade has never been so easy; you will not need to do anything but run one command to upgrade the edition from an evaluation edition to fully licensed edition. Firstly acquire a licensed copy from your Infrastructure team and get the key or PID for the SQL Server.

Obviously, as a DBA just like any other upgrade you will need to work your upgrade preparation (if you are working on your own machine or a lab, you might not worry about a certain aspects such as impact and communication to business; but I strongly recommend you follow the normal procedure a proactive DBA should follow to run through the upgrade smoothly) i.e.,

Read the pulse of your system and make sure you are able to hold the calmest time of your business; now most often with the nature of the businesses (thriving 24/7 now a days) you might not find this calmest period at all; Which is fine, but that means you will need to work with the business to communicate and agree on your upgrade window. Though you would NOT need to restart the Sql service manually, PLEASE bear in mind the upgrade process requires to restart the Sql services. Make sure you communicate this to the business.

Communicate to business what you are going to do and that this is not going to be long but you will need a quick downtime; but you might want to agree to a downtime enough to do the upgrade and do post upgrade check before declaring fit to use. I cannot stress this enough.

Make sure there are no maintenance and no other scheduled tasks scheduled for the time you are planning upgrade. If there are then you might want to shuffle the jobs to later or prior to upgrade. There might be other processes or teams that might be relying on certain jobs or data such as ETL jobs for reporting to complete for the BI or management; or some other dependent process(es) relying on the databases. This is where it gets a bit tricky, you will need to communicate and agree with the teams and management of possible delays in getting the data across to them.

Make sure all the business and interrelated processes or product owners  are aware of a small downtime required during the upgrade. It took me 3 mins with my machine for the actual upgrade. (so please be sure to implement this in your test environments to establish a rough estimate of the time required to upgrade as per your infrastructure).

Get hold of the Sql server installation disk(DVD) and copy it locally to the server. Now there are ways you can run the upgrade from, you can use the disk as is, or you might have the software on a shared path; but the preferred way is to copy the software to your server where you are upgrading the Sql server just to eliminate the dependency on the DVD and network failures.

Now the usual bit, take full backups of all system and user databases on the instance you are upgrading. If you have multiple instance on the machine to upgrade. Although you can upgrade all instances in one go specifying /ALLINSTANCES parameter; I recommend you upgrade one instance at a time for simplicity and to be able to control the situation in case of unforeseen issues.

Next send out one Final communication be it an email from you to the business or let the incident manager / Change manager to do this for you; that you are about to push the button. And off you go.

Lets assume you copied the sql server install files to D:\SQL Server\ on your server;

Open the command prompt and browse to D:\ SQL Server\ at C:\>

Here is the command you will need to run to upgrade the edition with the license key or PID; just update the instance name and the pid in the command prompt and hit enter.

D:\SQL Server>Setup.exe /Q /ACTION=editionupgrade 
/IAcceptSQLServerLicenseTerms /Indicateprogress

Please make sure you specify /IAcceptSQLServerLicenseTerms to accept the terms and conditions just like you would do if you were doing a sql server installation through GUI or the upgrade will fail.

And do not forget the /Indicateprogress parameter; to feedback the progress to you; you will surprised the amount of work the setup.exe has to do to simply upgrade the edition or upgrade the product with the key, sounds simple doesn’t it; but no its not simple Sql server does all the hard job for you and lets you stare the black and white screen with loads of lines of feedback for you; which is also available in the setup bootstrap path: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Setup Bootstrap\Log\ stored under a folder named with the time stamp of when the upgrade action happened.

That’s it once this completes you will be running your full edition of the sql server.

Please do not forget the post upgrade tasks i.e., make sure you check setup bootstrap logs to make sure there were no errors in the upgrade process.

Open SSMS and check the properties to confirm sql server edition.

Check sql server errorlogs to confirm there are no issues starting sql server ( you can check the edition here as well) and no issues recovering the databases and that sql server is up and listening to connections.

Check windows application logs to see if there are any errors.

Check all the databases are back online.

Take full backups of the system databases (particularly master database)

Make sure you reschedule the jobs or tasks you had to reshuffle to make way for the downtime.

Finally communicate to the business you are back with the fully licensed Sql server.


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