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Posted Mar 19, 2007

Black Belt Administration: Performance Dashboard for Microsoft SQL Server, Part I - Page 2

By William Pearson

Installing Performance Dashboard for Microsoft SQL Server

As we shall see in the Preparation section of our installation procedure, minimal (but important) system requirements must be met for installing and using Performance Dashboard Reports. We will touch upon these, and illuminate some of the unclear points in the rather sketchy documentation that accompanies the report pack, in the steps of the installation that we undertake below.

Consisting of a set of .rdl files, a setup script (.sql), and a help file, there are not many decisions to be made or other “showstopper” considerations, beyond the basic system requirements. One thing to think through is the location where we wish to store the report and help files – we have great flexibility here, beyond the requirement that the .rdl files must reside in the same directory. (As we have already noted, we are not required to have Reporting Services running on the server involved.)

There are numerous recommendations, surrounding deployment and maintenance in the provided help file (PerfDash.chm) that bear noting, not just for the installation and use of the Performance Dashboard Reports, but for the use of Custom Reports in general, among other items to place in a growing “best practices” file. Examples include a suggestion that we create shares to contain the enterprise’s Custom Reports. Moreover, the suggestion is offered that we set up a subdirectory within the shared Custom Reports directory to specifically house the Performance Dashboard Reports files, so as to avoid name collisions with any other Custom Reports that we may install later. (We perform our installation in a manner that complies with these suggestions in the procedural section that follows). Other pointers and information, such as tips for easily finding and accessing the primary dashboard report, after first opening it as a Custom Report, are included, as well, in Part II.

We will perform our practice session from inside the MSSQL Server Management Studio. For more exposure to the Management Studio itself, and the myriad design, development and other evolutions we can perform within this powerful interface, see other articles in this series, as well as within my Database Journal series Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services. In this article, we will be commenting only on the features relevant to our immediate practice exercise, to allow us to keep to the focus of the article more efficiently.

Preparation: Download and Run the Installation File for SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboard Reports

The installation file for the Performance Dashboard Reports can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center.

1.  Download the installation package (SQLServer2005_PerformanceDashboard.msi) from the Download Center to a convenient location on the server / network, as shown in Illustration 1.

Illustration 1: Download the Installation Package to a Convenient Location ...

2.  Once the file is downloaded, right click the file in Windows Explorer.

3.  Select Install from the context menu that appears, as depicted in Illustration 2.

Illustration 2: Installing the Performance Dashboard Files

4.  Click Run on the Open File – Security Warning dialog that appears next, as shown in Illustration 3.

Illustration 3: Running the Installation ...

5.  Click Next on the Welcome page of the Install Wizard for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboard Reports that next appears, as shown in Illustration 4.

Illustration 4: The Welcome Page of the Install Wizard

6.  Read and agree to the terms of the license agreement by clicking the top radio button, before again clicking the Next button, as depicted in Illustration 5.

Illustration 5: License Agreement Page of the Wizard

7.  Complete the information requested in the Registration Information page that appears at this point, and then click the Next button once again, as shown in Illustration 6.

Illustration 6: Complete the Registration Information

8.  On the Feature Selection page that appears next, click the Browse button to the right of the default installation path, which appears below the selection list.

Although we mentioned earlier that it doesn’t matter where we locate the report set, as far as system requirements go (as long as we place them in the same directory), we will follow a best practice outlined in some of the documentation, where Microsoft suggests that we create a subdirectory specifically for the dashboard files – mainly, as we have noted earlier, to help in the avoidance of name collisions with any other Custom Reports that we may install later.  We are placing them within the Custom Reports directory, as well, to support the implementation of another suggested general practice: to create a share which will contain all the enterprise’s Custom Reports. (If you have a more convenient / preferable place to put them within the context of your local environment, please do so in the following steps).

9.  When the Change Current Destination Folder dialog opens, navigate to the SQL Server Management Studio folder (it is in a default path similar to the following: C:\Documents and Settings\WEP3\My Documents\SQL Server Management Studio.

10.  Double-click the Custom Reports folder that appears, as depicted in Illustration 7.

Illustration 7: Navigating into the Custom Reports Folder

11.  Once inside the Custom Reports folder, click the Create New Folder button to the right of the selector labeled Look in, atop the Change Current Destination Folder dialog, shown circled in Illustration 8.

Illustration 8: Click the Create New Folder Button ...

12.  Type the following into the caption field of the newly created folder (currently titled New Folder):

Performance Dashboard

The Change Current Destination Folder dialog appears, with the newly created folder, as depicted in Illustration 9.

Illustration 9: The Change Current Destination Folder with New Destination Folder ...

13.  Click OK to accept the newly assigned folder, and to dismiss the Change Current Destination Folder dialog.

14.  On the Feature Selection page, to which we are once again returned, click the icon (labeled Performance Dashboard, with the downward pointing arrow) to reveal the selector list.

15.  Select This feature, and all subfeatures, will be installed on local hard drive, via the right dropdown arrow, within the selection list of the page, as shown in Illustration 10.

Illustration 10: Feature Selection Setting ...

16.  Click Next to save our input and continue.

We arrive at the Ready to Install the Program page of the Setup Wizard.

17.  Click Install to begin installation, as depicted in Illustration 11.

Illustration 11: Ready to Install the Program Page ...

Installation begins, and then the Completing the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboards Setup page appears, as shown in Illustration 12.

Illustration 12: Completing the Performance Dashboards Setup Page ...

18.  Click Finish.

The Setup Wizard concludes and closes. The Performance Dashboard Reports set, along with the other files that we mentioned earlier, have been placed in the subdirectory we have dictated, but a few steps remain to put the report pack into action. We will take those steps from within MSSQL Server Management Studio in the section that follows.

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