SQL Clone 5

Getting Ready for SQL Clone

Regardless of whether you're doing a 1-box installation, for evaluation purposes, or a full multiple-server network installation, there are only two stages to the SQL Clone installation process, the first being to install SQL Clone Server, and the second being to install one or more SQL Clone Agents. When you're ready to start creating images and clones, you will also need to supply the address of the file share where you'll store the image files, so you'll need to have set this up beforehand.

This section provides a "requirements checklist" and then walks through the preparatory steps that will help you check each box and ensure a smooth installation process.

Full Requirements list

Please also review the Requirements section for fuller details of the underlying hardware and software specs for SQL Clone Server, for any machines hosting SQL Clone Agents, as well as browser requirements.

Requirements Checklist

  • Windows Server for running SQL Clone Server – this is where you will install the SQL Clone application
  • SQL Clone license details – you'll need your Redgate ID and password, and license key
  • SQL Clone Configuration database details – you'll need to supply the location of the SQL Server instance where you created it, or where SQL Clone can create it during installation
  • SQL Clone Server service account– you'll need to supply its credentials and it should have the db_owner and CREATE ANY DATABASE permission on the SQL Server instance for the configuration database (See 1.3 for more detail)
  • Your Windows credentials – to authenticate yourself to SQL Clone Server. 
  • SQL Clone Agent service account details – on any machine that will participate in the SQL Clone service, you'll need to install an Agent and supply credentials for the service account that will run it
  • File Share set up – this is where, initially at least, you'll store image files. Every Agent will need access to it, and you'll need to know its UNC path

1 Preparing to install SQL Clone Server

1.1 Windows Server for running SQL Clone Server

This Server should be running Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8.1, or later versions. If you're doing a 1-box install, it is still useful to choose a SQL Clone Server that would be suitable for a real roll-out and is visible on the network to all machines that will host SQL Clone Agents. Otherwise, you can either move it to a new location when you're ready, or just reinstall from scratch.

1.2 SQL Clone license details

When you start the installation of SQL Clone application, one of the first steps is to supply your Redgate ID and password, and enter you license key details. See the Licensing section for full details. This should be very straightforward. The only possible preparatory step, since this is a server installation, is to set up a rule on your default browser that allows the server to contact redgate.com for license information. 

1.3. Create an account to run 'SQL Clone Server' service

On SQL Clone Server:

  1. If you are in a Windows domain, create a domain account. If not, create a local user.
  2. Assign to it the CREATE ANY DATABASE permission so SQL Clone can create the configuration database for you – You also have the option to create it yourself (see 1.4.2) and avoid giving this permission to this service account

1.4 SQL Clone configuration database details

The SQL Clone configuration database (SQLCLone_Config) is an important database that SQL Clone Server uses to keep track of all installed images and clones and their status. Ideally, you will backup this database regularly. SQL Clone Server's service account (see 1.3) will, for course,  need to be able to manage the SQL Clone configuration database. It doesn't touch any other database, or any file; everything else is done by Agents. Choose the SQL Server instance that will host it. You can create it locally to the SQL Clone Server service, or an instance running on a server attached to the network.

  1. Install the instance, if required.
    A stand-alone local SQL Server instance, Standard or Enterprise Editions, version 2012 R2 or later, would seem a good option. However, SQL Server Express is an option if you don't have another instance.
  2. Make it a member of the db_owner fixed database role, on the SQL Server instance hosting the configuration database
  3. Create the configuration database (optional)
    SQL Clone can create this as part of the installation. It will call it SQLClone_Config and will create the files at the default location and with default file size and growth settings.
    If you want to create it yourself, name it SQLClone_Config and you won't need to grant to the SQL Clone Server Service account the CREATE ANY DATABASE permission (see 1.3.3)

1.5 Windows Credentials

Once you've checked the boxes for the previous four stages (1.1-1.4) you can, if you wish, Install SQL Clone on your chosen server (1.1). At the final stage of this process, you'll need to supply your Windows account credentials to authenticate to SQL Clone Server.

If successful, SQL Clone Server will serve the Clone Browser-based application and you can proceed to stage 2.

2 Preparing to install SQL Clone Agents

You will need to create an account to run the SQL Clone Agent Service on any machine hosting a SQL Server instance that will be used to either take an image of a database or create a clone from an image, or both. The same Agent will perform both tasks.

  1. Create a Windows domain account that is a local administrator on the machine. If you are not in a Windows domain, create a local admin user.
  2. Make the account a member of sysadmin fixed server role on the local SQL Server instance

For an explanation of why Agent accounts require such privileges, see How SQL Clone Agents Work.

Once you've completed this step, you're ready to download install your first Agent, either an Agent to create an image, or an Agent to create a clone or one that will perform both actions (each machine only needs one Agent).

3. Configure the initial file share

This is where you'll store images. After the initial install, you can create as many other subsequent file shares as you need. Any file share must be visible to the SQL Clone Agents on any on machines hosting SQL Server instances on which you want to create images or clones. The SQL Clone Agent that writes the image needs to be able to write to this network location to provide the VHD image, and only these Agents should be allowed access to any file share.

  1. Set up the shared folder (for a quick reminder, see here)
  2. Grant read-write access only to the SQL Clone Agent account(s) you created in step 2 – then add Agent accounts as you create them.

If you did not use a Windows domain account to install SQL Clone (see 1.4) then the only restriction is that you need to store images on a file share on the same server.

Once this is all set up, after a check of the requirements section, you ready for the installation!

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