What is available to us through those links? Have you taken the time to explore and identify what could be useful to you?
One of many gems that has come to my attention is the possibility of provisioning SQL Server to work in an image based environment (hint: Virtualization Template perhaps?!?).
Planning: Includes requirements information, documentation, how to guides, online documentation installation and other tools. Among the other tools you will find the System Configuration checker and The Upgrade Advisor. Both tools very important to ensure your deployment and installation would be successful.
Installation: This sections focuses on getting installations going, from standalone to cluster when it comes to new instances. Add new nodes to an existing cluster, and also perform upgrades (in this case to SQL Server 2008 R2). Also part of this is the option to find updates available.
Maintenance: We find in this section, options that will assist us in tasks like repairing corrupt installations to removing nodes from a cluster. An option that is interesting (and we should discuss benefits later in another post) is to be able to do an Edition Upgrade, this is a feature expansion and addition based on your product installation (Developer to Enterprise, for example)
Tools: From the System Configuration Checker to identify readiness for deployment in a successful manner, to being able to report on features installed. And being able to run upgrades of existing packages developed in the 2005 offering to the 2008 R2 release for SSIS.
Resources: Useful and essential links to gather information and guidance.
Advanced: Here is where it gets interesting. I break this down into 3 main groups:
Installation Automation: When you install SQL Server there is a configuration file that gets dropped (ConfigurationFile.ini) that would allow for you to perform automated installations. There are switches and options that go with this to have that process working.
Cluster configuration for Sysprep: Create images that are cluster ready, 2 options, start the prep work, and then the complete once at the final destination.
Stand-alone configuration for Sysprep: Like the clustering counterpart, 2 options, prep and complete. Giving you the option to create standard templates for your SQL Server deployments.
I find it fitting that the 3 topics listed here should (and will) be additional topics I will discuss.
Options: Very clear and specific about what this means. Select the Processor Type or the Installation Media Root Path.