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SBS Migration to Windows 2003 - have extra hardware.

Posted on 2006-04-06
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I have a client with two VERY poorly configured servers.  They are running out of room, everything is on the "C" drives with no other partitions; it's just a big mess.  They want to move to a regular 2003 domain.  One server is running SBS2003 with Exchange and houses *everything.*  For some reason, the last consultant also added a Windows 2003 Std Member server which is honestly doing nothing.  I need to eventually wipe THIS server too as only one partition is defined, and the RAID cage is full already.

What I would like to do is eventually end up with the SBS server being Windows 2003 Standard.  I would also like to erase and reinstall the second server simply due to it's configuration.  I want to do this while keeping the domain/etc if it's possible.  If not, I'll just exmerge the Exchange data to NAS, dump the AD list, and redo everything.  I'd obviously rather not do this!

Can anyone suggest the best way to perform this migration?
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Question by:wylde342
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16397298
So, are you saying that you also have a separate Exchange Server license as well as standard Server 2003 CALs?

How many users are on this network?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:wylde342
ID: 16397312
I don't have the licensing yet.  They are a not for profit so licensing isn't a big deal as they get ABSURD discounts from MSFT.

There are about 30 users; give or take a couple.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16397450
Even with the "ABSURD" licensing discounts you are still talking about hundreds of dollars in licensing costs for 30 users -- even if they get some of it free through http://techsoup.org. I work with some non-profits so I'm familiar with the pricing in that area.  Making your SBS into a Standard Server 2003 would require getting the Transition Pack and aquiring 30 new Server 2003 CORE CALs.  Plus all of your time to reconfigure, etc.

My guess is that you or they want to move from SBS because of unfamiliarity with the product.  I'm also guessing that the initial consultant wasn't familiar with it either which may be the cause for its current state.

30 users is generally an IDEAL situation for SBS.  Especailly if they do not anticipate growing beyond 75 users in the next two years.  There are features that SBS has which are unavailable with standard servers, such as built-in monitoring.

Properly deployed on appropriate equipment, SBS will provide the most stable, productive and secure environment for a small organization.  Going to separate servers will ultimately cost them a lot more in maintenance and upkeep (which may be good for you, but is not good for your client).

Take a look at this blog post from today to see what I mean about "knowing SBS":
http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2006/04/06/89609.aspx

Before you go off creating something that will ultimately cost them more -- you really should consider keeping them with SBS, but either learning about it yourself or finding a  partner who understands the product enough to help you out.

You can find out more about SBS here:  http://sbsurl.com/techguide
And an overview for IT Professionals is here:  http://sbsurl.com/itpro

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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Author Comment

by:wylde342
ID: 16397476
Jeff,

Thanks for the ideas.  I was hired for this purpose, so that's what I have to do.  This is my first engagement with this client and I don't really want to go in and tell them that what they hired me for isn't what "I'd do" or anything like that. I was just looking for an easy way to accomplish it.  Believe me, I know it's going to be a pain, but the client has hired me to do this.

I appreciate your response.  If there's any way to accomplish what I need to while keeping the domain intact, I'd really appreciate your/anyone's help.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16397629
There is a way to accomplish what you want, it's the Transition Pack (http://sbsurl.com/transition).

It is a shame though, that you are not considering what I've said and feel that your client knows more than you about what the right technology solution should be.  Perhaps they do?  But since this is your first engagement with them, I'd certainly be suggesting that before they spend a ton of money with you that they review their options.... because what they are asking you to do will cost them plenty over time even if this is your ONLY engagement with them.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:wylde342
ID: 16397652
Can you suggest a way then to rebuild/redeploy the SBS solution?  Please keep in mind, both servers only have "C" drives which is a joke.  If I could rebuild the SBS server from scratch and redeploy the solution, it might be better for the client.  In other words, I need to copy everything off, rebuild the server, and then redeploy it with correct partitioning/etc.



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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16397689
Can you give me an overview of the specs of each server?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:wylde342
ID: 16397726
SBS Server:  3.2Ghz XEON, 1Gb Ram, 65gigs space
2003 Server:  same as above

Do you need anything else?  Both have HP internal RAID.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 2000 total points
ID: 16398128
Well, that should be good for an SBS machine with 30 users.  You may want to increase the server to 2GB of RAM, but I'd say the hardware is sufficient.

First, let's look at why there was a second server:
The separate Server 2003 could have been deployed to enable Terminal Services in Application Mode, which isn't available on an SBS... if Terminal Services is needed at all.  (SBS offers Remote Web Workplace to allow users to work on their desktop machines remotely -- so Terminal Services would only be needed for those people wanting to work remotely that don't have a workstation in the office).  The extra Server 2003 can also be a Domain Controller to assist in that role.

So, how to fix?  I'd recommend that you swing the SBS over to the other machine if they are both similar.  The methodology for this can be found at http://sbsmigration.com.  They will provide you with complete documentation and planning tools to make this work.  You can then reinstall Server 2003 on the first machine if you need Terminal Services, or if they have another shared application.  

Information on how to add a second server to an SBS Network is here:  http://sbsurl.com/addserver

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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by:wylde342
ID: 16399294
Jeff,

You are as complete as can be; points.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16405338
Thanks... good luck!

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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