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Migrate file server to a different named server

Posted on 2007-07-30
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-05
I need to migrate a file server. We are running Windows Server 2000 Standard on our main file server. I would like to migrate this to a new 2003 file server. I was hoping to keep the old server on the domain incase there are any problems during the migration.

What is the best way to migrate a file server to a different server without affecting the users. I think there are some re direction tools out there just for these purposes, but was hoping someone with some real world experience might be able to lend some insight.
Question by:Atomic75
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 19593667
That should not be a problem. I assume the new machine will not be an additional domain controller? the best way to copy the data from one machine to the other would be to back-up the data with Windows backup and then restore it to the other machine. This will preserve all permissions.

You can copy data and preserve NTFS permissions with XCOPY and ROBOCOPY but these do not deal with share permissions and cannot cope with open files.

There is nothing to stop you copying the data and them renaming the servers.
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

inbarasan earned 1000 total points
ID: 19593698
Better way to deal this is to take the backup using Ntbackup to a file and restore the same to the new server. This way the process of copying files will be fast and also your ACL's will be intact. You just need to create the Share and share permissions.

I use to do the same way. It works perfectly fine. Hope this helps

LVL 13

Assisted Solution

ScooterAnderson earned 1000 total points
ID: 19593858
Good recommendations above.  Just an addition - if you've got a bunch of data and it'll take a long time to move all the data, you can grab pieces of the data partition, based on the share  points you have...

Rough plan:
1.  On ServerA, rRun "net share" from the cmd prompt.  This will list all the shares and folders that are linked to the shares.
2.  Figure out file sizes underneath each share, and backup part of the folder structure that you want to migrate first.
3.  Restore to ServerB.
4.  Unshare the share that you backed up on ServerA, leaving the old files there for a "fallback" position.
5.  Share out the data on ServerB.
6.  Tweek your logon scripts to reflect the change of the sharename (from \\serverA\share   to \\serverB\share).
7.  Repeat until you have all the data migrated.

Good Luck!
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Author Comment

ID: 19595694
That is all really good advice thanks.

I did have a question regarding a DFS server. I am tryingt to avoid going to every users PC and remap drives, and there are many programs that reference UNC paths on this server. I did find the Microsoft File Server Migration Toolkit. Has anyone used this before, did it work?

Author Comment

ID: 19596474
Some additional information. I am told there are a few programs and links pertaining to this file server that are quite difficult to change. We would really like to use a new server name and have the old UNC paths point to the new locations.

What I am reading on Microsoft's File Server Migration Toolkit seems to be helpful and usefu, has anyone tried it?
If not, then what would be the best method for using a new server name without having to change login scripts or programs? If I were to use the tool kit then i see the steps looking something like the following:
1. Backup server A (using Microsoft backup)
2. Configure DFS root server on Server B
3. Stop sharing on Server A
4. Restore files and shares from backup tape
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 19596624
Why not create a login script that automatically maps drives when the client logs on.

Say mapped drive F points to your HR folder or whatever.  When you change servers all you need to do is update the login script.

Fig 1
@Echo Off

REM **** Map Network Drives
net use u: \\Servername\users
net use s: \\Servername\shared
net use m: \\Servername\mis
net use q: \\Servername\acctg
net use x: \\Servername\hr

Author Comment

ID: 19602794
And change programs and links. I was hoping to avoid having to go in and change all programs that reference the server UNC name..
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 19602828
Th problem with DFS from what I have read is that it changes the name say from \\server1\share to domainname-DFSnamespace\share so if you set up DFS you will still have the issue with your existing programs.

There are articles on how to bring the new machine online and let all active directory update then bring the old machine down and change the name.
You could also do backups of the old machine bring it down, bring the new machine up with the same name and then do a restore of all the old data.  
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 19602879
Hmmm... that would be a little problematic.  To make that work you would need to do a "one-shot" migration of data from the old server to the new server, down the old server (permanently) and then edit your AD DNS to point the "old server" DNS name to the new server's IP address.  That would, in essence, keep your UNC references relevant and functional without having to edit them...  Definately test this before implementing, though...

Author Comment

ID: 19604135
Our initial plan was to do just as Scooter said, but it seemed rather risky. We are a little worried about losing some of the share and permissions and object authorities if we encounter any problems. I know the backup is supposed to save that information, but once we take the old server off the domian we can no longer refernce that server tor file share and permission information.

I was under the impression DFS was designed so that you can replace a server or consolidate many servers onto one and it will have no affect on users and there is no need to re-do drive mappings. I am not familiar with DFS and am trying to read up on it as much as I can. If we really do have to redo log in scripts and change the path all the users go to access their data than DFS does not help me in the slightest. If that is the case than I don't really see the point in utilizing DFS at all to be honest.

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