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Server Upgrade methodology questions

I am doing a server replacement on a sbs 2003 box. They are just replacing the physical server with a better, faster one. I have done several of these types of upgrades. One time I used Microsoft's migration plan to go from one physical server to another. Another time I used Jeff Middleton's "swing Migration" method with horrible results. The third time I just built the new server from scratch and restored the data (no exchange involved) but had to touch every workstation as the sid's changed. What is the best method to use? I would like to keep the same server and domain name if possible, although I'm not sure if that's recommended. One other question I have is if I build the new server from scratch and restore everything. How do I restore the exchange database and AD, can I simply do it through the backup restore or are there special methods for this? I know this is a lot. I just need some direction on how to go.
thanks
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williamstechnologygroup
Asked:
williamstechnologygroup
1 Solution
 
ormerodrutterCommented:
Hope these helps you to start with
http://msmvps.com/blogs/OBTS/archive/2005/03/12/38321.aspx
You can also look at Swing Migration
http://www.sbsmigration.com/
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
There are really only FOUR methods to migrate SBS to new hardware.  I've outlined them in this question:
http:Q_22008948.html

As you'll see, I do recommend the Swing Migration method, and if you had horrible results I would ask you what went wrong because it's really the most complete and safest method to migrate.

You cannot simply backup and restore the Exchange Database, that's why the Swing Migration method is necessary.  Your newly built server would have completely different SIDs and other domain identifiers which are randomly generated by the OS.  You can back up mailboxes with EXMerge as I point out in Option 2 at the link above.  But if you have more than 8 or 10 workstations, that method is much more work than a Swing Migration.  Because you would also have to remove all workstations from the old domain and rejoin them to the new one. (even if it's named the same).

One other note... if your current SBS license is OEM you cannot move it to a new machine.  You would be required to buy a new license.  The CALs, however, are transferable.

Jeff
TechSoEasy



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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I would suggest you use the Swing Migration and in turn do it on a TEST SYSTEM first.  You're the first person I've heard of who's had a problem with it - everyone else swears by it - suggesting that EITHER you didn't do something the way you were supposed to, or there was some significant problem with the existing SBS install.
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williamstechnologygroupAuthor Commented:
In the SBS swing migration documentation, Jeff gives 2 options for migrating the exchange database over. In your experiences, which would you say would be the preferable (easiest) method??
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
As far as I know, the documentation actually offers 3 options; Forklift, LegacyDN, or EXMerge.

The option you choose would really depend on the current Exchange Database structure.  Are Public Folders heavily used?  Do users have a lot of rules and delagations?  Are you using the POP3 Connector?  

Each of these elements will have a different bearing on your decision as to what's "easiest".

Jeff
TechSoEasy



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williamstechnologygroupAuthor Commented:
The exchange database is quite simple. There is one user who has a rather large pst file with lots of calendar items and contacts, but otherwise a pretty basic exchange setup. Would exmerge be the best in this scenario?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
.pst files are not part of the Exchange Database, so that wouldn't really affect your migration at all.  Otherwise, what you refer to as a "pretty basic exchange setup" could be quite different than what I would consider as "basic".

I did ask you a few specific questions above though... so if you want to respond to those directly I may be able to give you a bit more help with this.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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williamstechnologygroupAuthor Commented:
I apologize for using the term pst, I know that in the exchange database system this is not relevant. I just refer to each users mailbox/database as pst.
TO answer your questions:
1. Are Public Folders heavily used?  NO
2. Do users have a lot of rules and delagations?  NO, the owner does have delegations to 3 office staff to view his calendar. He does have a huge service calandar that is being housed in his mailbox calendar that we eventually want to get moved to a public calendar. There are about a dozen people who have proxy rights to view it.
3. Are you using the POP3 Connector?  NO

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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Yeah... it's important to be specific when talking about things like this, especially in a forum such as this if you want to get an answer that actually addresses your situation.

Now that you've provided that additional info it sounds like you can use EXMerge which WILL export the mailboxes into .pst files and then it will import them back into your newly installed Exchange server.  EXMerge does export folder permisssions and rules so it should handle the delegate permissions fine.  If it doesn't retain the permissions (ie, due to misconfiguration or file corruption) there doesn't seem like too much that you'd have to restore manually anyhow.

More details on EXMerge are at http://sbsurl.com/exmerge

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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williamstechnologygroupAuthor Commented:
HI Jeff,
OK, I'm confused. You stated:
"You cannot simply backup and restore the Exchange Database, that's why the Swing Migration method is necessary.  Your newly built server would have completely different SIDs and other domain identifiers which are randomly generated by the OS".  
If this is the case, what happens when your server crashes and you have to built it completely from scratch or use new hardware. Are you saying that the backups that you do for data and exchange in the SBS/NT backup utility will not allow you to restore their exchange system/mailboxes to a new server? This is very disturbing to me. Can you please clarify... Thanks
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
No, that's a very different scenario... you wouldn't have new SIDs if you restored the System State.

If you read through the SBS Backup Guide:  http://sbsurl.com/backup you'll see that restoring to different hardware isn't supported.  

But your comment, "what happens when your server crashes and you have to built it completely from scratch or use new hardware" is a bit of a stretch... a server doesn't crash to the point of having to build it completely from scratch.  It can, however,  burn in a fire or be destroyed from a flood... those are real issues.  In these cases, you would want to first try to restore to "similar hardware" as described in that guide.  In the case that's not available, you can generally force a restore by doing the full restore procedure and then doing a repair installation on top of that.

Of course, if that didn't work, you would be in the same position you are in now.

The  alternative is to use an imaging backup solution such as Acronis True Image Server with Universal Restore.  I often recommend that as well as SonicWall's new CDP appliance which is powered by Acronis.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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williamstechnologygroupAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the explanation Jeff.
I guess the most common scenario I keep running into is clients with 4-5 year old hardware that are looking to replace it with new hardware. In these cases I can't really use their NT backups for Exchange and AD. I have one client who has a very unstable sbs server right now. If that server were to fail (hardware or software wise), I would have to rebuild the old server first, restore the data to it and then do an exmerge to get the exchange database over to the new hardware. OR as you stated I could try to force a restore by doing the full restore procedure and then doing a repair installation on top of that on the new hardware (?)
Is this correct?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
My very first comment to your initial question suggested that you review the four options I've outlined:
http:Q_22008948.html

Of course those would be for a "planned" migration.  If you think the hardware is unstable, then you need to PLAN the migration rather than waiting for it to fail.  

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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williamstechnologygroupAuthor Commented:
But if it DOES fail before I migrate and my final goal is to have new hardware. The procedure would be rebuild the old server first, restore the data to it and then do an exmerge to get the exchange database over to the new hardware. OR as you stated I could try to force a restore by doing the full restore procedure and then doing a repair installation on top of that on the new hardware (?)
I just want to make sure I have this straight in my mind in case it would happen
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
If it were me, and I was feeling as though things might fail, I'd image the server with Acronis.  The trial version is fully operational... so at the very least you can restore an image to any other machine and then restore a current backup to that.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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