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Upgrading from a Windows 2003 SBS Domain to a Windows 2003 Standard Domain.

Posted on 2007-11-16
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I need to plan Upgrading from a Windows 2003 SBS Domain to a Windows 2003 Standard Domain. All the documention I can find on Technet and other Forums use the Transition Pack. I don't want to use the Transition Pack. I already setup a Windows 2003 Standard Domain Server and a Global Catalog of the Windows 2003 Small Business Server Active Directory. Can I just migrate the exchange mail users to a new Exchange 2003 or 2007 Server and migrate user home directories, also sharepoint which is another matter, then FDISK the SBS server and make it a Windows 2003 Standard Member Server for data storage.Any real experience and documentation is very needed ?
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Question by:cap7
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tigermatt earned 250 total points
ID: 20299570
You will need to use the transition pack. SBS implements all sorts of changes into all the components installed on it, and the transition pack allows you to "break out" of those lock-downs, if you like.

I'm sure there is a way around it but I certainly wouldn't use it and wouldn't advise it since you will end up with all sorts of issue further down the line. Personally, if I were migrating from an SBS to a 2003 Standard domain I would be performing an entire reinstall across the system (including workstations); from my experience when there's an SBS involved and you are trying to remove it from your system, you will get least problems further down the line if you reinstall everything software-wise.

-tigermatt
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
Hypercat (Deb) earned 250 total points
ID: 20299604
The documentation is providing what most people perceive as an easier way to migrate information without having to re-enter everything.  I have one question, though - what exactly do you mean that you set up a "global catalog of the Windows 2003 Small Business Server Active Directory"?

If you have a very small shop and it's not a lot of work to create new accounts on a new domain, then there's no reason you can't do everything manually. Once you create new user accounts and mailboxes on your new domain, you can migrate the email accounts manually using Exmerge to export the contents of the mailboxes on your SBS server and import into your new Exchange database on the new server, if you're using Exchange 2003.  I'm not sure, but I believe Exmerge may not work with Exchange 2007, but you could still use the PST's and import them directly by opening each new Exchange mailbox in Outlook and using the Outlook import feature.

Moving other file-based information is a fairly straightforward copy operation. However, you have to be sure to configure the shares and permissions properly on your new server so that users will have access to their documents and will not have access to files/folders that they shouldn't.  This needs to be done manually before you copy the information over, as the copied files will inherit whatever permissions are set for the location you copy them to.

Then, to move the client workstations, you have to remove them from the old SBS domain and join them to the new domain, which will also be a manual operation.

As you say, Sharepoint is another matter, and you will need to become familiar with Sharepoint and its databases to do that.  It's probably best to post something in that zone of EE to get expert advice.

As far as the old SBS server - once you have gotten all your data off it, there's no reason (other than hardware concerns, if any) not to wipe it and load Windows 2003 Standard Server.  You'll have to purchase a license for it, of course.

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by:cap7
ID: 20299809
Hypercat,

I setup a new Windows 2003 server as a seconadry DC next to the Windows 2003 SBS Server on the network, then made the Windows 2003 Standard Server a Global catalog of the Windows 2003 SBS Server's AD.  So thats why I ask who needs a tranistion pack ?
Cap
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by:tigermatt
ID: 20299828
When you have an SBS in a domain, the SBS must hold all the FSMO roles and there are various other restrictions, such as the 75 user limit. As I mentioned above, there are many different aspects of an SBS network which aren't standard in a 2003 Standard network. The transition pack allows you to get rid of these restrictions and migrate out to a normal network, although as I've already said I would be reinstalling the entire system and migrating information across to keep things clean, tidy and virtual error free.

-tigermatt
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by:cap7
ID: 20300365
I have an open mind. Why can't I just use FSMO roles on the Windows 2003 Server that's a Global Catalog of the SBS Server?
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 20300496
Because your SBS licensing won't allow it.  I've never actually tried to transfer the FSMO roles, but my guess is that it simply wouldn't let you do so.  If it did, lots of other things in SBS, including Exchange, would stop working.  I'm going to go with tigermatt on this one.  I didn't understand from your OP that your Windows 2003 server was on the same domain as the SBS server.  I thought you were saying that you had created a completely new domain when you installed your Windows 2003 server, separate from the SBS domain.
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by:tigermatt
ID: 20300512
I've never trialled this method, so I can't advise as to what the results will be. SBS deliberately makes changes to Active Directory to make it an SBS setup. I'm sure if the SBS is immediately removed from the domain, then you won't have any issues with it not holding the FSMO roles, but that certainly isn't a recommended, and probably not supported, method of approaching this issue. The correct MS procedure would be to get the transition pack.

As I've already said, I expect there are ways around this which I am not aware of. I certainly wouldn't use it on my own systems and therefore won't advise such methods if I were to come across them.

I suggest you get the transition pack. Any issues you have will be supported in the SBS topic area here on EE. However, if you start playing around with the FSMO roles and moving things around that way and run into an issue, I doubt there will be many experts here on EE that will advise different from "Use the transition pack". Also, if you do run into an issue then realise you do need the transition pack but you have moved FSMO roles and other server roles around, the transition pack may not work correctly and you will have an awful set up to deal with.

If you wish to continue without the transition pack, do so at your own risk. It certainly isn't a recommended approach and other experts will advise similarly.

-tigermatt
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by:tigermatt
ID: 20300522
In fact, reading hypercat's post http:#20300496, I'm not sure where SBS licensing information is stored. If that's in Active Directory then you will have little to no chances of success without using the transition pack.

-tigermatt
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Author Comment

by:cap7
ID: 20300743
I don't understand why it seems so dangerous, someone has to have tried what I'm want to do without the transistion pack, I'm not insane for trying to find away to not use the transistion pack. Is there anybody that has done this out there?
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by:tigermatt
ID: 20300955
>>> I'm not insane for trying to find away to not use the transistion pack
Please don't take any of my or any other user's comments as if we are trying to say this. We are just advising what the best course of action would be based upon Microsoft's recommended guidelines. I don't blame you for wanting to try to do this without the transition pack, particularly since the transition pack can be quite costly. However, you seriously need to think about our advice and consider the consequences of using a non-Microsoft approved/recommended approach to this matter; think about the potential downtime if something goes wrong.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a good backup of your SBS before messing with anything.

-tigermatt
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 20301062
Again, I support tigermatt's response.  I don't really understand your reluctance to use the transition pack unless there are cost considerations.  However, keep in mind that you have to purchase the necessary non-SBS server licenses and CALs anyway, so I'm not sure the cost is really that much more, if at all.  

My experience with migrations is that the more automated tools you can find the better off you are.  You asked for advice from experts and that's what you're getting - expert advice. But in the end the decision is up to you.  However, if you want to transition from your current domain to one without SBS, without using the transition pack, my advice is to migrate to a completely new AD domain.  This is what I was addressing in my first post.  Depending on the number of users you have, it might work fine even doing it manually.  You probably would be able to use some of the normal migration tools, like the ADMT (Active Directory Migration Tool) to migrate your users from the old SBS domain to the new standard domain without having to re-add users manually, as well as Exmerge as I mentioned above.
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