Known issues running Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 in a virual environment

Planning domain migration for small business environment. Looking to run Windows Server for Small Business Server 2003 inside of VMWare server 1.0.4. Is there any known issues, definite problems, or errors that will steer me to not run. SBS in a virtual environment. I am aware that it is not supported by Microsoft, however, I beilieve this is due to a licensing issue and not problems with the actual environment itself.
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webfullcircleAsked:
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
I cannot comment first hand, but just an observation; I have a colleague who is quite familiar with SBS and VMWare that has been having problems with a similar set up. At this point he has been unable to determine the problem, but the virtual SBS blue screens randomly about once a week. He suspects a driver issue, but has yet been unable to determine the problem. Other servers on the same VM have no issues. He too is wondering if it's possible there are SBS/VM compatibility issues.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
I've installed an SBS on VMWare before without problem.  It's supported by VMWare, and it wouldn't necessarily be supported by Microsoft but they do support SBS on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2.

RobWill... send your colleague this link: http://communities.vmware.com/thread/115000

VMWare's info:  http://pubs.vmware.com/guestnotes/guestos_win2003.html
(includes known issues)

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks Jeff, I will pass that on. I am sure he will appreciate it. As mentioned it only seems to be the SBS VM, but it may have different options such as the CDRom configured.

For the record I have an SBS R2 VM with which I have had no problems, but it is not a production unit. Where it is just for tests and simulations it is seldom enabled for more than 24 hrs at a time.
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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.  I do see that VMWare does support SBS2k3 and I am just making sure that with the added features such as Exchange and SharePoint, there will not be something to steer me away. Hoping someones real world experiences will show here. I have researched for sometime and no direct KB's or white papers on compatibility or known issues. I have seen the link in VMWare communities as well.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
My previous test lab server had an SBS 2003 R2 installation that ran just fine for about 3 or 4 months until I managed to trash the server.  But I had a reasonable backup of the virtual machine image which I still use today for testing and demo.  

You say you are planning on using this for a domain migration?  Can you be more specific about your method?  Because that would certainly help to provide you with better feedback as to whether or not you might run into trouble.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
Sure Jeff,
 Have Win 2000 server with Exchange 5.5.  All SP up to date. Performed AD cleaning today, verified Exchange database status, reviewed event logs, etc.

Have built a  Win Server 2003 Enterprise installed with VMWare.
 SBS2k3 installed in virtual session  but only to disk 1. Will finish install  durring migration.
Was going with parallel migration,  but after final site survey, going with full upgrage of existing domain.
Have second server 2003 Enterprise built for TS sessions and running in  VMware on site  at this time.  THis Virtual server built for line-of-business appps on Server 2003 Enterprise and  have had no problems at all.
Neither of the built 2003 Enterprise Servers will be on domain, only virtual server sessions.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
"SBS2k3 installed in virtual session  but only to disk 1. Will finish install  durring migration"

Well, you can't really do that unless you are planning on following http://support.microsoft.com/kb/884453.  But that is really an awful way to go because it breaks just about every SBS tool and doesn't let you take advantage of the best SBS has to offer.  (ie, much less time and effort managing and maintaining as well as a higher degree of usability for your users).

If you want to maintain your AD and Exchange then you really only have two options:

1.  www.sbsmigration.com -- the preferred method.  Almost all work is done off-line, and you can maintain your Active Directory Domain Name an all other attributes.
2.  http://sbsurl.com/migrate -- Microsoft's documented method.  You are required to change the internal domain name, and the process is done all on-line.

The fact that you are installing the machine virtually won't really be any different than if you had a physical machine.  You need to follow the same exact steps.  Of course, you need to allow for whatever VMWare needs when you install a Guest OS which is a Domain Controller.  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/888794)

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
Yep, great docs Jeff,
I plan to finish all the SBS disks b4 the migration just don't want to DCPROMO(finish disks) it until we are definite on the upgrade.
Thanks for the links, I have def read the Ms doc b4 and it has worked well in the past. I am only concerned with ADMT as it has failed me b4. I guess we will leave this open as I will be the gunea pig to inform all on what Virtual SBS is about. Migrate tomorrow, wish me luck!!


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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
my apologiez.
I had no clue.
ADQ
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
no problem... now you do!  :-)
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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
OK, here is the first round of updates for runnig SBS inside of Virtual Environment.
Decided to use the following document for SBS
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/884453 - no problems to report following this document step by step.

Once finishing install disks for SBS, noticed first issue. Having different drive letter for CD/DVD in Virtual server than physical causes install to lose file locations on disk. Resolution is to drill down in WinExplor and locate file copy/paste to prompt and setup continues. The occured when changing between disks and would not rectify by removing and reinserting disk. Install never would locate the file or folder on its own.
No other updates. DNS replication successful, AD replicaiton successful, FSMO\global catalog successful.
Further updates provided shortly.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
yikes... I posted about your web URL and totally forgot to respond to your actual comment.  If I had known you were determined to start with a half-install of SBS I would have suggested you follow this document instead: http://sbsurl.com/newhardware.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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JoerotterdamCommented:
I have sbs running on vmware for a couple of clients without any problems at all, very flexble in terms of rebuild of the environment, physical hardware obviously needs to be sufficent.
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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
OK I gave it a week and all is well, no complaints what so ever.  There we no obvious restrictions in upgrading a 2000 server domain to a SBS 2003 virtual domain durring install or after the full upgrade was completed. Look to keep this open for a few more days if anyone else prefers to comment on this.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
No, there may not be any "obvious" restrictions... but you may want to review this KB article which describes many of the common mistakes made:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555040

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Commented:
Hey Web, it's great to read through the process.  This info is going to help me out.  I was wondering what you used for the host operating system that you installed VMWare Server on?  Also, does anyone know if SBS2003 not R2 is any different?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
The only difference between SBS2003 R1 and R2 are the added "R2 Technologies" which are installed separately.  SBS2003 R2 does not contain Windows Server 2003 R2's Schema, so it essentially would be identical as SBS2003 R1 in a virtual environment.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ITPro44Commented:
cool!  Thanks!
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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delayed response Case,
On the host operating systems  I used Windows Server 2003 Premium. Premium allows for installating Server standard 2003 4 times with the same product key. I did not join either host boxes to the domain. Installed software on each host....VMWARE only.
As for Virtual environment updates.... It appears that VMWARE allows for USB dongle passthroughs but only one is allowed. In my current environment, I have 2 line of business apps that use dongles, I just installed to seperate servers and that solves the issue.  I also am running my backup software (VBE) and AV software (SAV Corp.) on seperate servers and not on the DC. This has not caused any lag to the virtual envirnment.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
>>"On the host operating systems  I used Windows Server 2003 Premium. Premium allows for installating Server standard 2003 4 times with the same product key."
Are sure of this?
Enterprise 2003 allows 1 host and 4 virtual, but I wasn't aware of others. Would be good to know.
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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
Rob,
Gosh should have proofed that b4 submitting. It is Enterprise Server, and it is 4 Virtual, can we edit this submitted comment, =Thanks
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Sorry. I have been casually following the thread over the past couple of weeks out of curiosity. My interest was peeked when your last comment was posted :Server 2003 Premium. Premium allows for installation Server standard 2003 4 times". Missed the earlier mention of Enterprise. It was the Premium I was curious about. Guess it was late. Again my apologies.
--Rob
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
I will go back to emphasize my original comment warning against using KB884453.  I really don't understand why you did not want to use the proven methods of migrating to SBS2003, unless you are just experimenting for experimenting's sake.  (In which case, you really should tell us that is what you are doing).

In any event, I would highly warn against this method to anyone else looking at this thread.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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webfullcircleAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the assistance on this issue Rob and Tech going to assign split points here. The issue with using Small Business Server in a virtual environment is there is no issues.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks webfullcircle.
Cheers !
--Rob
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