New Server Implementation

Posted on 2008-06-11
Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Server Implementation/Best Practices.

I just purchased a new server running Enterprise Server 2008 x64 and am seeking clarification/advise on a couple of issues.  Any help is greatly appreciated!

A couple points to consider&.

1.      I would like to virtualize (I have Virtual Server 05) as much as possible to get best utilization of the new hardware.
2.      My existing DC is also my Exchange and print server (MS Standard Server 2003) which will be formatted and redeployed.
3.      Part of my implementation includes a migration to Exchange server 2007.
4.      I dont like working weekends.

My first thought was to first setup a VS (virtual server) on the new server as a second DC then make it a master and then take the original DC off-line and setup a new second for redundancy.  Should I attempt doing this on a VS or not?  Then I was thinking I would setup a second VS and make it the new Exchange server.  Once that is done and mailboxes moved, it could go off line.  Should I attempt making the Exchange server a VS or not?

What would be the recommended way to transfer all the print functions to another server and get the clients updated?  If I am heading into trouble, what are my options?  I am sure I will have more questions.  Thanks for all your help.

Our Current DC and Exchagne server is Standard Server 2003.
Question by:hckynt
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Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 500 total points
ID: 21761970
You're probably better off using Hyper-V to virtualise Windows Server 2008 if you don't feel too bad about using it whilst it is still in beta. Provided your hardware supports the way it virtualises, it is a much easier and better way of virtualising. The Technet site has loads of info on it to get you started.

Alternatively, you can run Server 2008 in a Virtual Server 2005 environment. This is supported if you wish, but the virtualisation perhaps isn't as good performance-wise since it does not use the hardware to assist virtualisation.

To migrate the DC role to the new server, the procedure is as follows:

To correctly remove the Domain Controller, you will need to:

Install Windows Server to the new server. Make the new server a member server in your domain with a static IP address. The only DNS server configured at this stage should be the IP of one of your other Domain Controllers. Use dcpromo to promote the server as an additional domain controller in the existing domain.

Ensure DHCP, DNS and Global Catalog roles are moved across to one or more of your new servers. If you are using AD-integrated DNS (which you should) this is as simple as installing the DNS server on the new server (DNS information will replicate with AD) and the DHCP configuration simply needs to be copied from one server or the other. Make sure the DNS server addresses in DHCP AND any statically assigned devices point to one new server for primary, and the other new server for secondary DNS if you install DNS onto it.
For DHCP if you spread it around multiple servers, it is as simple as setting IP scopes on the correct subnet which DON'T overlap (otherwise both servers will give out the same addresses and you will have IP conflicts)

Make sure all the FSMO roles are removed from the first server and transferred to one of the other servers. If you are a single-domain environment, there are no performance or functionality gains from spreading FSMO roles around between servers. They COULD be spread around - it is up to you, but it is recommended they are consolidated onto one server. FSMO transfer guide here: and you may like this one:
Note you can test if the current server has any FSMO roles by running (at a command prompt)
netdom query fsmo
and examining the output of server FQDNs.
If you see anything about SEIZING FSMO roles, DO NOT undertake this procedure, in this case you can TRANSFER the roles which is a less painful procedure.

For DNS, you should have all zones Active Directory integrated, which means the DNS information is stored in Active Directory and transferred with existing DC-to-DC replication. This eliminates the need for zone transfers. To convert to AD-integrated DNS (or ensure you have this configuration), check out

For the Global Catalog role, you can ensure at least one other server is a GC by following More information on the Global Catalog role (including why it is needed for user and computer logons) can be found at

As a test, shut down the existing DC and make sure all Active Directory and client workstations are functioning properly. If they are, you should be safe to go ahead and run DCPROMO to demote the DC to member server.

Make sure then replicate any data and shares off the server if you intend on completely removing it from your network.

The procedure for transitioning to Exchange 2007 can be found in and the further articles linked from there. Then you must remove the Exchange 2003 Server correctly before formatting the server:

Most of the procedure can be done during the day - particularly the promotion of DC and transfer of FSMO roles. I would recommend you do not migrate Exchange during the day since any issues could cause lots of mail to be lost.


Author Comment

ID: 21762050
Is it best practices to avoid virtualizing Exchange and your DC?  I know it is not recommended to have them both on the same server and that is why I was thinking about the virtualization (or both).  I was doing some practice and the domain adminsitrators password would not allow me to add the new server as the second dc.  Any ideas there?  Thanks!
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 21762078
If they are virtualised in separate Virtual Machines within the same host then that won't be a problem, provided the host machine is powerful enough to support both an Exchange and DC Virtual Machine. You are correct - Exchange and a DC role on the same server isn't a recommended situation, if you can avoid it then do so.

You need to first make the server a member server in the domain by joining it to the domain, the same way as you join a workstation to the domain. For this the only DNS server in the server should be the IP of your current DC - and that IP should be contactable and pingable. Once the server is a member server, you then log in to the domain as the Administrator account and run dcpromo from there.

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Author Comment

ID: 21762080
Another question.  I am assuming you are suggesting Hyper-V for Server 2008 since that is what Exchange will have to be installed on becasue they are both 64x-bit.  So with that said, maybe the best bet is to NOT virtualize Exchange 2007, nor make the new server the DC but virtualize the dc on the new server and use server 2003???

Author Comment

ID: 21762090
This is a brand new HP server with 16GB of RAM, 4 drives, RAID 6, two partitions (system and data)  and over 200GB of data room.  Thanks !
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 21762143
I don't understand your reason behind not using virtualisation and going back to Server 2003? I would recommend you do use Hyper-V for virtualisation as opposed to Virtual Server - it is much better performance-wise since, provided your hardware supports hardware-assisted virtualisation, it will use the CPU to do some of the virtualisation. If your CPU doesn't support this though, your only option is to use Virtual Server.

You can virtualise Exchange 2007 and a DC on the same server - if you have other servers you could use, then you could either use that as a Domain Controller or Exchange server - but otherwise, virtualisation is the way to go. Your server should be powerful enough (you didn't say the speed of the processor though!).

Author Comment

ID: 21762207
The two processors are Quad Core, 3GB.  I am a bit worried about hte whole bet deal Hyper-V.  I were to virtualize both the DC and Exhange on the new server and something Microsoftish went wrong I could be really hosed, but you are fine with the risk?
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 21762237
At the moment Hyper-V is still in beta, so I would recommend you do at least one test installation using Hyper-V on the new server before you were to proceed. However the new Server versions are pretty robust, so provided a test installation or two went according to plan, I wouldn't hesitate virtualising the environments.

Backups of both the entire DC (including all file data) and the Exchange databases are key in any environment, don't forget.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31466235
OK, thanks for all your help!
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 21762274
Thanks, hckynt!

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