We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Can someone give me advice on how to migrate my SBS2003 Server to a Virtual Server SBS2003?  Is it easiest to just set it up new?

409 Views
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
I have an old SBS2003 server box (running SBS 2003 Retail Premium using only DC & Exchange).  My intention is that I have a small office with only 3-4 workstations.  The server is loud and generates lots of heat so I am considering retiring my SBS box and putting it on my beefed up workstation as a virtual PC or virtual server (Not sure which is better for me).  

I use my exchange server to synch to my PDA phone as well as for remote access via the web.  That is all I use my SBS server for.  Currently I have Virutal PC 2007 running on my Vista 64bit workstation which hosts 2 XP Pro machines.  I plan on upgrading my workstation to an 8GB quad core with RAID1 machine running Vista 64bit and Virtual PC 2007 & if needed Virtual Server for my SBS2003.

Any suggestions, comments or tips?
Comment
Watch Question

Jason WatkinsIT Project Leader

Commented:
Hello,

Do users log into the SBS Server?  If placed in a VM, the host computer would have to remain on and logged in by a specific user account under Virtual PC.  It would be better to use Virtual Server 2005 in that case, also free...

I would not recommend running a production server on anyone's workstation.
Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
Hi Firebar,

Yes 2 of us log into the DC.  Why wouldn't you recommend it as a production server for such a small network like this?
Jason WatkinsIT Project Leader

Commented:
Reliability.  Running the server as a guest OS on your workstation for extended periods of time will impact your own computer's performance.  I think Virtual PC is good for testing or running older operating systems, but it is not meant as a permanent solution.  That is why they made virtual PC, or VMWare Server.
Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
So I could run a Server OS just for the host to install Virtual Server for my SBS2003 as well as install Virtual PC for my workstation OS?  Is that a better solution?
Jason WatkinsIT Project Leader

Commented:
That is a step in the right direction...

At least with Virtual Server, the host OS does not have to have an account logged in all of the time.

Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
What about this 2008 hyperV?  Is that suppose to be the new replacement of Virtual Server?  Would that be a good solution for me to run HyperV for SBS2003 and Vista Ultimate?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
I would not run Virtual PC or Virtual Server in this instance.  Hyper-V is the route I would recommend.  Reason being that neither Virtual PC or Virtual Server support multiple CPUs and have limited amounts of RAM accessible.  (They can run on systems with multiple CPUs and lots of RAM - the VM's they create cannot access multiple CPUs or large amounts of RAM).  

Further, you could have logon problems with running SBS on a virtual machine on a system that is connected to the SBS domain.  (The workstation boots before the SBS server boots).

Additionally, I would not recommend running a server without RAID.  Frankly, I can understand your desire... but I wouldn't recommend it... If you needed additional servers, I have no problem using HyperV to put multiple servers on one... but I do believe for reliability and security, a server should be a dedicated box with certain minimum hardware.
Jason WatkinsIT Project Leader

Commented:
I can't comment on the Hyper-V as I have not used it at this time.  It sounds good, but then again so do most Microsoft products...
Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
Good thoughts leew.  I was thinking about building a system with Raid1 P4 quad core 2.6 with 8GB RAM.  I figured this would give me enough power to last and provide seamless power to all the OSs I needed.  You recommend the DC be on the actual machine and the other OSs run as Virtual I take it?  

Also what about migration.  Can I migrate my existing server to a VHD? If so how?
Technology and Business Process Advisor
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
I checked out SBSMigration and don't think that is necessary for this job.  I was hoping that someone here would know if a backup from the old server, restore to the new server, then refresh install over the OS would work like it does for XP.

ANy thoughts on this?
Jason WatkinsIT Project Leader

Commented:
No, moving SBS installs in that manner do not work successfully.  I have done a few on the SBSMigrations listed at the a fore mentioned site and they do work...
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Duncan007 - how is your situation unlike the scenarios listed at sbsmigration?  You're going to a virtual server... it's still going to NEW hardware as far as SBS is concerned...
Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
What I meant earlier was to say that it seems that if someone's server mainboard crashes how does a person get it up and running on a new system?  It seems that there has to be a way other than migrating through steps such as these.  My scenario is for my own office but I have many customer's who have servers about 5+ years old that could have a mainboard crash at any time.  The backup they use is the one built into SBS and that is it.  Is there no other way to migrate or recover to new hardware other than following SBSMigration or having a Baremetal backup?  Yes if I do switch over to new hardware, I will certainly switch over to a virtual type scenario considering these issues above.  
Jason WatkinsIT Project Leader

Commented:
Apart of the SBS restore process deals with reinstalling the SBS OS, and then restoring the backup created with the SBS backup utility. This is one of the many reasons why I would never recommend SBS to any of my customers.  

Acronis TrueImage has a product which can copy a server, bit by bit from one hardware platform to another, but it is pricey.  

http://www.acronis.com

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Firebar,

I believe you are doing your customers a GREAT DISSERVICE.  SBS is easily managed, provides features that are NOT available in standard server, costs less given what you get, and is highly reliable.  You don't have much of a profile, so I don't know your background... but I have to wonder if you truly know SBS... those that don't usually have your opinion... I did... then I learned the product.

Duncan007,

"I have many customer's who have servers about 5+ years old"
I don't.  I make it clear to my customers - and they understand it - servers run their business.  Having a server THAT old that is not under warranty is like driving without car insurance.  Some servers don't need to be under warranty (for example a dedicated WSUS box), but  especially SBS servers should be replaced every three years. Further, no client of mine operates a critical server that is not under a three year 7x24x365 warranty with 4 hour response time.   If the client insisted they let the machine out of warranty, then I insist on purchasing an identical server off ebay so they have immediate spares.
Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
Yes I agree with leew.  SBS has many great features for the costs involved and in fact I have all my customers on it have have been using it since it's release.  I think this problems is not just isolated with SBS as it is an issue for any OS with microsoft's security implementations.

Nevertheless I will check out that company you recommended.  Thank you for your input.
Duke KahanamokuIT Support Professional

Author

Commented:
Well thank you all for the input.  I am looking at trying 2008 HyperV when I get some time.  Leew I will have to award you the points as I believe your help was the most thorough and accurate.

Thank you all though for your help and input!
Unlock the solution to this question.
Join our community and discover your potential

Experts Exchange is the only place where you can interact directly with leading experts in the technology field. Become a member today and access the collective knowledge of thousands of technology experts.

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

OR

Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.