Migrate from Server 2003 to Server 2008

Posted on 2008-10-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-18
We are about to upgrade from Windows Small Business Server 2003 to a set of 3 servers (PDC, SDC and Exchange) in Windows Server 2008 Standard with the PDC and SDC having ISA2006 installed.

Looking for the easiest way to migrate the exchange database and intranet sites (built on Sharepoint 2007) as well as user profiles, groups and security settings to the new servers whilst at the same time reconfiguring for the new features of Server 2008.
Question by:McArdleGroup
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 22710422
please advise how many users you have. you will have to use the SBS transition pack which may be costly.

once you have done that you can then deploy a exchange 2007 server within that forest and migrate the mailboxes over the the exchange 2007 this may help http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Transitioning-Exchange-2000-2003-Exchange-Server-2007-Part1.html
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 22715905

Before you consider moving to a Server 2008 / Exchange 2007 vanilla domain, have you considered moving to Small Business Server 2008, the latest SBS from Microsoft due to be released next month? It will have an integrated control centre, just as SBS 2003 had the Server Management console, and provided you are not exceeding 75 users, it can still support your network.

If you are moving away from SBS because you are reaching the 75 user limit, there is another solution. Just like SBS except slightly more powerful and with more scope is the new EBS (Essential Business Server) 2008. This will have a feature set enabling it to be installed across 3 servers, yet still giving central management. The main advantages are that the cost is going to be significantly less than purchasing Standard editions of the appropriate software, and if you move away from the integrated SBS / EBS environment, you will lose all the centralised administration tools which really do help to keep your management of the network very streamlined and easy to do.

Microsoft will almost definitely release an upgrade procedure off SBS 2003 once SBS 2008 is released, so it really is well worth the wait until about November 12th.

If you are still serious about moving to Server 2008 Standard, I can provide you with the appropriate instructions for the Active Directory & Exchange sides of the migration.


Author Comment

ID: 22718828
We have considered the options on each of the latest version of Small Business Server and Essential Business Server, but have rules these out as we are growing too fast to be restricted by the limitations of both these server systems and we need the redundancy of a standard ActiveDirectory Domain.

I know that both SBS and EBS have redundancy abilities, but from experience it is only a theory and after a disaster at the start of the year where we lost almost a months worth of data because the backups did not restore as they should have.

We have purchased three new servers which will run the AD 2008 Domain with PDC, SDC and Exchange Server and we are going to run VM Backups onto a seperate Windows DataCentre Server which we have had for a few months.

Because we are not using SBS to its strictest policies and have developed the server over the last 5 years to work better for us, the main items we will be migrating across will be the Exchange Server Database and the Sharepoint Portal (which was rewritten in Sharepoint 3.0 as we never managed to get the original site restored and it corrupted the Sharepoint 2.0 'Companyweb' database and files when restoration was complete to such a stage that the original site could also not be restored to rebuild this).

I have experience migrating from older Small Business Servers (4.5 and 2000) to SBS2003, but just need to know the abilities of migrating from SBS 2003 to a fully managed system.
LVL 58

Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 2000 total points
ID: 22724448

The first step you will need to carry out is determining whether you want to keep the SBS running after the migration. I would assume not. If you don't, you probably won't need the SBS transition pack to remove any restrictions from the old SBS server. A lot of people say you do, but if you don't intend on keeping the SBS server afterwards on the standard network (at least not without a rebuild with Server 2003/2008 Standard) it isn't necessary.

Assuming Exchange is going on a member server, you will obviously first need to install Exchange 2007 (with SP1) onto a fresh install of Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition. Before you do this, I would suggest you build and configure a Server 2008 Domain Controller, joined to the domain, BUT do not transfer any FSMO roles at this stage. This step must be left until the end; if you do it now, the SBS will start shutting down at random and acting peculiar.

There are quite a few pre-requisites required for installing Exchange 2007 on Server 2008; everything is detailed here for the install phase: http://www.msexchange.org/articles_tutorials/exchange-server-2007/migration-deployment/installing-exchange-2007-windows-server-2008.html.

Then, once Exchange is running on the Server 2008 machine, you can begin the transition from Exchange 2003. Again, use the articles on MSExchange.org. There is an excellent set of 3 articles to take you through the migration. My one warning would be to remember that leaving enough time is imperative. Don't rush the migration - one thing is for sure, public folders don't replicate quickly off Exchange 2000 / 2003. http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/transitioning-exchange-2000-2003-exchange-server-2007-part1.html. These articles will show you how to move mailboxes and perform all the other required steps.

On the Sharepoint side of things, I have never done such a migration. It looks like according to http:Q_22898092.html that you can simply perform a backup of WSS from the old server, and restore it to the new one.

You then need to proceed to remove all the roles from the SBS server as necessary, until you are left with the core services running. At this stage, you should uninstall Exchange from the server to cleanly remove it from the Exchange Organization. Finally, if you are happy the SBS is no longer needed, transfer FSMO roles off of it to one of your new DCs (http://www.petri.co.il/transferring_fsmo_roles.htm) and then run dcpromo to demote the SBS server. After you move the FSMO roles, the SBS will NOT be happy, and will begin to reboot every hour or so. After demoting it, there is not really any 'going back', so to speak, so your only option provided everything demoted cleanly and the network is running is to format it and reinstall, or remove it from the network.


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