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Migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 and swapping server boxes without any external storage? can I use Esxi?

Posted on 2009-05-15
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
We have 2 physical servers. One is an HP Proliant DL385 and the other is an HP Proliant DL385 G2.
Lets call the first one box 1 and the second one box 2. Box 1 has 4 GB RAM and box 2 has 10 GB ram. Box 2 has a faster CPU than Box 1. Both are dual core.

Box 1 currently contains Small Business Server 2003 R2 Premium
Box 2 currently contains Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64 and SQL Server Workgroup Edition 2005 (which is using MS SQL replication over a VPN with a server in another location).

I would like to migrate to SBS 2008 but would like to put it onto box 2 as it is faster and has more RAM and while microsoft advise 4GB and 1.8GHZ dual core is minimum for SBS 2008 I think it would perform better on the other server. Likewise I would like to move what is currently on Box 2 to Box 1.

I do not have any external network storage at the moment but have space on the 2nd disk of each box for a compressed image of the other box. Infact I may even be able to do this without compression if the imaging software can ignore unused space.

I plan to put sbs 2003 into a virtual machine (on vmware server) onto the box running sbs 2008 in order to perform the migration.
I have read that Symantec's backup exec system recovery is preferable and more stable than VMWare's converter utility. Is this the case? Assuming I can complete the process within 60 days I may not need to purchase the symantec software, although will consider it anyway if I find it useful. Unfortunately with the price its that or some NAS and I think I would need both to benefit.

I had planned to do as follows.

1.)prepare sbs 2003 for migration.
2.) backup box 1 using Symantec. Store on box 2 disk 2.
3.) backup box 2 using Symantec. store on box 1 disk 2.
4.) install sbs 2008 in migration mode on box 2 (does it need the original SBS to be running at this point?)
5.) install vmware server on box 2 inside the SBS 2008 host.
6.) boot box 1 with symantec restore CD and restore backup of box 2 to box 1.
7.) set up vm on box 2 and boot with symantec restore CD restoring the backup of box 1 into the VM.
8.) complete the SBS migration.

Is that likely to work? Would there be any conflicts or driver complications? Would all machines keep their netbios names and IP addresses? Will MS SQL replication be affected?

Can the SBS 2008 trial which can be extended up to 240 days be run in migration mode? I have every intention of buying SBS 2008 but if I'm able to postpone payment by 240 days then that is preferable. Once payment is made is it simply adding a licence key or does it require reinstallation?

Another issue is I am considering setting up ESXi on one or both of the boxes. I understand that this totally wipes the disks and sets up its own partitions. Even if the above were likely to work if not using a hypervisor, would adding ESXi into the mix force me to get some external storage?

Sorry, there's lots of questions in there but I think they are all related. So giving this the max points.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:greginchina
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paulsolov earned 500 total points
ID: 24394096
I had planned to do as follows.

1.)prepare sbs 2003 for migration.
2.) backup box 1 using Symantec. Store on box 2 disk 2.
3.) backup box 2 using Symantec. store on box 1 disk 2.
4.) install sbs 2008 in migration mode on box 2 (does it need the original SBS to be running at this point?)
5.) install vmware server on box 2 inside the SBS 2008 host.
6.) boot box 1 with symantec restore CD and restore backup of box 2 to box 1.
7.) set up vm on box 2 and boot with symantec restore CD restoring the backup of box 1 into the VM.
8.) complete the SBS migration.

Here's how I've done it in the past with your exact scenerio.

1.   Image Box2 on to a external USB Hard Drive using BESR
2.   To test BESR image take another machine and do a full restore (just in case). If you have anohter set of disk for the system you can use them as well
3.  Collapse Box2 and install ESXi onto it
4.  Use vConverter to push the BESR image onto Box2 as a physical machine
5.  You can now install SBS2008 on Box2 (since it has Intel VT capability)
6.  You can leave Box1 as a physical box or use vConverter to convert to a virtual machine


Is that likely to work? Would there be any conflicts or driver complications? Would all machines keep their netbios names and IP addresses? Will MS SQL replication be affected?

--Since Box2 wasn't a domain controller you will not have any issues.  You will need to re-apply the ip address to the virtual machine since it has a "new" virtual network ard

Can the SBS 2008 trial which can be extended up to 240 days be run in migration mode? I have every intention of buying SBS 2008 but if I'm able to postpone payment by 240 days then that is preferable. Once payment is made is it simply adding a licence key or does it require reinstallation?

--not sure

Another issue is I am considering setting up ESXi on one or both of the boxes. I understand that this totally wipes the disks and sets up its own partitions. Even if the above were likely to work if not using a hypervisor, would adding ESXi into the mix force me to get some external storage?

--ESXi doesn't require external storage, you can run on local storage and is much better than vmware server

Hope this helps

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by:greginchina
ID: 24394161
Hi, Thanks for your suggestion.

However, I don't have any external storage suitable at the moment. That was why I was planning to use the 2nd disks of each box to store the images.
I could use USB hard disk but don't think the one I have is large enough. Even if it was box 2 seems to think that everything I attach to it is using a USB 1.1 port when they are all USB 2.0

You've also suggested using another machine which unfortunately I don't have.

I'm a little confused by point 4. Do you mean box 1? I didnt know vconverter could create physical machines.

What am I doing with the original SBS 2003 that was on box 1?

The scenario is as follows:

I currently have box 1 with SBS 2003, box 2 with Server 2003 x64.

I want box 2 to contain SBS 2008 (I also need SBS 2003 in a VM for migration purposes). If I can throw ESXi into the mix then that's great but not essential.

I want box 1 to have the Server 2003 x64 that used to be on box 2.

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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24399404
An important point which has to be kept in mind is the Windows SBS 2003 to 2008 Migration period has to be within 21 days after which the SBS 2003 Server should be decommissioned.
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24399416
Another alternative to Symantec Back Exec is Acronis True Image software which can be used for imaging..
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 26598204
My suggestion would be to provide 450 points to paulsolov and 50 for my suggestion.
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