Can a SBS 2003 Premium be virtualized?

Here is the deal. Putting ALL licensing/legal issues aside, we have an Acronis image of a Customer's SBS 2003 Premium server , OEM on a Dell Server. Server is dead and out of warranty. Motherboard is the suspect.

We have some experience with Virtual Server 2005 R2 as we run our development server, W 2003 Server R2 as a VM inside of a SBS 2003 Premium.

No where I have been able to find that SBS 2003 is a "supported" host to run Virtual Server 2005 R2 but we have ran our development server for years that way. Similarly, I have not found that SBS 2003 is a "supported" guest for Virtual Server or Hyper-v; however, we have ran some SBS 2003 as Vm for Virtual Server 2005 for testing-only purposes.

In this case this is a production server to be virtualized to avoid the complexities of re-installing the OS, and all the tasks involved in setting a new PDC where there is already a BDC.

We have already converted the Acornis image to a VM and we boot under Virtual Server 2005 R2, but we got to the re-activation windows after boot. We do not need to do this now as we do not have a final hardware/software for the replacement server, but it would be very comforting to test before telling the client to invest in a new server and OS.

So, what are my questions:
1 - Has anyone run a production SBS 2003 Premium server as a VM of either Virtual Server 2005 or Hyper-V on top on W2008 or Hyper-V Server 2008 R2?

2 - If so, how you dealt with the re-activation issue

Thanks.
phermiAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
Joerg_HercheCommented:
I already virtualized a sbs 2003 server in Hyper-V and it worked. You don't get any driver problems because Windows Server 2003 ist fully supported.

The problem is Exchange 2003 Server which comes with the SBS. Microsoft does not support this application in a virtual guest environment so the whole configuration is not recommended and not supported.

But I know quiet a few Ex2k3 Servers (roundabout 15-20) which are running without problems for more than a year.If you want to operate using the Microsoft guidelines you have to use Exchange 2007 with SP1 on a second server or migrate to Windows Small Business Server 2008.

Supported OS and Apps: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/957006?p=1

best wishes from germany
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wolfcamelCommented:
the reactivation is simply due to the 'hardware' changes - reactivating will either succeed directly or you may need to do a telephone reactivate and explain that you had hardware failure and have restored the server to new hardware and you should then get activation OK.
licensing will mainly depend on whether it was full version or oem.
the rest will/should work ok depending a little on things like the configuration of SBS - ie if you had two network cards etc.
One advantage is that you should be able to give SBS a full 4Gb ram which it will like.
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wolfcamelCommented:
the reactivation is simply due to the 'hardware' changes - reactivating will either succeed directly or you may need to do a telephone reactivate and explain that you had hardware failure and have restored the server to new hardware and you should then get activation OK.
licensing will mainly depend on whether it was full version or oem.
the rest will/should work ok depending a little on things like the configuration of SBS - ie if you had two network cards etc.
One advantage is that you should be able to give SBS a full 4Gb ram which it will like.
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phermiAuthor Commented:
wolfcamel: Thanks. I do not want to make any assumptions, so allow me to re-ask: Have you ever virtualized a SBS 2003 Server for a production environment ? If so, which VM product you used?

Thanks.
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phermiAuthor Commented:
Thanks to both!
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XChangingITCommented:
phermi:

any luck with the SBS conversion??

thanks.
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phermiAuthor Commented:
Dear all,

I am deeply sorry I never came back to you. This was kind of a horror story that ended up in a new server and using the Universal restore option from Acronis. We did not proceed with the VM approach based on your remarks bout Exchange.

Thanks to all
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XChangingITCommented:
im having the same issues with trying to Acronis approach...was just hoping for a magic bullet from ya :)

thanks anyway :)
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phermiAuthor Commented:
XChangingIT: In our case, the problem was that the only option to use a VM converted from Acronis was to set it up in our Hyper-V server and that created a whole bunch of access issues for the Client's Users.

Because new server was needed anyways, we decided not to pursue his approach and just wait for its arrival.

Sorry I have not the bullet you needed.
.
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