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File server migration

Posted on 2010-08-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
My companies primary file server is up for replacement and last time I used a tool called Secure Copy from Scriptlogic to copy all the files/permissions/etc.  It worked great and I was able to use the demo version as I just squeaked under the requirements.  However, now they want $800 for a 90 day use.  Seriously, this crappy program should be free, so I find it hard to shell our $800 for the damn thing.

Has anyone ever used Microsoft's free File Server Migration Tool and what did you think?  I'm a little concerned as it seems to rename the top level folders, which is great if you are consolidating servers, but I am not.  Does it rename anything else?

Can you recommend any free or cheaper alternatives to Secure Copy?

Also, if I am doing just plain old simple file sharing from this server, is there any reason for me to add the File Server role to this Win2K8R2 box?

Question by:Tex_ka95
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LVL 85

Accepted Solution

oBdA earned 1600 total points
ID: 33534352
I've done lots of file server migrations with robocopy.exe (pre-installed with W2k8, part of the ResKit in W2k3).
Try the /COPYALL option, and the /MIR option if you want to do several separate runs and delete files in the target that have been deleted in the source.
Some notes:
- robocopy will *by* *default* only copy files that don't exist in the same version in the target yet, so you can just run it several times and it will only copy the differences after the initial run.
- /mir already includes /e or /s
- /nfl and /ndl will suppress the file and folder listing of *successfully* copied files/folders; errors will still be logged. Having log entries for files that were successfully copied usually are of no interest and only clutter up the log
- /r and /w in a LAN are usually unnecessary; if a copy doesn't work, it's mostly "access denied", either because the file is in use or because someone thought he's so very smart that he doesn't need his files backed up, denying admin access. Retries won't change that and will only slow down the copy.
- /np disables the progress indicator. Very nice thing if you have the time to stare at the screen, willing the percentage to move, and if you copy files that are so large that a progress indicator actually makes sense. If writing to a log, it's totally counterproductive, because it fills the log with control characters.
- /z, /b, or /zb will slow down the copy because of the additional overhead, with not much benefit in a LAN. /z is useful if copying over WAN connections, and /b only if the account you're using doesn't have full control over the folder tree.
- You might want to pre-create the target "Main" folder and set the same permissions as the source folder; in my experience, robocopy sometimes fails to set the permissions correctly when it has to create the target folder. Everything below should be processed correctly.
Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools

GUI wrappers are available, too (don't know if they support the additional options of the W2k8 version of robocopy):
RoboCopy GUI

Utility Spotlight Robocopy GUI
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33534458
Lets see...


There are 5 things you can do that can copy your existing permissions, ownership information, and data (file level, not share level - but I don't recommend share level permissions since NTFS permissions are more flexible).

Frankly, I typically suggest you use your backups.  Afterall, how often do you test them?  MOST people SHOULD and DON'T - if your an exception that does, great... doesn't mean you can't use them now!

Assisted Solution

perplexd earned 400 total points
ID: 33539226
I like to use robocopy because it let's you do the bulk of the copying over several days.
Just start a scheduled task and let it run for a week, syncing up the changes from yesterday.
You can look at log output from your scheduled job runs and see if you have errors
  (I find mac users can to name things illegally, so if you don't resolve these errors, you could lose data)

So, it looks like the below. Put it in a .bat file, and make your scheduled task point to that.
Then, when the cutover day comes, you take the share offline and perform one last sync up run.
If the files already match, even a very large file server can do the final check run in an hour or so.

robocopy "source" "destination" /MIR /COPYALL /NP /LOG:"logfile" /R:1 /W:2 /NFL /NDL

source, destination and logfile can be a local path or UNC path.
/MIR  Copy empty directories and delete files that don't exist in the source (same as /E /PURGE)
/COPYALL  Copy all regular file attributes (RSHA) and security, owner and audit attributes
/NP  No progress
/LOG(+)  Log output to file (use /LOG+: to append to existing file)
/R:1  number of retries
/W:2  Wait time
/NFL  No file list
/NDL  No dir list

LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33539344
So does a restore.  Restore a full backup.  When you're ready to do the final aspect, perform a differential and get everything else.

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