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Windows Server Migration Path - Looking for some information

Hey all,

I'm currently running a small network infrastructure, peppered with various flavors of Windows Server; ranging from 2000, 2003 and 2008.  The network itself is fairly standard with DHCP and DNS being hosted on our original Windows 2003 server, which also happens to be our Global Catalog.  At the moment we have no virtualization in place and the majority of our machines are Dell PowerEdge 2850;s and Dell PowerEdge 2950's.

I'd like to start migrating my 2000 and 2003 machines to Windows Server 2008 and I was hoping to gain some insight from fellow admins who have actually done this.  I've been reading up on Microsoft Virtual Server and also along the various virtualization paths, including VMware and some Microsoft solutions.  

I'd like to wipe these 2000 and 2003 machines before moving to 2008 but before I do that, I figure with the predominance of virtual machines and servers, it would be a good idea to create virtual machines first.  This seems like a good idea to me but I wanted to get a 2nd opinion.

So with that said, does this seem like the right place to start?  If so, does anybody have any recommendations as far as virtualization or imaging software?

I want to thank you all in advance for your help and efforts.

Mike.
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Mbrowwn
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Mbrowwn
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QwanCommented:
Your Dell 2850's will not support 64bit if thats a concern.

We use a tool called Ultrabac that can image a server while it's running and servicing users. This image is hardware agnostic meaning it strips out the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) allowing you to recover that server to dis-similar hardware. It works great and is pretty fast. Ultrabac does do some compression, but you will still need a storage area larger than the server your imaging in order to do this process.

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QwanCommented:
Added comments...  As with any upgrade plan it's best to have as many fallback options as possible. Virtualizing the servers prior to upgrading is a great way to save yourself alot of headache. Just be sure to verify that the VM versions work and have enough horsepower to keep your applications and users happy during your upgrade.
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MbrowwnAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the information.  It was very helpful.
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