Migration from sbs 2003 to sbs 2008

Posted on 2010-11-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
A company asked me to do a server migration from their current sbs 2003 to sbs 2008.
This will be during a server upgrade. (hardware)
So to be clear, they want a new sbs 2008 server to replace their existing 3 year old sbs 2003.

Their server is running services for approx 15 users(ho and remote):
SQL server
Print server
So it's quite a busy box

I am happy to do the upgrade, and will dive more into the search for migration templates, but they have asked me to come up with a quote regarding the amount of hours.

As I have never done a migration before, and I am not a trained system admin I know this will definately take me longer then a routine sysadmin.

My question is more, what is a reasonable timeframe?
With other words, what can they expect?
As I understand they want me on a fixed rate hour wise, which I understand from their perspective, but I don't want te be **$%#-over when I say 20 hours end it will end up in triple that amount ending up in tossing in 40 unpaid hours.

What do you recon is fair?

(ps, if you have guidelines on scope of these projects, timeframes and tacktics please let me know)
Question by:verhoop
  • 2
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 34151249
How quickly you can do it depends on your skill level and experience.  Since both are apparently low on this particular subject based on your comments, I would say you should allow 30-40 hours for the project.  I can do it in 20... but I've done it a few times and know both products reasonably well.  Even then, it depends what, exactly, their needs are.

Frankly, when I quote things like this, especially for clients I have NOT worked with before (so I don't know the health of their system or their setup, I walk through the procedure and indicate how long each is expected to take and note that certain things are beyond my control and as such cannot be guaranteed - my quote is an ESTIMATE that is subject to change based on factors beyond my direct control.  Now if this is going to be an ongoing client AND they sign a long term support agreement, then you might reconsider a flat rate and sticking to it... but if it's a one time job with no guaranteed consistent work, I don't see how it's reasonable to offer one.

Some things to consider - the server needs updates when you install it... installing those updates can be quick or slow depending on their internet connection.  I have one client that has a T1 shared with 3 other offices in their building.  to Download the updates for their workstations and servers can take HOURS... whereas if they had a cable internet connection, it wouldn't take more than an hour.  So instead of paying $75/month for business cable, they pay $300/month extra in my time to keep their systems up-to-date.  Point being, YOU don't have control over their internet speed so your quote has to reflect the "slowness" (or quickness) of their connection and the cost of your time.  (If you're good you can multitask and do other things that don't require internet while the system is updating... but somethings can't be done without the updates.  (Exchange Service Packs, Windows Service packs - these can be huge and time consuming installing).

One thing - especially since you haven't done this before and you are considering doing so in a paid capacity (and I assume you have otherwise significant tech skills), you should seriously consider paying for and using the SwingMigration Kit by Jeff Middleton - it's mostly documentation and procedures, but most consultants who have used it tend to report glowing reviews with SERIOUS time savings.  And the price is pretty reasonable - and he offers support with it.  See
LVL 77

Assisted Solution

by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 250 total points
ID: 34151355
>>"I am happy to do the upgrade"
This is not an upgrade but rather a very lengthy migration. If you have never done one I strongly recommend creating a virtual server and doing a trail migration. Even those that have dozens run into all sorts of problems. I too would allow a full week, if not for the migration but cleanup and unknown issues. Again I agree with the Swingmigration method as it allows you to do it in stages and revert back at any point if you run into trouble. If it helps the following links may be of use to you.

SBS2003 to SBS 2008:
My personal preference when doing SBS migrations is to buy a $200 kit from tailored to your particular  migration. It provides tools, a method that allows a more gradual migration and the ability to revert backward, and 90 days personal support.
Microsoft’s documentation for migrating SBS 2003 to SBS 2008
Philip Elder’s documentation for migrating SBS2003 to SBS2008
Karl Palachuk’s Migration to SBS 2003 and SBS 2008
SBS 2003 to Server 2008 & Exchange 2010
demazter's article; Migrate Small Business Server 2003 to Exchange 2010 and Windows 2008 R2

Accepted Solution

verhoop earned 0 total points
ID: 34342198
Appologies for returning so late, both answers did the trick.
After your comments I was able to make a proper quote and go forward with te install.
Took 3 days in total. :)

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34387476
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