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SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 "upgrade"

Posted on 2010-11-26
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I am currently running SBS2003 and I have had my discs for a while now for SBS2008.  I know that you can't just upgrade the server because it goes from 32bit to 64bit.  I also know my server is capable of 64bit OS.  

Here is what I would like to do.  I would like to upgrade my server by first installing a VMWare layer, then installing SBS2008 as a virtual machine.  I will probably add another virtual machine at a later time.  But I would like to keep my data from my SBS2003 installation and transfer it over.  The actual data isn't a problem, because that is simply moving it to a NAS then back.  But what about Exchange data and domain data?  Is there a way to migrate Exchange and Active Directory Data over to the new installation?  Keeping in mind since I will be using the same server I can't use the SBS2008 migration that puts it on a new machine.

Thanks,
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Question by:coloradocroat
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Rob Williams earned 250 total points
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There is no “upgrade path” nor is the older transition pack available any longer that assisted and provided a licensing cost savings when moving to Server 2003 Standard. You will need to do a migration.
My personal preference when doing SBS migrations is to buy a $200 kit from swingmigration.com 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.
http://www.sbsmigration.com/pages/99/

There are numerous other tutorials available to do your migration. SBS2003 to SBS 2008:

Microsoft’s documentation for migrating SBS 2003 to SBS 2008
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=52B7EA63-78AF-4A96-811E-284F5C1DE13B&displaylang=en
Philip Elder’s documentation for migrating SBS2003 to SBS2008
http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/2009/06/sbs-2003-to-sbs-2008-migration-guide.html
Karl Palachuk’s Migration to SBS 2003 and SBS 2008
http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2009/08/swing-migration-vs-zero-downtime.html
http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2009/08/swing-migration-vs-zero-downtime.html
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by:coloradocroat
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RobWill,

I am not really concerned about the migration from 2003 to 2008, I am more concerned about Exchange Data and Active Directory.  Those two pieces I need to have migrate.  Other settings I can change and adjust myself.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
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There are a few major flaws in this plan.

1.  SBS 2003 is a 32 bit system.  While you COULD install VMWare, the system can still only access 4 GB of RAM (typically, a little less).  But SBS 2008 WILL NOT INSTALL with less than 4 GB for itself.  You can't have RAM for the SBS 2003 install AND 4 GB of RAM for the SBS 2008 install... So this won't work.
2.  You can't keep both systems running in the same domain.  Assuming, for the moment, you somehow got SBS 2008 installed in a VMWare virtual Machine on the 2003 SBS, one would start shutting down in, at most, 3 weeks due to a violation of licensing (having 2 SBS servers on the same network - to be clear, two servers is fine - two SBS servers is NOT for more than a 3 week period for migration).
3.  VMWare server is a Type 2 hypervisor which means compared to ESX(i) and Hyper-V, it's SLOW.  You're likely to have SERIOUS performance issues if you don't use a Type 1 Hypervisor (which is ESX(i) and HyperV).  But a Type 1 requires a clean install since it's basically an operating system itself.
4.  MAYBE A PROBLEM - If your current server is old, then it may not be x64 capable and/or have hardware virtualization enabled.  SBS 2008 is x64 ONLY and if you were to use ESX(i) (I think) and HyperV, you would NEED a hardware virtualization enabled 64 bit system.

Now, assuming you want to do this correctly, Rob has provided some good suggestions and links on HOW to do it.
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by:Rob Williams
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That is what the migration does. It moves your existing Active Directory structure, and Exchange, and much more from the old DC to the new. In order to move those you have to add the new SBS to the old domain. Normally you cannot do this because SBS has the limitation of not being able to join an existing domain. The migration allows you to join the new machine to the domain, transfer the FSMO roles, move Exchange, and the balance of your previous domain structure to the new SBS.
The Swingmigration method is nice because it creates a temporary DC and allows you to do this in stages, or move it back to the same box which still allowing you to revert backward if you run into problems.
SBS is not server standard and therfore convention methods do not work.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
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> I am not really concerned about the migration from 2003 to 2008, I am more
> concerned about Exchange Data and Active Directory.  Those two pieces I
> need to have migrate.  Other settings I can change and adjust myself.

coloradocroat - that IS what a migration does.  It migrates the two major components - your AD and Exchange.  It also gets other things like SQL and Sharepoint if you need them, but if you don't you skip them.  But AD and Exchange are the two biggest and two of the most complex things to migrate properly - which is why you follow the documentation.

Frankly, if you don't understand this, I would strongly recommend hiring a professional to do it right for you.  Otherwise, you're not likely have some serious problems, if not now, then in the weeks that follow.

I'm not trying to insult you - if you wanted to spend a few weeks thoroughly learning the product, I'm certain you could do this and you'd understand it reasonably well... but right now, you trying to do this based on my perceived understanding of your skill level in it would be somewhat like me trying to remove someone's appendix because the doctor and hospital was too expensive - I may be smart, but that's well outside of my knowledge.
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by:Rob Williams
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I disagree with your comment about not providing information as to migrating to the same hardware. As mentioned there is no upgrade path and unfortunately you will not find one. The swingmigration path, as mentioned earlier, will easily allow you to migrate from the existing hardware and O/S back to the same hardware with the new O/S as it uses a temporary DC, which can be a basic PC or even laptop, to do so.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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I agree with the objection.

Coloradocroat,

I have detailed reasons why your plan CANNOT work - and reasons why it's a bad idea - but IGNORING the reasons it's a bad idea, it simply cannot work.

Further, you state: "Keeping in mind since I will be using the same server I can't use the SBS2008 migration that puts it on a new machine."
Why?  A VM *IS* a new machine - it's just virtual, not physical.  Why couldn't you migrate it - assuming for the moment, I'm wrong about the 4 GB minimum to install (which I'm not -- and I try to avoid absolutes!).

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by:Lee W, MVP
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By the way - with a different setup - Hyper-V or ESXi as the VM platform - this could work with no no significant hurdles.  But you can't install those on the SBS 2003 system so that means you can't keep the SBS install as you wanted.  And you would still be doing a migration.
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by:Rob Williams
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Thanks Vee_Mod.
--Rob
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