migrating sbs2003 to a new sbs2008

We have quite an old Windows 2003 SBS server which we want to replace. It has experienced various problems.

We have migrated an sbs2003 server to sbs2008 previously and came accoss numerous problems in doing so. With this in mind, I am aprehensive about doing this again. I would prefer to creat a brand new server and create the users etc manually, and copy the daa from the old to the new manually too.

We only have around 10 users, so do you consider that this would be a reasonable way to do it?

During the migration last time, every stop was met by problems. I used the Microsoft Migration Guide, which was pretty detailed, but each step was met by an error that had to be resolved first. So I am looking for the most un eventfull way to get our new server up and running.

With regards to replicating the Exchange message store, do I need to backup each individual users outlook to an .pst file, then manually import the PST back when the new server is operational, or is there a more centralised way to secure the message store. If so, are there any details that I can follow to ensure a complet procedure. In particular, how would we get the message store imported to the new server, if we have created our users manually.

Any help you can give would be appreciated.

Many thanks.
Who is Participating?
Rob WilliamsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
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.

However with 10 users it is probably not going to take much longer than the migration process. You will need to disjoin the PC's from the old domain (even if the domain and server names are the same) and there are some files and registry entries that should be removed. See:
Mailboxes can be exported and then re-imported using pst's which is quite straight forward. You can also use Exmerge to export the mailboxes but there are size limitations and if you are not familiar with it doing so at the desktop level with Outlook is probably simpler.

I also recommend reading the following before completing the set up of your new SBS.
SBS 2008 build document:
SBS 2011 build document:
Casey HermanCitrix EngineerCommented:
You dont need to swing 2008.  I have done it several times and it works well using microsofts blessed methods for this. You need to make sure you put the 2k8 cd into the 2k3 box and run the migration utility's first. Then dump the file that it creates to a flash drive. then setup the new sbs2k8 box and it will read that file on flash drive when it sets up and it will prep the new box to talk to the old. It will have a checklist that you follow once the migration starts. If you have problems re read. Both servers essentially run Side by side as in the swing migration. I would P2V the server to a virtual machine with esxi first to practice. Snapshot it and then practice with the 2k8 machine. That way you dont break anything.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
The cases where a clean rebuild is easier than a migration are few and far between. I've seen *many* people in your situation that have had previous migration issues with SBS 2008 so they decide to go the "clean build" route and then run into an entirely *different* set of issues. Properly moving files and retaining or rebuilding ACLs, for example. Or they go to export mailboxes and suddenly find the mailstore crashes and they can't get it to remount. Or they can't get their public folders onto the SBS 2008 server no matter how hard they try.

In short? You are swapping one set of issues for another, and since you've already done one migration, you at least have *experience* with some of the more common migration issues. Yes, they exist, but there are also a *lot* of resources out about them, and they are usually easier to overcome than the strange crazy world of clean rebuilds while preserving *some* data.

And, as RobWill points out, if you are *really* gunshy, you can just pay for a kit that comes with support so you have a safety net if you do run into a one-off issue.

nigelbeatsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all for your responses.

When I did my first and only migration from sbs2003 to sbs2008, I did not use any utilities at all, I just followed a script that was provided by microsoft. The problem was that all of the prepeartiobn work on the sbs2003 was met with problems, either what they asked me to do did not work or produced errors.

I did not know about any migration tools on the sbs2008 cd, so do you think it would be worth while trying again usin the utilitie provided with sbs20o8.

My concern is that the server is old and "well used" so could not begin to imagine that everything would just work as uggested it should. Does the utility make this easier to overcome any issues that my be inherent in the old server?

I must say that I had such a terrible time migrating the server manually last time the appeal of a new build wiith new users, imported pst files to recreate the informatio store, and a manual data move still has sounds attractive! lol
Rob WilliamsCommented:
The utility will not "fix" anything, but it does asst with the migration and "auto answer" many fields. I am surprised you did not use it as it is outlined in the Microsoft migration documents.

The first and most important step is to make sure your server is up to date, you have run the Best Practices Analyzer and resolved any issues, and finally prepared the server as per the documentation by removing ISA (if installed), reverting to single NIC (if 2), and so on.

Personally I find 10 users is the turning point if a clean install or migration is faster. No question as cgaliher pointed out a clean install doesn't eliminate all problems. However in some cases the original server is such a mess, and if you are not using all features like Sharepoint or public folders, a clean house is the best way to go.

If migrating there is nothing wrong with the Microsoft documentation, but if you are not familiar with the process I do recommend swingmigration.com. It allows you to revert back at any point, 1 call to Microsoft is more expensive than the cost of their kit with 90 days unlimited support, and keep in mind migrations is there only line of business, so they are pretty good at it.
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