Set Forest Functional level 2008 R2

Posted on 2011-04-28
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a domain with a bsb 2003 server it is going to be replaced with a 2008 R2 server. Once the 2008 R2 server is in production and the old SBS2003 server is shutdown i plan on re-using the hardware on the old server as a file archive server it may be a 2003 server installed as a member server. should i set the Forest Functional Level to 2008 R2 or Server 2003? (also I am building the 2003 R2 server from scratch so I will not be migrating any AD info)
Question by:mspencer100
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
    If I understand your question you are going too stop using the SBS 2003 server?  If so you must format the drives and install a copy of Server 200X, what ever you choose, AND purchase the appropriate CALs for both servers.  The SBS cannot be a member of another domain, and it cannot be party to any trusts.  It can only be a DC, root of the forest and hold all the FSMO roles for the domain to which it is the/a DC.  While you can have other DCs in a SBS domain, you cannot have an SBS, or any of its parts, participate in another domain.

    Leave the new Server 2008 in its default installation mode, presumbably that is 2003.

    Author Comment

    yes we will be formating the SBS and installing Server STD (not sure if it will be 2003 or 2008) yet. if i go with the default 2003 what do i give up as far as benefits? When i add back the old server rebuilt as a 2003/2008 STD server it will just be a member server.

    LVL 21

    Accepted Solution

    What roles/activities do you wish to be present when this is done?  The best thing you will miss if the second server is 03 is the newer TS features...
    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    The forest and domain functional level determine they way that domain controllers talk to each other. If you're upgrading from SBS 2003 to a server 2008 then the functional level will initially be 2003 (because you have 2003 domain controllers) - once SBS 2003 is decommissioned and the 2008 server is the only domain controller you can raise the functional level to 2008 if you are not planning to have any more 2003 domain controllers in your system.

    Here's a basic comparison of the different feature levels:


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