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sbs2003 to sbs2011 migration

What would be the best/safest approach for migrating sbs2003 (DNS, AD, Exchange Services) to New sbs2011 environment? Also, is there a easy-to-read guide available for this situation?

1) A 6 year old sbs2003 R2 Standard Server running the following crucial services:
- Active directory, DNS, MS Exchange (10 active email users.)

* Hard-drives have been running critically-low on space for several months now, and instead of upgrading components on the old-server that was originally managed by another 3rd IT Company, decision from higher-ups has been made to simply buy a new server and migrate everything that's currently in-place, (listed above, to the best of my knowledge.)

** There's no secondary server running to fall back on, if this server suddenly decides to crash, this small company is screwed, and so am I.
-- I understand there will obviously be downtime throughout this process, but i wish to obviously take the route with the least amount of downtime, perhaps 1-3hrs for several days or more.

(I only have experience with configuring & joining a WinServer 2008 to a WinServer 2003 environment -- raising functional level from win2000 on source server, then transferring roles from source server to win2008 server with it's role as a File-Server running DNS & active directory; I have extremely limited understanding of MS Exchange and how it works as far as Backing-Up/ Migrating/ and configuring mailbox's.)

2) New SBS2011 server has arrived, there's an initial Wizard that was attempting to automate everything (such as transferring roles, and eventually to decommission the the win2003 server after 30-days or so,) but I quickly cancelled the Wizard, to avoid disrupting the current SBS2003 environment, since again, I fear of making a change, and destroying Email and such on the sbs2003 server, which I can't risk.

I imagine from what I've seen on the internet and on MS's website, create answer-file, automate everything (supposedly), but I have to take into account, if i start this process, and mess up, the can I fall back on the sbs2003 to run the Email incase of sbs2011 configuration failure?

Or Should I configure sbs2011 from ground-up, new AD, New MS exchange, new DNS etc, and then attempt to transfer the EMAIL from exchange on sbs2003 on sbs2011? ( I  like this approach better, but is this feasible?)

Please, any help of suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
2 Solutions
Follow the guide EXACTLY


Everything in the Migration is wizzard driven and very friendly. Just make sure you print the guide and DO NO SKIP any steps. I have done this dozens of times with no issues as long as the guide is followed.

Another good resource is the SBS Diva

Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
I prefer the Demazter Guide and always use it and have never had a single problem, but have visited people who followed the MS guide and fixed their problems for them!


Migration should be fine - building the server from scratch is a good approach if you only have a handful of users, but may involve more work and you will have to create new user profiles on each PC for your users, but if you migrate this won't happen and everyone will be exactly as they were before the migration, only running from the new server.
The only reason you would need to build form the ground up is if you want to rename your domain or if you have any corruption. You just make sure you have a GOOD backup and the migration is cake!

During the migration, there will be no interruption of service if you plan it right. The file migration will put some downtime, but even the Exchange migration, users will have a brief outtage, and then their clients connect to the new server. Very easy and nice wizzards
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I highly recommend Jeff Middleton's Swing migration kit, I've used on over ten swings (from 2k3 to 2k3 to the current 2k3 to 2k11) - you do have to pay for it but you get a lot of useful scripts and support, its a wise investment

I have done it dozens of times with the MS guide, no issues.
DumarazAuthor Commented:
Hey guys, I really appreciate the feed-back and support.

I'm going to try and following MS's long guide, combined with Demazter's Guide summarized guide.

With this said, either way, I'm definitely going to try the automated Wizard approach to this situation rather than ground up, I'm a one-man army in this situation with a lot to lose if things go haywire if done by scratch.
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