Migration from Server 2003/2008 to SBS 2011 (or SBS 2008)

Posted on 2012-09-04
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
I've done many SBS to SBS migrations, but may need to look at a migration from a NON-SBS environment to an SBS system.


Server 2008 DC, all 5 FSMO, DHCP.
Server 2003 running Exchange 2003

Would like to install an SBS 2011 server and remove the 2003/exchange server (wld happily use SBS 2008 if SBS2011 is an issue)

I know SBS has wizards for migrations but I'm unsure if they work on a non-SBS source server.

Has anyone done this, or seen any good info on the net about it?
Question by:Steve
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Microsoft highly recommends NOT doing this.

    However, if you wish to proceed anyway, check out this site
    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution

    LVL 27

    Author Comment


    Yes, I'm aware it's not recommended, but Microsoft also recommend against running exchange on a DC (ahem...SBS anyone??) so lets not worry about Microsoft's recommendations eh? ;-)

    The link you have posted is just a link to a site I already use so unless you are suggesting a particular article I'm afraid it's not very helpful.
    LVL 77

    Accepted Solution

    I don't recall Microsoft ever saying migrating from server std & Exchange to SBS is not recommended or supported, though documentation is limited.

    Demazter has documented this very nicely for SBS 2008, SBS 2011 is almost identical as far as the process goes:

    Alternative as mentioned by another  will provide you with documentation, tools, and 90 days support for your specific migration for $395.
    LVL 27

    Author Comment

    Thanks netballi,
    That looks interesting. I'll have a read through those. Have you ever done such a migration?

    Anyone else? Come on guys, easy points up for grabs!!
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
    All the links above are good.  You do not say how many users in the domain, which could influence the answer.  Or rather your choice of answers.  We are also left to assume that you wish to keep the same domain name and do not care if the server name and ip change and how complex your shares are, or what the line of business app might require.  All of this will affect your path.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Agreed - I never seen or heard anyone at Microsoft suggest migrating FROM a non-SBS to an SBS environment wasn't a good idea.  

    Since you are inexperienced in this, it would make sense and be wise for you to setup a test environment to do this and learn what to expect.  Thanks to Virtualization, this should be pretty simple to do.

    For a broad question such as this, I think you've gotten your answers.  If you do this yourself, do it in a test environment and then you can ask specific questions that experts can assist you with.

    Put simply, the migration guides offered in the links above are perfectly valid.

    If time is of the essence, then you're probably better off hiring someone with SBS experience so they can do it right the first time and will have already had the experience you don't seem to.
    LVL 56

    Assisted Solution

    by:Cliff Galiher
    I agree with most of the posts above. I've never seen a statement from MS saying this. Not recommended and found that opinion to be perhaps inaccurate.

    In most non-SBS to SBS migrations, there are a few potential gotchas though. SBS wizards have a few expectations of OU layout and group policies that, as part of AD, will be migrated over and not but new, even in a new OS install. In an SBS to SBS migration, this is a non-issue, but in a non-SBS migration, this can be a serious pain point.

    To directly answer your question, yes I have done this type of migration before. There is no reason to consider SBS 2008 over 2011, and the wizards from a non-SBS server will work fine. But there is some manual cleanup and arranging to do in AD this is not clearly documented anywhere publicly that I am aware of.

    You can set up a clean SBS 2011 server on test hardware to compare, or you may want to consider a kit from with their support. But this is an entirely achievable process and I've done it several times over.
    LVL 27

    Author Comment

    Some great info there, huge thanks to everyone who has offered info or a helpful opinion. These will help massively when assessing my options.

    I'll assess it over the weekend and will see if it's worth progressing or not. Points will be assigned shortly.

    (Note: @Netballi.... Apologies as I hadnt seen your comment when I posted my initial response. The links you posted were very useful, I was referring to the post by Shadowless127 being unhelpful, not yours!)
    LVL 27

    Author Closing Comment

    As always, a great resource to bounce ideas off before jumping in feet first.
    Thanks Guys.

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