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Windows Server 2003 Upgrade Advise?

Posted on 2013-01-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-01-17
Hi Guys

I have a new client who is currently running SBS2003, apart from file share they use Exchange Server and Remote Workplace. They want to upgrade the aging server which has become more and more unstable.

I just want some advice on whether to use the latest OS (SBS2012?) or use a more stable, reliable version maybe 2008R2 or something? - Mainly in relation to Exchange Server, they get many large emails daily and rely heavily on emails.

* what is the best OS to be running, they want/need stability, heavily reliant on Exchange with large mailboxes and Remote Workplace
* whether I should have 1 or 2 NIC configuration
* Should I use migration tools or should I do new standalone install and create/copy pst files?

Any additional information appreciated.

Question by:Ergs
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LVL 80

Expert Comment

ID: 38769295
You have to determine outside of MS products what other applications they are running to make sure those programs are supported.

Given exchange, your options are limited. Is the hardware already in place?
I.e. are you thinking of virtualizing?
What workstations are in use?

Author Comment

ID: 38769329
I will be providing new hardware, it is a small office of 5 users no need or desire to virtualize.
The workstations are currently a mix of XP Pro and Vista Business. We will probably replace the desktops with new ones running Windows 7 Pro.

They are not running any other app, as mentioned in question it is used as a File/Print Server, Exchange and Remoteworkplace.

Author Comment

ID: 38769410
For hardware configuration.... is it OK to mirror C: drive? I'm thinking 2 x 500GB drives for C: and OS and 2 x 1TB mirrored drives for data?
LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 38769574
> no need or desire to virtualize
Why not?  If you virtualize, you can provide additional services such as Hyper-V replica for off-site redundancy.  People in New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, and many other locations hit by storms are VERY aware of the need for an off-site backup and Hyper-V replica is FREE as part of Hyper-V Server 2012.  Plus, should the new hardware eventually start to fail, it's as simple as moving the VHDs and VM config to a new server - EVEN A DESKTOP in a pinch. Plus, if they get new software, you can easily make a copy of the server and test the software appropriately.

Virtualization today should not be considered an option, it should be considered a REQUIREMENT.

I'd even say to try VMWare if you want to stay away from Hyper-V, but VMWare doesn't offer Replica capabilities.

There is no SBS 2012 - only SBS 2011 Standard and Windows Server 2012 Essentials (which doesn't include Exchange).  At this point, given how long SBS 2011 should still be supported, I would recommend that route.

With a 5 user domain, it's really a toss-up as to whether you build from scratch or migrate.  I generally feel you should always migrate, but if there's a problem with the existing setup (for the most part, I mean a SPECIFIC problem like the netbios domain name needs to be changed), then especially for a small network, now's the time to start from scratch.

SBS hasn't supported a dual NIC config since 2003 - your only supported option is a single NIC.

However, at the end of the day, if you're not experienced with these products, you're better off hiring someone who is or at least spending some SERIOUS time learning the products so you do the upgrade/migration properly.  (A doctor can recognize many ailments but knows that just because he's a medical professional, he's not equipped to do everything as well as experienced specialists... why should a network that runs a business be treated differently?)
LVL 30

Accepted Solution

pgm554 earned 500 total points
ID: 38770245
While I agree that SBS 2011 is a better bet than Essentials(M$ is forcing you into their cloud),it does have at least one or two advantages,chief among them is the built in back that works with >2tb usb back up drives.

SBS 2011 needs a 3rd party back up to use the new 4k sector drives.

So you will need to factor in that cost.

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