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jands

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New Server Implementation

Hello,

I am getting ready to do a server migration to new hardware. I just want to get some input/advice on whether I should go with Server 2012 or 2008 R2. The customers environment is a mixed environment of Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows Vista. The server is being used as a fileserver, DHCP, DNS, SQL Server for the most part. They have shares configured for accessing files, quickbooks data and a shared database. I have never used Server 2012 and am just a little leery due to the fact this customer is a medium size business and cannot afford issues after install due to compatibility and things of that sort with server 2012. So any opinions/advice would be greatly appreciated?
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Stelian Stan
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I have never used Server 2012 and am just a little leery due to the fact this customer is a medium size business and cannot afford issues after install due to compatibility and things of that sort with server 2012.

Just based on that I'd go with 2008 R2 in your case.  If you haven't been able to test or use 2012 then don't go in with something you are not comfortable with.   In the coming months/years try and start learning and building labs etc.

Thanks

Mike
Window server is supported for a pretty long period of time.  Because you aren't familiar with 2012 I would go with what you are familiar with.

Testing a new server software in a live work environment is generally not best practice, unless you have read all documentation thoroughly; and even in this situation is still rather iffy.
You and the client need to do your due diligence and confirm that all products run on WHATEVER OS you intend to use.  If you're not familiar with a product then you need to get familiar using trials and labs - that doesn't mean be an expert, but walk in knowing the basics of what you're doing.

Further, you need to install things in an appropriate forward thinking way that maximizes the client's investment.  I sincerely hope you are planning on virtualizing.  I also hope you are planning on buying a volume license so that the client is better prepared for disaster recovery and can move the license to other hardware if necessary.  It's also important you understand licensing - you do know that you can legally install TWO virtual copies of a server with a 2012 license?  Only ONE physical, but TWO virtual (one reason why you should not view virtualization as an option but rather as a REQUIREMENT).  None of these things have been mentioned in your question so I want to make sure you are aware and you improve if necessary and the client is happy with your work and knowledge.
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jands

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This is a single server environment doing very little work. Why would virtualization be so highly recommended? What benefits will the customer gain? There are three backups in place, redundant power supplies, redunandat hard drives for os and data.
So you don't want to virtualize?  I'll tell you the benefits *I* see... but what are the benefits YOU perceive to NOT virtualizing?

Hyper-V Replica - which can replicate a VM off site in near real time for an off-site backup of sorts.  Why?  Does your area ever experience major issues like a Tornado.  Hurricane.  Fire.  Theft.  Earthquake.  Alien Invasion.  Asteroid Impact. (2 or 3 I would doubt... but you never know).  Do you have a redundant motherboard?  Would you (or the client) like the ability to easily replace the server?  With a virtualized server, all you do is export the VM - depending on the size this can take a few minutes to a few hours but it's otherwise VERY EASY and doesn't require a lot of skill.  A very QUICK and easy upgrade.

What happens if, a year from now, your company/client decides to implement a new piece of software that the software vendor REQUIRES live on it's own server.  If you don't virtualize today, you put yourself in a position where it takes MANY hours to convert your physical install into a tested and working virtual install.  OR you have to now buy a new physical server, new OS license, and the installation time.  VERY expensive.

Really, it doesn't matter the size of the company or server, these days, you're not doing the right thing in (in my opinion based on nearly 20 years of experience and frequent conversations with other consultants and clients) by installing to hardware.  You're handicapping the company.  NOT GOOD.
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Thanks.  We will be performing the upgrade soon.  I'll report back.
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Ok so I went with a Server 2012 box. I have another question: I would like to install the new box in the environment, promote it to a domain controller, and transfer the FSMO roles and then demote the old server. My question is simply will they still have access to there shares/mapped network drives/sql databases? I wouldnt see why not but just want to be sure. I want to do this first and then begin data migration another day if possible.
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2012 works great!!