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Best way to upgrade sbs 2003 to a new setup

Posted on 2013-06-01
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Last Modified: 2013-07-04
Hellow folks,

I have a question, we have an old SBS 2003 server with about 10 users that is in need of a big upgrade.

What system is the best option to migrate to?


We use Exchange, Terminal services, file sharing and SQL.
Normally I would migrate to a new Proliant server with SBS 2011 with a premium add-on licence, I would use vmware ESXI 5 to virtualise the current SBS 2003 server install a second SBS 2011 and migrate the data, then i'd install a server 2008 r2 for Terminal services and the SQL.

For the back-up I would use veeam backup software.

Is this the best option? Or should we turn to a online hosting from Microsoft? Or use Hyper-V to cut some licensing costs?

What would you recommend?
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Question by:Benderama
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Norm Dickinson earned 250 total points
ID: 39213410
That sounds like a valid solution with the lowest long term cost. Hosting tends to get expensive and you would have less control over the server.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 39213723
Not good.  Not AWFUL, but not good.

Issues I see:
1. SQL and RDS should NOT be on the same box.  RDS should always be on a separate box.  Any system your users have direct access to is a system you want to ensure does nothing other than allow your users access.

2.  ESXi is free but limited to 32 GB of RAM.  Hyper-V is free and limited to 1 TB of RAM (in the free version, 32 GB in the version included with SBS Premium Add-on.  If you want to host 2 systems, that COULD be a bottleneck.  YES, SBS is limited to 32 GB as is Server standard, but when you start adding more servers, the ESXi limitation handicaps you while you COULD be using the free Hyper-V and not be in any danger of reaching the limit.

What I would recommend is SBS 2011 + Premium Add-On + Server 2012 Standard.  This is a more costly option but if you need RDS, this is the way to do it.  The setup:

1. Purchase 2012 Standard in a volume license and SBS 2011 + Premium Add-on in a volume license - HURRY - it's only available through the end of June!
2. Install Server 2012 Standard on hardware.  Then add Hyper-V role. (ONLY use this physical install for Hyper-V - no file server, RDS, etc).
3. Install SBS 2011 main server and migrate to it.
4. Install Server 2008 R2 (as a downgrade option from 2012) to act as your RDS server.
5. Install Server 2008 R2 from the Premium Add-On and then SQL on that.

Couple more points - DO NOT USE 2012 as a server for anything other than Hyper-V.  Otherwise, you'll have to spend another $350+ on Server 2012 CALs.  SBS 2011 CALs cover access to all servers running 2008 R2 or less in the domain.  Since the only 2012 install is running Hyper-V and Hyper-V doesn't require CALs, you should be fine this way.

Server 2012 Standard comes with TWO virtualization licenses.  You COULD install a forth server, but it's not a requirement at this point given your description.  If you ended up with another service you needed, you could use it, but just know you have it.

I recommend Hyper-V in Server 2012 INSTEAD of Hyper-V in 2008 R2 because Hyper-V in 2012 offers Hyper-V replica (something VMware does not offer in their free product and not available in Hyper-V 2008 R2.  Hyper-V Replica can create a NEAR real-time replica of the existing VMs on another Hyper-V server.  In the event of a hardware issue, the replica can be activated.  You could also replicate OFF-SITE - in the event of a Tornado, Hurricane, Flood, Fire, Alien Invasion, etc, you could have this off-site replica that you could activate within a few minutes and have minimal lost data. (You WOULD need a second physical server somewhere running Hyper-V)
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Author Comment

by:Benderama
ID: 39214281
Thanks alot for your feedback!

It seems I made a mistake in my question tho, I was going to use the VMware vSphere Essentials kit and not the ESXI. Would this be a better option or would you still just go for the Hyper-V setup?

Then I would install the SQL on the SBS 2011 and not the RDS as you recommend.

i'll accept the solution later on if you don't mind, i'd really appiciate multiple opinions on this just to see what options are out there.

Thanks again!
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