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SBS 2011 to 2012 Essentials - more than 25 users migration

Posted on 2013-06-19
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Last Modified: 2013-07-23
Hi there.

I apologize if this question has already been asked.

I have an SBS 2011 to 2012 Essentials migration coming up. I have been reading the MS article on how to do it (http://technet.microsoft.com/library/jj721754.aspx) and understand that at the end I can upgrade the server to 2012 Standard so I can increase the limit of users to 75, but keeping (some of) the 2012 Essentials features such as dashboard, remote web access, etc. So all is well and good.

Question is: if the current SBS 2011 already HAS more than 25 users in AD, will I be able to perform the migration to 2012 Essentials without any problems, as long as I convert to 2012 Standard at the end, or do I not have any choice but to do a clean install of 2012 Standard and lose the 2012 Essentials features?

Thanks.
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Question by:Black-Knight
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by:Cris Hanna
ID: 39261242
Is there a particular reason you're leaving SBS 2011 already?
Do you understand the additional costs of going over 25 after being on essentials?

I don't of a technical reason it won't work...just not very cost effective
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Rick Hobbs earned 500 total points
ID: 39261371
The migration will work fine, Run dcdiag and Best Pratices first and resolve any issues (if any), and all should go smoothly. I just did the same thing with 29 user SBS2011 to 2012 in a lab setting and it is working perfectly.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 39261387
I agree with CrisHanna_MVP, why would you move from a product with more features, for which you already have CAL's.  Perhaps we can provide another solution.  The only reason I could see would be wanting the PC backup feature.  That can be had by adding a Windows Storage Server Essentials for less than the cost of 10 CAL's and 1/10th the labor costs. http://www.smallbizserver.com/

Having said that it should work.  If you try adding 26th user to Essentials you get a popup warning you are not in compliance with licensing requirements but it doesn't stop you.
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by:Black-Knight
ID: 39261404
rickhobbs: thanks, that's all I wanted to know.

Rob & Cris: there are limitations with SBS that are just too much at the moment. The main one is redundancy, the fact we cannot replicate active directory. We do not have this problem with Standard 2012.
We want to be able to replicate active directory, split roles between different servers/virtual servers, etc. We are an MSP, this upgrade is part of their plan, no cost involved. We use SPLA licences. We own the hardware & licences.

I think that's easiest and quickest way I can explain without going in further details. Thanks for your opinion and caring about it though.

Cheers,

Rod.
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by:Cris Hanna
ID: 39261414
What in the world gives you the idea that you can't replicate AD?   You can't have another SBS server but you can certainly have as many other DC's as you wish as long as you stay within the 75 CALs.

You can virtualize SBS, additional DC's, etc

Yes you can't split any of the FSMO roles, but not sure why you'd do that anyway.

But you could, with the right setup move DNS, etc.   You can have other LOB servers

So the only restrictions/limitations with SBS 2011 is
a.  75 CALS
b.  Must hold the FSMO roles
c.  Will not support Trusts

beyond that it's a standard server

Exactly what is it from Essentials features that you want to keep?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 39261426
I can't imagine wanting to split FSMO roles in a less than 100 user environment.  That is certainly not done for redundancy but rather performance in multi-server 1000 user environments. And, as ChrisHanna_MVP stated, you can have as many DC's as you like, though it actually complicates a restore.  You might be better looking at virtualizing and replication rather than multiple DC's from a redundancy point of view.
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by:Black-Knight
ID: 39261436
Guys, I apologize if I'm not giving proper information, or being short with my replies, I am not being blunt, but I am a bit busy at the moment so I am unable to provide proper attention to your replies, nor have given you the full facts.

One quick thing I can mention for sure is that it won't be long before we reach the 75 CALs, so moving away from SBS 2011 now will save us a lot of headaches for the future.

I have to admit that I wasn't unsure about the several DCs, I always thought this was not a supported scenario, although possible.
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by:Black-Knight
ID: 39261437
Ps: when I meant roles, I meant not having Exchange & SharePoint on the same box as the DC.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 39261450
SBS works for thousands of systems., and the built-in restore with 2008 and on works very easily and well.  Having all on one box is not a problem so long as one is familiar with managing it with the wizards.

I guess my main issue is buying licenses for 2 2012 servers, Exchange, CAL's, hardware, and labour, with really no gain and all for 20-40 users.

If approaching 75 users, that is a different issue but that also exceeds what the Essentials Transmog process supports so there is little advantage.

Also keep in mind if down the road you have to do a rebuild it is not a fun process building Essentials again, transmogging, and then completing the whole process.   If really approaching 75 users you might be best to skip Essentials altogether for simplicity.

To answer your initial question you should be able to do the migration,, but I see long term complications based on your growth.
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Author Comment

by:Black-Knight
ID: 39261453
Hi Rob - the idea is to migrate to essentials then upgrade to Standard on the spot. If reaching the 75, we can always upgrade to a higher version, without the need of rebuilding from scratch.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 39261463
I will stop here as I have been rather negative, but I do feel you need to evaluate the gain for the cost, and carefully plan your disaster recovery process after you have your new setup.  It will be much more complex than SBS.
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by:Black-Knight
ID: 39261464
Thanks Rob.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 39261492
PS-  You may want to read the "new deployment options" with 2012 R2.  Click on the "read the white paper" link in the following article.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server-essentials/windows-server-2012-r2-essentials.aspx
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