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Migrating From Older to Newer Server OS, Exchange in Particular

Posted on 2014-01-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-03-03
Hello Everyone,

I've been looking around trying to find a method of migrating from Server 2003 to a later version of Windows server, most commonly the scenario we'll be faced with is moving from SBS 2003 to SBS 2011.  Now I've seen the migration mode stuff of SBS 2011 but I've never worked with it, and the few times that I've had the opportunity the source server was either screwed up from the people before us, or I got paranoid because of compromised user accounts.  when it comes to SBS though I really don't mind setting up a new domain because there usually isn't that many users and computers, although it would be nice to proceed without having to do so, in particular what I want to try and move over more seamlessly is the exchange database.  Currently every time we move a client over to a new domain and server the actual process of moving the files and each computer usually takes about 4 to 8 hours depending on how many computers they have, not counting the time of transferring large amounts of data.  But what takes the largest amount of time is the moving the emails.  Last time we did one 80 percent of the nearly 24 hours we spent on site was spent trying to get large exchange profiles moved over by exporting everything to pst files and then reimporting them all via outlook.  And they weren't that big, they only had about 45 computers and we had a team of 4 guys not counting myself, so it shouldn't have taken that long obviously.  Does anyone know of a better and more reliable method of doing this?  I'm confident that if we could find a way to do so then a migration for a client with around 40 to 65 users would take a day, two days tops. (figuring on 8 hour days)

Another question I had was the moving of redirected user files, with those I typically use allway sync, the problem is that if it was setup to give the user exclusive access then I get access denied on those files within allway sync, in that case I have to go through and manually change the permissions on each file allowing the user I'm logged on as to have access, which usually involves taking ownership, a process that can be quite time consuming when working thousands of files and a lot of times I have to re-do the permissions on the new server when they get copied.  So my question is does anyone know of a tool that can look past the permissions and run the copy, preferably not having to boot from a CD, but I'll do what I have to.

Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer.
Question by:ctagle
LVL 59

Accepted Solution

Cliff Galiher earned 2000 total points
ID: 39794827
The problems you describe is exactly why you SHOULD consider standard SBS migration processes. AD is migrated so file ACLs are preserved through a simple Robocopy. And by having both machines in the same domain, exchange can automate moving (and upgrading) mailboxes without the pain of exporting and importing. Particularly when dealing with the 2GB PST limit.

Having done many, and consulted on many more, I can comfortably say that in MOST cases, migrating is easier. Even with a screwed up source server. A little diligence cleaning up entries (an hour or so) before starting the migration and you can almost always have smooth sailing.

Author Comment

ID: 39794858
Thanks for the reply,

interesting, forgive me for my ignorance, but what entries are you referring to?  I'll be doing some testing on a mock up environment when my VMware server comes in.  Will be setting up a couple of virtual machines and will try doing a migration between the two.  Would be nice to simulate a screwed up server as well but not sure if I know how to do that one lol.
LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39794968
Deleting unused accounts. Removing orphaned objects in AD (old servers, for example, that were retired, but never cleaned out of AD or DNS.) Going through group policies and removing unused/unneeded ones and updating ones that have server names referenced. Login and startup scripts. Stuff of that nature. Since each environment is unique, those can vary. We actually have a documented discovery and audit process we use before performing a migration and is part of on boarding any new client. Most of those things can be found through regular network documentation processes similar to that.
Free Backup Tool for VMware and Hyper-V

Restore full virtual machine or individual guest files from 19 common file systems directly from the backup file. Schedule VM backups with PowerShell scripts. Set desired time, lean back and let the script to notify you via email upon completion.  

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 39795235
the SWING MIGRATION its the way to go for upgrading SBS and worth the fee.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 39797518
You can follow the below info:


You should only consider exporting/importing emails when there moving from 2003 to 2013 and you can't use a 2010 in between or if mailbox sizes are very little.

To copy shares.... ROBOCOPY is your tool...

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39900892
Told me what I needed to know, that the way to go to avoid the problems I'm talking about I need to use the migration tool.  Thanks.

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