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moving a DC to a ESXi host via VMWare Stand Alone Converter

I have 4 x DC's..  The previous admin got DC happy..  One of the DC's I plan to convert from a physical machine to a virtual machine.  I plan on making a system state backup prior to the conversion.  Currently it's carrying all of the FSMO roles.  Should I transfer the roles to a different DC prior to converting/moving it?  I figure the safest route would be to transfer the roles for I didn't want the version that I would mount causing odd AD replication issues for it would be slightly older copy of the replica than the others.  I figure transferring the roles would best.  Or..  Should I simply transfer the roles, demote it, and then assign it's IP to one of the other DC's since it currently answers DNS requests?  I do have a DC that's on an Exchange server but I'm not messing with it.. At least not for now.
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gopher_49
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gopher_49
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gmbaxterCommented:
Rather than virtualise the fsmo role holder, I would build a new VM, add the domain controller role, let everything replicate and then transfer the fsmo roles to the new vm. After allowing for a little time to pass, check the logs and if clear, demote the old fsmo role holder to a member server.
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gopher_49Author Commented:
Do you feel it's safer your route than converting over?
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gmbaxterCommented:
Yes. It is probably a little over cautious but has worked every time for me.
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gopher_49Author Commented:
I don't feel we can be over cautious.   I'm all about being over cautious.  

Thanks!
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jhyieslaCommented:
gmbaxter is correct that this is a better way to virtualize a DC.  I did something like this some time back and went the route he suggests and it worked well.  They only caveat is if you have the name or IP of the DC you'll eventually demote hard coded anywhere, those devices will obviously have an issue with locating the old DC once you demote it.

If that's the case you need to create the new VM server, demote the old one first, let ADSS figure that out, change name and IP of old DC, re-IP the new virtual machine to be the same as the old one and let DNS settle down, rename the VM to the same name as the old one and let DNS settle and finally promote the new VM to a DC and assign any necessary roles. This ultimately keeps the new DC with the same name and IP as the old. During this time, there will be some disruptions along the network, but they work themselves out in a short time frame.

Of course if you do NOT have any name or IP hardcoded then it's a very simple thing to just add a new DC and demote the old one.
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