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How do I Upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Active Directory?

Posted on 2014-07-21
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Last Modified: 2014-07-25
I am planning on upgrading our business environment form Windows Server 2008 R2 boxes to Windows Server 2012 R2. I also have running on these boxes Exchange 2010 (to be upgraded to 2013), SQL 2008 (also to be upgraded in the near future), Dynamics Great Plains (that we just completed a 2013 upgrade of) and CRM 4.0 (that also will be upgraded in the near future). What Order makes the most sense? I am Virtualizing some of our servers (Share Point 2013 Server, File Server, SQL 2008 server for the SharePoint). I plan after the first of the year we will be buying a new server and SAN at which time we will virtualize our Exchange, SQL (that runs our Great Plains & CRM) & our IIS (WEB) server. The plan currently is to purchase a Server powerful enough to run our Active Directory, DHCP, DNS & WINS. We currently have our PDC on a dedicated physical box that is eight years old. I have read and been told the best way to upgrade to a Windows 2012 Server environment is to start with the PDC and that upgrading the current box could be "tricky", "dangerous" , better to install a NEW box with 2012 and add Active directory and promote it???
I am looking for additional guidance on the BEST path to take...
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Question by:Comm_Nav
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by:irweazelwallis
ID: 40209328
Chunking it down to small portions and steps

am i right in thinking that you have exchange running on a domain controller?
Either way create a new exchange server(s) (with out the AD role on it) and migrate the Email to that.
Remove the old Exchange servers.

then for Active Directory - create two new servers - Server 2012 R2 - either virtual or physical and promote these in as domain controllers
Once you have the new DC's you can migrate the FSMO roles onto the 2012 servers and demote the old DC's
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by:irweazelwallis
ID: 40209335
If you are going to load the domain controllers up with DHCP as well then you can use the failover feature within the 2012 R2 to provide resilience with that

I wouldn't install WINS unless you really need it
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Author Comment

by:Comm_Nav
ID: 40209348
Currently we are running Exchange 2010 Enterprise on a separate physical server. We are also running our SQL 2008 Server that handles Great Plains 2013 and CRM 4.0 on a separate physical server box.
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by:irweazelwallis
ID: 40209369
If you are going to get enough storage and big enough hyper v/vmware hosts then i would do that first before upgrading some of the other platforms this way you could virtualise as you upgrade rather than two sets of interruption and risk.
Also if you have budget then you can get two hosts to give resilience to Active directory and other services

If the exchange is on separate server to Active directory then i would upgrade Active directory as mentioned above - new servers and decommission old and then do exchange
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Author Comment

by:Comm_Nav
ID: 40212392
For further clarification on this, our company VP's okayed money for infrastructure upgrades (adding a 24 disk SAN and a 64 Core, 256 GB RAM server). The server is identical to one that we already have running Hyper-V with three virtual servers (our SharePoint 2013, File Server & SQL server dedicated to our SharePoint server). All servers are running 2008 R2, Exchange is 2010, SQL is 2008. Although the money will not come until January we (I.T. Department) is expected to keep upgrading and preparing for major addition of equipment coming in the new year. So we are expected to keep upgrading!
I believe we can get the money enough to purchase a new server that will act as pour new Primary Domain Controller with DNS and DHCP roles. The box will have 8 to 10 cores and 32 GB RAM and at least 400GB RAID 5 storage. We maintain software assurance which gives us automatically the latest addition Microsoft software.

We want to go to Server 2012. The question I have is: If I install this 2012 Server and give it the AD role then move the FSMO rolls over, demote the old AD box then bring over the DNS & DHCP rolls over will my other Windows 2008 R2 servers co-exist ok until the first of the year when we will be able to upgrade/replace our remaining servers?
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irweazelwallis earned 500 total points
ID: 40213646
I would think about taking that server and making is a Hyper V Host - at 32GB you could easily run 4-6 servers on there. A DC for your environment would be fine with 8GB that way when you get the second server you get 2 DC's.
If you have 2012 R2 Standard you get the rights to 2 VM's per server (and then an additional 2 VM's per standard licence)

If you put 2012R2 in as a DC (don't forget the schema and AD prep) move the FSMO roles and then demote the 2008R2 you won't have any impact on the existing 2008R2 servers. You can also upgrade the forest and domain mode functional levels to 2012. Its only if you have 2000 or NT4 servers still out there that you would have issues.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Comm_Nav
ID: 40220190
Thank you, I know this is question that really asked about a lot of aspects.
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