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Replication from new to current server

I want to have failover disaster recovery by adding a new 2012r2 server and using hyper-v replication to my current/old 2008r2 server.

I have got the new server up and running and now have to prepare the current server for the transition. I have a lot more known unknowns and unknown unknowns than I have known knowns. So, I keep coming here with vague questions to get best practices and how to get from a to z type answers.

As to my 5 year old current/old server running 2008r2 on a ESXi vm, my questions are:

Converting ESXi to Hyper-V machine with Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter-  My data is taking up 60% of the disk space. Will the ESXi be removed or will I have space problems?

Does it matter if I upgrade the old server vm to 2012 first or the host first?

Would you leave the domain controller on the current server or is there any desirable use for the 2008 software and CALs on my old server?

As to 2012 CALs, is it right to place enough user CALs on the new server's vm for our staff and 2 CALs on the current server, one to connect to the new server and one for me to remote into the old server to monitor it from my workstation?

Based on my being a rookie amateur IT guy, what am I not thinking about with this transition from 1 to 2 servers that I should research so that a weekend is long enough for the transition to succeed?

Thanks, Dan
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Daniel Watrous
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Daniel Watrous
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2 Solutions
 
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
2012r2 server and using hyper-v replication to my current/old 2008r2 server.

Won't work, both hypervisors must be the same operating system/level

Converting ESXi to Hyper-V machine with Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter-  My data is taking up 60% of the disk space. Will the ESXi be removed or will I have space problems?

You will have space problems.. you need at least 2x the configured drive size (the fixed disk size of the virtual disks)  add another 10% just for safety.

Would you leave the domain controller on the current server or is there any desirable use for the 2008 software and CALs on my old server?
This has to be decided on a case by case scenario.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
replication is good for disaster recovery but not for High Availability as it may be 5-10 minutes delayed (again this will depend upon the bandwidth you have allocated to replication (it can use a LOT of bandwidth.. Remember BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP .. replication is not a replacement for a good backup policy.
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kevinhsiehCommented:
First of all we need to get clear what you have. It sounds to me like you have 1 or more VMs running on VMware ESXi. I don't know if you have any other physical servers.

I think that you want to buy or already have a second server to run your VMs if the first server dies, and that you are thinking that Hyper-V Replica is a good way to do this this.

Before you look at replication, what are you doing for backups and recovery? You should have that squared away before you look at replication or high availability, neither of which are a substitute for being able to backup and recover your systems.

We can have a discussion about server and CAL licensing after we get clarification on some of these other issues.
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kevinhsiehCommented:
BTW, converting an ESXi host to Hyper-V is a destructive process that requires that you format all of your drives on that host. You need to move everything off, wipe and reload Hyper-V, and then bring the converted VMs back over.
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Daniel WatrousAuthor Commented:
Sorry to not get back sooner and thanks for weighing in.

I have daily backups of files and images, onsite in 2 separated NASs and also offsite.

I have an adequate 5 year old  server with 2008r2 and one ESXi vm serving 17 staff in a medical office.

Disaster to me is trying to get a server, get it working, loading the apps and data, etc which could easily take a week. Rather than pay $300/month for an outside IT to maintain/replace my server, I would rather get redundant servers with replication for failover, which pencils out in 2 years.

I want to upgrade the old server to 2012r2 so that the replication can work, but the Microsoft Virtual Machine converter only works with 2008 is my understanding. Since I have a disk space constraint, are you saying it would be better to backup an image, remove ESXi, format the disks, install 2012r2, set up a hyper-v vm, and restore from the image instead of using the Converter?

Thanks,

Dan
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