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Replace Windows Server 2003 with QNAP NAS

We're an organization with 14 staff in one office.  We've had a 2003 server for 10 years and it's become quite flaky in the last few months.  Back in the day the server ran Exchange and SQL for local applications.  As all of our services are now online, it's become nothing more than a file server.

I picked up a QNAP 470 Pro with the intention of using it purely as storage but it looks like I can replace the 2003 server, even the Active Directory functions.  I could use some advice on choosing the best scenario.  I've identified 3 options.  I'm sure there are more.

1. Do away with the windows server and active directory.  There's some appeal to this in the long term as services move online and windows 8 does a decent job of syncing user profiles across machines.  The QNAP has basic permission options that would suffice for us.  Would I need to migrate users to workgroups and create new local profiles for everyone or could I just leave them all on the old domain accounts?

2. Replace the server and use the QNAP as a new active directory server.  Is it possible to have the QNAP join the domain and then take over as the PDC or will I need to start from scratch, creating new profiles just like in scenario 1?

3. Keep the old server and have the QNAP join the domain and just provide file serving functions.  This is my least favorite option because it means keeping an unreliable machine up and running just because I couldn't get 1 or 2 to work.

Has anyone done this before?  I'd love any feedback on possibilities and pitfalls.
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BasilFawlty001
Asked:
BasilFawlty001
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1 Solution
 
nappy_dCommented:
I had  similar dilema.  I too have a QNAP at a client site.  What I did with the client was to migrate to Active Directory in the cloud.  AD is a better solution for centralized management of Windows(AND Mac workstations).  

Here is some documentation on this implementation

http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-networks-create-site-to-site-cross-premises-connectivity/

AD and QNAP
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BasilFawlty001Author Commented:
Thanks for the response.

That's an interesting option.  Were you able to migrate existing AD accounts to Azure or did you need to recreate them and migrate local profiles?
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nappy_dCommented:
Yes. You will have to join the azure server to your local school and then remove your 2003 server after you transfer roles.
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