Windows 2003 to 2012, Domain Upgrade ?

I have a basic Windows 2003 domain
with no SQL, Exchange, SharePoint, etc

 1. Has anyone done a "2003 to 2012" Domain Upgrade, skipping 2008 ?
 2. Does anyone have a recommend REMOTE VENDOR to contact if/when
    issues happen since I don't have an active Microsoft support contract ?
Who is Participating?
James HConnect With a Mentor IT DirectorCommented:
I just recently migrated a domain from 2003 to 2012. Yes you can do it, you just have to ensure your domain functional level is at 2003 (meaning there are no Server 2000 in your domain).  

You can always post here if you have any issues as there are many competent posters who can all help figure out any issues. However, if you really want a "live" person to call there are always local MSP's (depending on your location) that would be willing to lend a hand.
it_saigeConnect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:
There is really not much to worry about.  So long as your Forest and Domain Functional levels are at Windows 2003, it is a simple matter of adding the 2012 Server and adding the Role that adds the server as a domain controller.  Server 2012 will take care of the remainder with regards to preparing the domain.

After you get the server added as a domain controller.  Then your primary concerns are DNS, replication, FSMO and DHCP (of these, DNS and replication are, usually, handled automatically).

Are you planning on retiring the 2003 server?

Cliff GaliherConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I have done a *ton* of 2003 to 2012 migrations recently. You'd think server 2003's extended support was ending soon or something!

The process itself is pretty rock-solid, but just like any migration, the health of the old server is singularly the biggest item that can predict success or failure and 2012 does nothing significant to change that...for better or worse.

As far as remote vendors, keep in mind that EE policies don't allow experts to solicit work or promote specific companies for such things. We have a code of ethics we agree to in order to participate here. However there are plenty of listserv's, google and yahoo groups, and other similar communities that cater to the IT Pro, and several that have smaller sub-categories (small business IT Pro, VAR/VAP, MSP, etc) and you can quickly lurk and see which remote service providers are "reputable" and are active in the community as well as have garnered a solid reputation.  They are out there, and not too tough to find.

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finance_teacherAuthor Commented:
Can I keep one of my three sites as a 2003 DC since I plan
to close the site about 90 days after my 2012 upgrade ?

If not, I will wait until it is closed
before updating the two sites to 2012.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Yes, bit the functional levels will have to stay at 2003. So many of the new features in ADDS, such as the directory recycle bin, will not he available to you until the 2003 DC is retired.
finance_teacherAuthor Commented:
All 3 DCs are at DOMAIN functional level 2003, FOREST functional level 2000

Can I upgrade 2 DCs to 2012, but keep them running as DOMAIN functional level 2003, FOREST functional level 2000 until I close down my 3rd location in 60 days so I don't have to upgrade this 2003 machine ?
Short answer; No.  *Both* the Domain and Forest functional level have to be set to at least the Windows 2003 level for Windows Server 2012.

Understanding Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) Functional Levels

There should not be a concern here as all three of your DC's are currently 2003 servers.

James HIT DirectorCommented:
As i stated previously, you must raise all levels to 2003 in order to join a 2012 server as a DC.
finance_teacherAuthor Commented:
Ok, please post to my 2nd issue on if you have any possible solutions.
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