Best way to migrate file server shares to a new SAN and server

We are in the planning phase for migrating our companies file shares to a new SAN and also a new file server.  We are currently sharing them out from a Server 2003 box and an EMC CX300 SAN.  We are migrating them to a virtualized environment and the new file server will be a 2012 R2 VM and the storage will be on a new Equalozic P4100 SAN.

My question is what would be the best way to migrate this data, roughly 4-6 Tb, while keeping the data live for the end users?  I have read a little bit about setting up DFS, Distrubited File System, and was thinking of using replication to migrate the data.  Is this a viable option or is there a better way to accomplish this?

I was thinking of setting up replication from the 2003 box to the 2012 VM and then letting them run that way until all data has been transfered to the new SAN.  At that point could we take the 2003 box offline and just run off the 2012 VM?  

thank you,
aksealifeIS ManagerAsked:
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
couple of ways to do this.  

If going to a virtualized server than DFS should work.  If you don't want to use DFS you can use robocopy with /mir to replicate everything over and then at some point do a cutover which should be quickly.  With DFS you can map to new storage easily otherwise you'll need to redo login scripts, etc..
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aksealifeIS ManagerAuthor Commented:
So DFS looks to be the best option if i want to migrate during business hours.  

another thought was to leave the 2003 server up and running as long as there is space on that SAN as a replication server for redundancy?
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
2003 doesn't support DFS. You'll need a 3rd party replication tool or you'll need to schedule a maintenance window. You can copy a majority of the data while the old server is love, then the interruption during the maintenance window is only to sync changes since the initial copy. That's what I'd recommend in this case. True replication can get tricky when it comes to updating and notifying client machines and applications of the change.
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aksealifeIS ManagerAuthor Commented:
I wasn't aware that DFS was not supported on 2003, i thought it was available as an update or add-on?  If that is the case then maybe robocopy and a late night are in my future.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
DFS was introduced in 2003 R2. Like many nee features, it was used as a selling/reason to upgrade/purchase SA. So no, it was not backported or offered as an add-in.
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aksealifeIS ManagerAuthor Commented:
I will double check, but i believe we are running 2003 R2.  I should have specified, i apologize.

I did verify, we are running Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition.  

So i guess the question is, is it worth setting up and using DFS, or would it be simpler to just us robocopy and make the switch to the new fileserver after hours?
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Robocop is certainly simpler and faster. DFS can provide a zero downtime scenario. Which is more important to you?
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aksealifeIS ManagerAuthor Commented:
I think simpler and faster is the more important option.  I was trying to avoid coming in after hours, but it may be the best way.

thank you all for your input.
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Windows Server 2003

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