Domain Controller Upgrade

In our environment we have 8 2008 R2 DC's running forest functional level 2008 R2.  I want to upgrade the entire environment to 2012 OS and 2012 functional level.  Half of the systems will be brand new systems and half will be in place upgrades.  I'm looking for some guidance on this project.  To start, I have a few questions...

Can I start by upgrading a server while having other servers still at 2008R2 OS and forest level?
We'd prefer to keep the same server names for the replacement systems.  Is that possible or will I need to change the names?
Any recommended guides for this project?

If anyone has any tips/tricks on this, please pass them along


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Steve WhitcherSystems AdministratorCommented:
In place upgrade of a DC from 2008R2 to 2012 is supported, and is a fairly straightforward process.  The schema will be upgraded automatically when you upgrade the first DC in the forest.  It is not a problem to have a mixed environment with some 2008r2 and some 2012 DC's, but of course the functional level will not be able to be upgraded until all DC's have been upgraded.  

It is also possible to decomission a DC and then re-use the same name and IP on the replacement PC.  There is a documented process for this.  Even so, in my environment, we generally avoid re-using names for DC's, just to be safe. . .
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