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SBS 2011 to Server 2012 Essentials using same hardware

Alan Bateman
Alan Bateman asked
I would like to 'upgrade' an SBS 2011 server to run Server 2012 R2 Essentials (with 365 Online Exchange).  We do not want to change the hardware which is more than adequate to run the new setup. But how do I 'upgrade' ? The only documentation I can find refers to a migration involving having your old server and your new server both online for a 21 day period while you move roles and data from one to the other.  But I only have one physical server.  Does anyone have a detailed methodology perhaps involving a temporary swing server and a migration to it and then back from it.  If I restored an image of my current server onto a 'swing' server what ewlse would I need to do to it to get it to boot alongside its 'clone' in my domain.  Need some guidance. Thanks.
Watch Question

You could use Hyper v Disk 2 VHD to backup the SBS server https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee656415.aspx

Then you could restore the SBS server on the same hardware if it is setup as a Hyper V host and do the upgrade from here.

I would be testing that VHD before I did anything as well. The tool above will turn your Physical machine into a VHD file that can be loaded into Hyper V.
Cris HannaSr IT Support Engineer

I would contact SBSmigration.com  these are exactly the scenarios they have built kits for.   The owner, Jeff Middleton has been an SBS MVP for many years.
Alan BatemanDirector


Firstly, apologies for the long absence from this forum.  I believe this would've been a viable and probably the best solution had I had the confidence to start playing around with Hyper-V and vhd's (of which I had no experience whatsoever) in a serious production environment.  In the end I popped out the system disks (a mirrored pair) and built a brand new system on new disks over a weekend. I then popped the old disks back and allowed the customer to use the system for another week. Then , weekend 2, I popped back in my new disks and dropped the workstations from the old domain and koined them to the new domain. Not elegant, I know, but it worked and I knew what I was doing since it wasn't very high tech.  Thanks anyway.