Replace 2003 Servers with 2012 R2

Hello,

We are going to be replacing some of our Windows Server 2003 remote site servers with new servers running  2012 R2.  All of the remote site servers are backup DC's. They are all on our WAN.  They hold no FSMO roles.  At our main site, we have our primary DC's which are 2008.  I am looking for some good advice on performing this task cleanly and efficiently.  We are ordering 6 replacement servers shortly.  So, I will have them all at once.

Thanks,
Mike
cheesebugahAsked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Virtualize.  Setup the new physical servers with Hyper-V.  Then install a DC in the VM for each.  Just make it a second DC for the site.  Then turn off of the old 2003 server and make sure everything is ok.  Assuming it is, you can power the 2003 BACK ON and then properly demote it.  You can setup the servers UP TO the point of being DCs at one site but I wouldn't promote them until they are in place.
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cheesebugahAuthor Commented:
That is an interesting approach.  I definitely had not thought of the VM aspect.  I'm not sure why though.  Couldn't I just make them a second DC without being virtualized and accomplish the same thing?  Can you elaborate on your idea please?

FYI - All of the remote servers are also print servers and have their own DHCP scope.

Thanks
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
IF you want to potentially waste a license, sure, install to hardware.  2012 R2 allows you to have 2 VMs per purchased copy of 2012 R2 Standard.  You can further ease your hardware upgrade process by having it as a VM to begin with.  Virtualization, not being new (it's been a major part of Windows for 7 years and a major player with VM long before that), in my opinion, your question shouldn't be "why should I virtualize"; it should be why SHOULDN'T I virtualize?  There COULD be valid reasons... but for the most part, the flexibility in hardware and management makes it the preferred route.  Even if you don't think you have a need now, technology changes and in 2 years who is to say you won't end up with a reason to add another server - wouldn't it be nice to be able to just add a VM without worry about hardware or licensing costs?
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hecgomrecCommented:
As I understand your servers are used 1 per location, if this is correct virtualization is not your best solution.

There are several ways to attack this but if you want to go with the same scenario then you just have to install your new server in each location and transfer/move or recreate your services on the new machine (dhcp, dns, etc) and then demote the old 2003.  Reminder:  You can have more than one DHCP server as long as they don't overlap each other!!

If you already have a dedicated line to this "branch" you can always go with an appliance to create a VPN tunnel and have the same type of communication without the cost.

Like I said there are several ways to connect sites/branches, within 1 or more network/organization all depends on your scenario, budget, availability, connection speed and human resources to accomplish the task on hand.
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cheesebugahAuthor Commented:
Yes, there is one 2003 server per branch location.  They are all DC's running AD, DHCP, DNS, Print Server and File Services.  We have an existing 30 meg pipe for each branch.
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cheesebugahAuthor Commented:
Other than the reconfiguration of shared folders, printers and DHCP, I'm not sure what else there is to do?  Some of our applications have pointers to folders on the server.  Has anyone performed this task lately within the same parameters I've mentioned here.  If so, what were some of the issues, if any, you faced?
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hecgomrecCommented:
I hope you don't have apps that point directly to the machine's name (UNC) and you use mapped drives.

If you do use UNC, prepare yourself for a long update/upgrade because as soon as you change your files to the new server no one will be able to access them until you update your apps or you demote your 2003 and change the name to match on your new server.  Of course, if you have mapped drives then nothing to worry, just re-assign the mapping to the new machine and you can do this using a GPO for the selected users.

Good Luck!!
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cheesebugahAuthor Commented:
hecgomrec,

When you're talking about DHCP overlap, are you referring to having the same scopes on both DHCP servers?
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hecgomrecCommented:
Correct!!!

Remember, if you have set up a long lease time you can stop your DHCP at any moment and replicate its settings on the new one if you don't want to migrate it.

Me... I'll recommend not to migrate unless you don't have any other role in that server (this never happens).  Basically, because Microsoft recommends to have another DHCP server during the migration in case a machine needs an IP or a lease expire during the migration.

In the practice, I have never do so... most of the time you will have at least 2 DHCP in place unless your environment is like 25 users or less but is always better to have another machine running the role in case of failure of any.

So based on the recommendation of having at least 2 DHCPs server you can momentarily deactivate one of them and increase the scope to handle the requests in case a lease expires or a new IP is needed, usually like 10 or 20 will be ok unless you already have this amount free on the other scope.  Then create the missing part of the scope on your new server and activate it.  Repeat the process for the scope left on the same server or another server.

Also, you can just create DHCP server or servers on the new machines and when you are done creating everything on it just deactivate from one screen the DHCP on the 2003 and move to the next screen and activate the newly created on your 2012.... done!!!!

If you want to read more about DHCP migrations read here:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd379535(v=ws.10).aspx
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cheesebugahAuthor Commented:
Thank you hecgomrec.  Your answers pretty much covered the scope of this task.  Should be pretty simple.
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hecgomrecCommented:
Your Welcome!

Tip here!!!:     As you have to repeat the process several times, one per branch... it will be helpful if during the first one  you write down your steps as follow up guide for the next ones.

Good Luck!!!
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You clearly have the direction you want.  I would ask hecgomrec to explain his logic on why "virtualization is not your best solution." ?  Do you disagree that a license is being thrown away?  Do you disagree that if business needs change already virtualized environments will make adapting to those changes easier?  I'm not trying to argue - I am trying to learn your perspective... perhaps it will sway my own and will leave both cheesebugah and others who come across this question better informed.
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hecgomrecCommented:
The reason I decided to recommend a non virtualized environment was because it is not needed.

They have only one machine running few roles on it, I don't see the need to add more work for something not needed at the moment, there is no exchange server on any of the branches, Remote desktop server, application server or any other that may require an extra server virtual or not.

The scenario is simple, DHCP and print server.  Yes I know this could be achieve with an appliance instead of a server, but this is how the "asker" wanted to solve his issue.  Like I mentioned there are several ways to handle branch communications but at the end is up to the "asker" to decide his best solution based in his own financial, experience, time frame, budget, etc.

I just provided a solution based on his request and actual scenario but I also mentioned before doing so that there were other solutions out there without even going for server hardware or software but an appliance capable of handling the communication with HQ and keeping one or more VLANs (DHCP), plus the print server, firewall, etc.

I don't hate virtualization but I do think is not the solution for every scenario.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
As I said, I disagree - in my experience, being prepared for the what if with a little extra work today is a much safer investment.  I think the question that should be asked is WHY NOT virtualize?  Can you (as in the person implementing) justify NOT virtualizing?  Does it add a layer of complexity? Yes.  Does it add to management and deployment time?  Yes.  But how much?  In my opinion, once setup, the time required to manage the host is minimal - patching is about the only task really needed (and monitoring of hardware - which you should to do anyway).

While I do think you are correct that virtualization is not the solution for EVERY scenario, I disagree with the position that it shouldn't be the STARTING point.  Start with the plan to virtualize and determine if there's a reason you can't... don't start with the idea that you shouldn't and look for a reason to do it.
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Windows Server 2012

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