Migrating DC from physical machine to a VM

I need to move Active Directory from an existing physical machine (roles: ADDS, DHCP, DNS, IIS, Network Policy and Access Services and Print and Document Services) and put it on a VM (Hyper-V) as a guest: 2012 R2 Standard, 8 GB RAM, Intel Xeon CPU E5-2430 v2 @2.50 GHz (6 cores, 12 logical processors).
I plan on building a fresh VM install of 2012 R2, activate the AD-DS role as well as other FSMO roles and promote it as a DC.

***My question is, how do I migrate all the Active Directory data in this scenario?  I see a lot of stuff out there on this but nothing that matches the scenario given above. Would I be safe in just setting AD up with the same domain name, server settings, DNS, DHCP scope settings the same etc. and then demote the old DC and go live with the new VM DC?

*Note: this is a standalone DC, single DC

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Thank you!
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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
how do I migrate all the Active Directory data in this scenario?

When you promote a new DC it will replicate the entire active directory database (ntds.dit) and all directory partitions. SO when you spin up your new DC it will replicate from the current one. From there make sure that your clients are pointing to the new DC for DNS and also make sure that you transfer the FSMO roles to the new DC if you plan on decommisstioning it.

when you transfer the PDC role you will also need to make sure that you configure the external time source as well.

Would I be safe in just setting AD up with the same domain name, server settings, DNS, DHCP scope settings the same etc. and then demote the old DC and go live with the new VM DC?

I would add the roles one by one. First starting with promoting your DC. Once that is done, you can demote the physical DC. It will continue to operate as a DHCP server. At that point your can install and configure the DHCP role on the new VM.

I would also like to add that you should have a second DC for redundancy incase something happens to the other DC. if you don't and your DC fails you will be forced to either restore from backup or re-build the entire domain. At this point users will no longer be able to login to the domain and access files etc.

Also having a DC as a Guest VM, if your Host fails then you are also out of luck. It is always a good idea to have a physical DC in the mix for situations like this, even if the physical DC has minimal resources.


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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Install the guest OS, install the ADDS, DNS, DHCP, Print, File Services, and other roles required.

DCPromo the new server into the existing domain. Verify replication, SYSVOL, and NETLOGON.

You can migrate DHCP over or Authorize, set up scope and options, and finally set up reservations on the new server.

Print Management has an excellent Export/Import module.

FSMO Roles would need to be transferred.

Data and LoBs if needed transferred after setting up the necessary shares.

While the list is not totally comprehensive that's about it.
ImImInAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, very helpful!
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ImImInAuthor Commented:
How do I know if I have FSMO roles and how do I transfer them?
Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
Open another question and link me.

Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Elevated CMD:

netdom /query fsmo
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