Upgrade a 2008 r2 Standard server to 2008 r2 DataCenter edition

aeardley used Ask the Experts™

I've got to upgrade a 2008 r2 Standard Edition server to DataCenter to take advantage of the additional memory I have installed.  It is currently a DC and I have read that I will need to demote, update using dism and the promote the server again.

I just wanted to find out if anyone knows the correct steps - this is a production server and I can't afford for it to be out of action for more than a weekend.


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MASEE Solution Guide - Technical Dept Head
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I think I'm happy with the dism part - except it will want to use a local image.

The bit I'm concerned about is demoting and then promoting the DC, without losing the configuration.

MASEE Solution Guide - Technical Dept Head
Most Valuable Expert 2017

1. Take a full backup first.
2. Demote the server.
3. Upgrade to datacenter

I hope you have an additional domain controller in place
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yo_beeDirector of Information Technology

Just out of curiosity why Datacenter edition for a DC?
Normal best practice is to not have DC's run anything other than the necessary roles and features to run a DC for security control. With that no DC needs memory above Std 2008 R2 limits.  

If you are planning to virtualize servers in your environment and use the Server that currently is running DC as your future Hypervisor I would recommend doing a P2V of your DC and have it stand up on your Hypervisor. Since this method would make the physical server a standalone or a member server you can do the I place upgrade as others suggested. I would not do any upgrade until you know that your DC is working without any issues do the upgrade.

Also if you have more than one DC in your environment the demotion of the DC should have minimal impact.
MASEE Solution Guide - Technical Dept Head
Most Valuable Expert 2017

yo_bee brings up a point I had missed.  You can convert your current 2008 domain controller to a VHD using Sysinternal disk2VHD and attach as a guest.
As suggested above convert it and make sure it is running before shutting down the hardware.

So I suggest you follow this order.
1. Convert to VHD
2. Test the VHD to make sure it is running/working.
3. Format the hardware and install 2008 Datacenter
4. configure this VHD (which is a domain controller)  as a guest in the new datacenter OS.


This is a server I have inherited from another it support company.

The customer is running Remote Desktop service on it and has 72gb installed, but can only use 32gb due to memory limitations of standard edition 2008 r2.

The previous company installed the memory, upgrading from 16gb to improve performance - but couldn't get it to use all 72gb.

It is only a small company and they don't need anything fancy - 1 server is sufficient, they need some remote workers to access a specific program and this is why it was setup this way.

Not the way I would have done it, but that is how it is.

Director of Information Technology
You might be better off purchasing Server 2012 Std. This version can handle up to 4 TB worth of memory.

Here is the matrix for the various version http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38809



A copy of Datacenter will cost in the $5000 to $7000 range per license.

Since you are running a small environment data center is not for you .  This is meant for large environments that will be running large number of servers and the cost are beneficial.  Datacenter allows you to build a Hypervisor and put as many guest machines on it and still be in compliance with Microsoft License model.  

Server 2012 (Std or DC editions) is license per Processor and you can have up to 2 processors per license.  If you have a 4 Processor server you are looking at 2 licenses.  

Here is a snippet from one of the PDF on the MS licensing page

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Do they HAVE Datacenter already?  It's a $5000 product.  Why upgrade a small company to a $5000 product so you can add RAM when 2012 is an $800 product and supports just as much RAM?  Even getting the 2012 standard license allows you to downgrade to 2008 Enterprise which supports far more memory than 2008 Standard.  By upgrading to Datacenter you are further making future upgrades FAR more expensive.

You and your client really should rethink this and make CERTAIN it's what you want to do and that it's the most appropriate thing to do!

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