Help upgrading from 2008 & 2003 to 2012 & 2008 Servers

I currently have a 2008 Standard AD, DNS & file server and a 2003 Standard BDC running AD & DNS.  I have just put together a new 2012 R2 server and I want to replace the 2008 Server, then rebuild that server and add it back as the BDC.  I want to remove the 2003 entirely and clean it off of active directory.  I would like to rename the 2012 R2 and use it to replace the 2008 Standard Server (I want to configure the 2012 R2 with the same shares, names, IP, etc... and replace the 2008 entirely), then I want to remove and rebuild the 2008 and make it a BDC running 2008 R2 or 2012 R2.

So to summarize:
1.  I want to remove 2003 BDC completely and cleanly
2.  Bring in the 2012 R2 to completely replace the 2008 with the same name, IP address, shares, DNS settings, etc.
3.  Then remove the 2008  server completely so I can rebuild that 2008 server and make it a 2008 R2 or 2012 R2 acting as the BDC.
4.  Be able to use the logins and profiles on the workstations that are currently joined to the domain without having to rebuild all of them.

I currently have the 2008 Standard server on IP 192.168.0.199 and it is called RCSSERVER
I have the 2003 server called RCSPC2BK at IP 192.168.0.197
My new 2012 R2 is called RCSSERVER2 and there is no fixed IP yet.

I am recreating the shares on the RCSSERVER2 to be the same as they are on the RCSSERVER and I will move or copy the data from the RCSSERVER to the RCSSERVER2 as soon as I know how I am proceeding and I am sure that the permissions will be the same.

This will give me a 2012 R2 AD, DNS and file server with the same name and IP of the original 2008, and a BDC running 2008 or 2012 R2 running AD (BDC) and DNS.  

I am not sure of how I can replace the 2008 server with the 2012 R2 with the same name.  Should I remove the 2008 entirely, raise the 2003 to PDC then capture the roles and promote the 2012 R2 to the PDC.  Then demote and remove the 2003, rebuild the 2012/2008 R2 and add it as the BDC with the same configuration as the 2003?  It can be a different name then.  The primary AD server name is currently RCSSERVER.  I would like that to still be the PDC but, of course, on the new 2012 R2 machine.

If it is too difficult I guess I could remove the 2003 server, leave the the RCSSERVER2 as the new name, transfer the roles and data to the new RCSSERVER2 and once I got the roles, remove the old RCSSERVER, rebuild it and add it back into the mix.  

Any guidelines would be really appreciated as I have to do all this over 1 weekend.  These are live production machines.

Thank you in advance, please feel free to ask for any additional info I might have left out.

Marshall
Marshall KassOwnerAsked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Important question?  Are you wasting hundreds if not thousands of dollars by NOT virtualizing?  because of the things you want to do would be FAR EASIER if you virtualized.

I currently have a 2008 Standard AD, DNS & file server and a 2003 Standard BDC running AD & DNS.  I have just put together a new 2012 R2 server and I want to replace the 2008 Server, then rebuild that server and add it back as the BDC.  I want to remove the 2003 entirely and clean it off of active directory.  I would like to rename the 2012 R2 and use it to replace the 2008 Standard Server (I want to configure the 2012 R2 with the same shares, names, IP, etc... and replace the 2008 entirely), then I want to remove and rebuild the 2008 and make it a BDC running 2008 R2 or 2012 R2.

Proper terminology is important.  There is no such thing as a BDC in Active Directory (AD) domains.  In NT4 domains - dead for the past 15 years.  Lesson on AD vs. NT domains - NT domains, the PDC was a read/write copy of the directory. The BDC was a READ ONLY copy of the directory.  In AD, ALL DCs are read/write.  Hence there can be no BDC.

You might be thinking the FSMO roles define PDC - but "Primary" means one single PRIMARY - the FSMO roles can be separated onto up to 5 DCs... so a single primary is often not the accurate.  What you have are DCs with Global Catalogs (GCs) and FSMO Role Holder(s).  Learn about the FSMO roles - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/197132

So to summarize:
1.  I want to remove 2003 BDC completely and cleanly
Translating - you want to remove the 2003 server completely and cleanly.  Fine, demote it with DCPROMO.
2.  Bring in the 2012 R2 to completely replace the 2008 with the same name, IP address, shares, DNS settings, etc
3.  Then remove the 2008  server completely so I can rebuild that 2008 server and make it a 2008 R2 or 2012 R2 acting as the BDC.
.
Replace the 2008 server with 2012 - no problem - keep the same name and IP... why?  Is your network poorly designed to begin with?  A properly designed network shouldn't care about the name or ip of the DC.  I'll get back to this later.

4.  Be able to use the logins and profiles on the workstations that are currently joined to the domain without having to rebuild all of them.
This really shouldn't be a problem.  Period.  Unless you somehow destroy your domain because you're not careful and don't have backups, this should not even be a point to mention.  If the migration is handled properly there is no risk of a problem for these items.

I'm going to assume you're going to virtualize this and bring your network into modern times so the advice below works under that assumption.
I currently have the 2008 Standard server on IP 192.168.0.199 and it is called RCSSERVER
I have the 2003 server called RCSPC2BK at IP 192.168.0.197
My new 2012 R2 is called RCSSERVER2 and there is no fixed IP yet.

I am recreating the shares on the RCSSERVER2 to be the same as they are on the RCSSERVER and I will move or copy the data from the RCSSERVER to the RCSSERVER2 as soon as I know how I am proceeding and I am sure that the permissions will be the same.
Use Disk2VHD on your data drive to convert the drive into a VHDx (I may refer to it as VHD, but these days you should only use VHDX) file which you can then mount in your new server - this will easily preserve all your permissions and ensure there are no errors copying files due to path limits or anything else - Disk2VHD - if the disk is healthy - works FANTASTICALLY well.  (I used robocopy at a client recently and 10% of the files were corrupt and required restoring from backup - PROBABLY an anomaly but rather than hope and pray - if the VHD gets created successfully you should be fine).  Plus Disk2VHD is fast.  You can also export the lanmanserver registry key to get a copy of all your shares and share permissions provided you keep the drive letter the same.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You've provided a lot of information and normally that's a good thing... but I think from what you've said, you're seriously over complicating things and doing things you shouldn't.  As an IT Pro and someone who's been answering questions here for more than 18 years, I'm concerned. that you can do this successfully - major network upgrades - IF YOU DON'T HAVE EXPERIENCE.  Experience helps address unexpected issues and makes sure you don't do things that cause problems down the road.  I don't know your skill set, but it doesn't sound like you're sufficiently experienced to be the one to do such a major network upgrade.

If you really want to be the one to do this, you should be doing it first, MULTIPLE TIMES, in a lab environment and learning what to do, what happens, and what to expect, asking questions along the way.  But you should not be doing this to a production environment for at least a month (and that assumes you're going to be spending the major part of your work day - everyday - for the next 4 weeks learning this).

Seriously, for your own good and that of the network - UNLESS your skill level is greater than your question suggests to me - hire a pro to migrate you - then you manage it.  Or learn it first.

I'll give you some guidance to how you should be moving forward but I think it would be easier for myself (and anyone else reading this question) if you clarify and make it more succinct.  What do you have now in terms of Physical and virtual servers.  What do you want to end up with, in terms of physical and virtual servers.  How many licenses for each type of Windows server you want in the end do you have?
Marshall KassOwnerAuthor Commented:
Hello Lee:
I would first like to say I am grateful for any assistance offered to me.  However, I think that it is important that assistance be offered with a gracious nature.  Just to clear the air, I too have some experience in IT.  I actually have built an IT company, by myself and alone, and have been very successful for over 23 years!  I started in DOS, Lantastic, Win 3.11, NT, 2000, 2003, 2008 and now 2012.  I have installed Citrix servers, terminal servers, exchange, SQL and of course the dreaded SBS products.   I have more than three dozen networks I am actively managing and over 450 corporate and individual computers under my care.  I have never advertised and I have succeeded via word-of-mouth only.  I am self-educated and I do deal with primarily smaller companies, usually under 25 users, however I do have some customers larger than that, my largest having over 90 users.

That said, I also post my question using simple language because not everyone is as technically astute as you and not everyone speaks English as their first language. I try to make my requests simple and easy to follow and allow all levels of people to understand what I am asking, someone might not be a MCSE and yet have something to offer.

If you care to continue this dialogue, which I would appreciate, and really be helpful, please tone down the criticism.

I know how to, and have upgraded this network from NT over the years.  I am always looking for new techniques and ideas to improve my skills or make life easier on me.  This is MY in-house network.  I always make a similar request when I am upgrading because, as I mentioned, I am open to new ideas and also as it is MY network, I am looking for ways to speed up the process as I do not have a lot of time to devote to this upgrade, I do not get paid for this work.

My question was to see if someone had a simpler way to actually "replace" my current network, quickly and efficiently as it has been working without a hitch for the last 6 years as is.  I am replacing my 2008 server because of some hardware problems and blue-screen issues I have been having for a while now.  It has to do with the on-board RAID controller and I BSOD when the I/O gets too active, usually on backups or transferring huge amounts of data.  The 2003 server replacement is for obvious reasons.

Today's greeting
I am intrigued by your suggestion of virtualizing, however I do have the two physical servers (a brand new one with 7 TB of storage, 1 RAID5 array with (3) 3TB SAS drives and (1) 3TB SAS drive as a spare, and a 2nd RAID 5 array (4) 500GB SATA drives in a RAID5 array) as well as my older 2008 server which will do very nicely when rebuilt.  

I have two RAID volumes in my current system - Please refer to "RAID5.jpg" attached.  These are partitioned as shown in "Drives configuration.jpg" also attached. It currently has a RAID5 array consisting of (5) 500GB SATAs  with a 6th as the spare, two additional 750GB SATA drives on the array as extra storage space, an internal 300GB ATA drive exclusively dedicated for Windows Server Backups and copious external ESATA and USB drives as well as two NAS drives (not shown) .  Once I transfer the roles to my new server, I will considerably downsize this server and it will be a perfectly fine secondary server for AD and DNS functions.

Current RAID ArrayDisk Manager view of current drives
As a Microsoft partner, and Microsoft OEM, I have multiple licenses for both 2012 Server as well as 2008 for my in-house use.

I am not overly experienced in virtualization beyond my experiences with Terminal Server and Citrix, which of course is software based virtualization. Hardware wise I did support a virtualized HP environment on a HP Proliant running Server 2003 SBS for 3 people.  That was quickly reconfigured as a simple 2003 stand-alone server - they were not using exchange, SQL or  required anything more than a place to store some docs and QuickBooks files.

So - back to me.  I have my Primary GC and FSMO roles on the 2008 server - the 2003 is only there as a backup for the AD.  I would like to replace my hardware with the new and do it in as simple a manner as possible,  I can add change the "RCSSERVER" and make it "RCSSERVER2" to the scripts I run at login and transfer the file server roles to the new 2012 server to connect my workstations, and I can change my workstation's primary and secondary DNS to reflect the new server's IP, I was just trying to be lazy and not have to run around from PC to PC to do so.

If you think it would be a better idea to virtualize, I would love to hear why that would benefit me in my particular circumstances, taking into account that running Disk2VHD on my current server to virtualize the whole thing at once would most probably fail under the circumstances.  If I can create a virtualized copy of my current server's system drive ("C") only and transfer my existing Server configuration settings to it, then recreate the same volumes and re-share them within the virtualized environment, I could slowly and methodically transfer my data to that virtualized environment I guess.  Is that possible or desirable?

BTW - the BSOD dialogue box was what I was greeted with this AM when I logged in (see BSOD.jpg - attached)

This holds true for the data transfer regardless of where I am transferring it to.  My current server can BSOD when transferring large amounts of data to an external USB, ESATA, NAS or my cloud backup.  It is very random and after troubleshooting this homegrown server (SuperMicro X7DB8+ MBD & Chassis built in late 2008 which was repossessed from a customer who went under in 2009) for many month, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and just get a new server.

So there it is.  I am interested in how I would use virtualization in this simple environment, or if not, removing the 2003 server, then just promoting the new server to hold the GC and FSMO roles and eventually removing the 2008 server and readding it later then adding it as secondary server in my AD domain, in the fastest, most efficient way possible.

Again, thank you in advance for any and all assistance or insight.

Marshall
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The comments below are posted as I believe they are points that should be considered by others.
That said, I also post my question using simple language because not everyone is as technically astute as you and not everyone speaks English as their first language.
Agreed that not everyone speaks English as their first language – but this is even MORE reason to post TECHNICALLY ACCURRATE questions.  I’ve met hundreds of people from all over the world and while some definitely have difficulty with English, those that know the technology DO know the technical terms and implementation requirements.  Explaining with proper terms ensures they can provide proper responses.
I try to make my requests simple and easy to follow and allow all levels of people to understand what I am asking, someone might not be a MCSE and yet have something to offer.
When it comes to technical questions such as yours you don’t want suggestions from people who don’t know what they are doing – that leads you down the wrong path.  People who don’t understand should feel free to post questions to learn, but not to advise.  That’s unwise and doing a disservice to those who actually need help.

I know how to, and have upgraded this network from NT over the years.  I am always looking for new techniques and ideas to improve my skills or make life easier on me.  This is MY in-house network.  I always make a similar request when I am upgrading because, as I mentioned, I am open to new ideas and also as it is MY network, I am looking for ways to speed up the process as I do not have a lot of time to devote to this upgrade, I do not get paid for this work.
Your own network is a GREAT test network for improving your skills for your clients.  I have rebuilt my network twice and intend a third rebuild when 2016 is released.  You learn from your mistakes and start over so that your new clients can be that much better.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t upgrade your network but given your description, you should not only be open to new ideas, but be open to a new way of thinking about your own personal network.

My question was to see if someone had a simpler way to actually "replace" my current network, quickly and efficiently as it has been working without a hitch for the last 6 years as is.  I am replacing my 2008 server because of some hardware problems and blue-screen issues I have been having for a while now.  It has to do with the on-board RAID controller and I BSOD when the I/O gets too active, usually on backups or transferring huge amounts of data.  The 2003 server replacement is for obvious reasons.

You should have a clue why you’re having blue screens – have you analyzed them?  Not a bad idea to replace an old server, but the question is what’s wrong… is it truly failing hardware?  Is it a failing RAID array?  Understanding what’s causing the problems makes you better at your job.  If you reloaded Windows might the problem still happen – possibly not if it’s a driver issue, probably if it’s a hardware issue…
I am intrigued by your suggestion of virtualizing, however I do have the two physical servers (a brand new one with 7 TB of storage, 1 RAID5 array with (3) 3TB SAS drives and (1) 3TB SAS drive as a spare, and a 2nd RAID 5 array (4) 500GB SATA drives in a RAID5 array) as well as my older 2008 server which will do very nicely when rebuilt.

Now that said, since it APPEARS you don’t understand virtualization well, your disk is important, but your RAM is ALSO important.  You’re probably better off with a RAID 10 since RAID 5 has relatively poor write performance and when running VMs, you have MULTIPLE computers using ONE set of disks, write performance becomes a bigger concern.  I use SSDs myself.

I have two RAID volumes in my current system - Please refer to "RAID5.jpg" attached.  These are partitioned as shown in "Drives configuration.jpg" also attached. It currently has a RAID5 array consisting of (5) 500GB SATAs  with a 6th as the spare, two additional 750GB SATA drives on the array as extra storage space, an internal 300GB ATA drive exclusively dedicated for Windows Server Backups and copious external ESATA and USB drives as well as two NAS drives (not shown) .  Once I transfer the roles to my new server, I will considerably downsize this server and it will be a perfectly fine secondary server for AD and DNS functions.

As a Microsoft partner, and Microsoft OEM, I have multiple licenses for both 2012 Server as well as 2008 for my in-house use.

I am not overly experienced in virtualization beyond my experiences with Terminal Server and Citrix, which of course is software based virtualization. Hardware wise I did support a virtualized HP environment on a HP Proliant running Server 2003 SBS for 3 people.  That was quickly reconfigured as a simple 2003 stand-alone server - they were not using exchange, SQL or  required anything more than a place to store some docs and QuickBooks files.
And this concerns me.  Virtualization is NOT NEW!  It’s been around for 17 years+.  VMWare was founded in 1998 – I played with it the first time hoping to get BeOS working on it (it wouldn’t) but my point is, it’s been around for a while.  For the past 7+ years it’s been a KEY feature of Windows and a dominant technology in general thanks to VMWare’s success.  The vast majority of IT Pros who work with servers see the value – especially since 2012 came out and basically gave you an extra license for your server *IF* you virtualized it!  I would question why you were not planning to virtualize from the start.

So - back to me.  I have my Primary GC and FSMO roles on the 2008 server - the 2003 is only there as a backup for the AD.  I would like to replace my hardware with the new and do it in as simple a manner as possible,  I can add change the "RCSSERVER" and make it "RCSSERVER2" to the scripts I run at login and transfer the file server roles to the new 2012 server to connect my workstations, and I can change my workstation's primary and secondary DNS to reflect the new server's IP, I was just trying to be lazy and not have to run around from PC to PC to do so.
DHCP handles DNS.  Login scripts and Group Policies SHOULD control drive mapping.  Better still – if DFS was implemented, you’d map things with domains instead of servers so it REALLY wouldn’t matter what the IPs are.

If you think it would be a better idea to virtualize, I would love to hear why that would benefit me in my particular circumstances, taking into account that running Disk2VHD on my current server to virtualize the whole thing at once would most probably fail under the circumstances.  If I can create a virtualized copy of my current server's system drive ("C") only and transfer my existing Server configuration settings to it, then recreate the same volumes and re-share them within the virtualized environment, I could slowly and methodically transfer my data to that virtualized environment I guess.  Is that possible or desirable?
MIGRATE your servers into virtual servers – don’t P2V.  Use Disk2VHD to migrate your data drives – those are easy.
Benefits:
1. You begin to bring your skills up to date
2. You provide yourself an environment for testing and experimentation
3. You increase your overall available licenses (Great if you don’t need them, but if you have clients understanding virtualization will benefit them GREATLY as it reduces the licensing requirements for them)
4. You improve your DR capability (Hyper-V REPLICA!)
Marshall KassOwnerAuthor Commented:
OK,  I understand virtualization, however in my environment, and in 99% of my customer's environments, virtualization does not seem to be beneficial.  With the exception of my network and one customer, we are running single servers hosting a few users.  In most of MY (not Microsoft's definition) mid-sized networks we have between 10-17 users running most applications online (Agency Management, CRM, Office 365, etc.) and the server handles AD, DNS and act as file servers.  

In my case, since I was not looking to virtualize, my server was designed with redundancy and drive speed as the main factors.  Thus the RAID5 with a spare - as opposed to RAID10.  I tried to offset the RAID5 overhead with faster drives and it all came down to cost considerations.  I need a lot of storage and that ruled out SSDs due to the cost.  I also had (4) DELL SATA 500GB drives with their trays that I wanted to load as a second array for storing data when I am working on other people's systems - I always either image or copy the important data to my server before I work on their hardware.

As I am only running a few databases, AD & DNS, I was not looking past 16GB of RAM.  

Another consideration was my online backup which requires the same COMPUTER name to be used if I do not want to start uploading (via the internet or via the external USB drive they will ship me) the 1.5TB I am using and wait 10-15 days to get that re-established.  If I was to setup and completely replace my old system with one identical, I was assured that the backups would continue uninterrupted.  (possibly one of the only compelling reasons for me to virtualize, although they have informed me that they have had issues in virtual environments - that is another story)

Another reason I wanted to replace my existing system is because although my drives are mapped, I have some programs that require the UNC so I did not want to have to reconfigure those.  

I have looked into the BSOD - even with SuperMicro's support - it has been happening for quite some time, and it seems to be an issue with the onboard controller or SG RAID controller or how the system handles the assortment of drives I have stuffed into this server.  I have 2 RAID controllers, (2) RAID arrays as well as individual Drives on the RAID controller, an old ATA drive for internal backup, ESATA and USB drives, as well as two NAS drives.  It is an aging server and I am sure it will work fine with the new configuration I am planning (a new RAID card and 2 drives, mirrored with a spare) running AD as the secondary.  My AD handles DNS, but DHCP is provided by my router for my network.

After all is said and done, if you have any recommendations to help me accomplish a replacement of my network with the new server replacing my old, and adding the rebuilt old server back into the mix at a later date as my secondary, I would appreciate the advice.

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Marshall KassOwnerAuthor Commented:
This was never resolved and the issue is now moot point
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Windows Server 2012

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