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Upgrading Domain to Windows 2012 R2

Posted on 2016-10-15
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Last Modified: 2016-10-17
My domain at work is very large 8 Windows 2008 R2 DC and 1 RODC in the DMZ. We are looking to upgrade our domain to Windows 2012 R2. Would like to go to Windows 2016 but way to new since it just went GA this week. I need to keep the same DC names and was planning on take one DC demoting it: doing a fresh install of Windows 2012 R2 then promoting it.

1) Should I do the DC hold all of our FSMO roles first or last for the upgrade?
2) Would it be better to add a small temp WInodws 2012 R2 DC just to introduce a Widows 2012 R2 DC to the environment first or not need and just take an existing DC and demoting it
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Question by:compdigit44
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by:Niten Kumar
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1.  Transfer the FSMO roles right at the end
2.  Good idea to introduce a temp domain controller to test out...to see if all goes AD replication, sysvol etc
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by:compdigit44
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I usually do not like adding more server but adding one temp one first would allow use to test integration with our existing 2008 R2 servers without taking an existing server offline. Also our DL and FL is already at Windows 2008 R2.. Anything else I am missing here. I always like to talk something like this through multiple times. The AD promotion Wizard will automatically kick off a domain and schema update correct?
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by:Rich Weissler
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> The AD promotion Wizard will automatically kick off a domain and schema update correct?

Yes, in Server 2012 R2, when you perform the configuration on the first server after installing the Active Directory Domain Services, the process will perform the necessary schema updates (which had been a separate process in the 'old days',) so make certain you're performing that configuration as a Schema Admin.

I'm more on the fence concerning introducing a temp domain controller, which you'll need to make certain gets cleaned up at the end of the process.  I suppose it would come down to asking how redundant the domain controller services are in each site.

In the past, I've have the new computer built and available... and after the old DC is demoted, rename it and give it a new IP address... then rename the new computer to the old DC name and give it the old IP address name.   Only then do I promote the new computer to be a DC.  Your mileage may vary.

[paranoid]  And I'm certain it's in your plan already, but just to talk things thru and spell out assumptions... as you demote each domain controller, you'll be moving the FSMO off the 'soon to be retiring server' first, and giving any transfers time to propagate before demotion...   (I.e. there shouldn't ever be a case where a domain controller being demoted has one of those roles.)
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by:compdigit44
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Our AD environment is very health and we have 8 DC's... I do not know if it is best to spin up a new VM as 2012 R2 or demote and existing server and do a fresh install?? All DC need to have the same name and ip
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Rich Weissler earned 250 total points
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There are a couple factors that would drive me towards a decision between building a new VM vs reusing the old hardware.
How old is the hardware?  How much warranty is left on the old server hardware?
How much experience do you have with your virtualization environment and is it at least reasonably up to date?  (Really old virtualization environments shouldn't actually support virtual domain controllers... but I assume you're running relatively current...)

For my $0.02, all else being equal, I'd lean towards spinning up a new VM.
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by:Niten Kumar
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Also note that if you have multiple sites and dc's at sites are not redundant then login issues can occur if you choose to demote and reinstall. If you have multiple dc's at sites then there shouldnt be any problem. The login issue will depend on how many users you have in the sites and how good is your site to site link.
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by:compdigit44
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Are hardware is underwarrnty until 2019, we have a very large VMware environment with 80 host and 900 VM's
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