File Server Migration - Questions and advice

I have a project to migrate all of the files from a Windows 2008 R2 Standard Server (64-bit) to a new Windows 2012 R2 Standard Server (64-bit).  Since we have so many Active Directory "Group Policies" and "Home Directories" tied to the original File Server name  "FileServer1" I think it would be best eventually rename the new file server name to be "FileServer1" as well.

I wanted to discuss my plan the experts and see if anyone has any other suggestions regarding how to go about this project?  The last time I did something like this was about 4 years ago and I am not certain if there are any better utilities for me to use.

1.  I plan to have a full backup Friday night and I will ask the user to not logon until that file Server's backup is finsihed.

2.  After the backups (VEEAM Backup & Replication) I can begin the copy process from "FileServer1" to "FileServer2".
       a.  I plan to use the RoboCopy GUI ( ) for this copy process.

3.  FileServer1 has all relevant files on its B: Drive (don't ask why 'B', it was not my idea).  Inside this B: drive there are several shared folders and subfolders.
       a.  The Source path will the fileServer1's B: Drive.
       b.  The Destination server (FileServer2) will have E: Drive.
       c.  The Destination path will be the fileServer2's E: Drive ( I will map a drive from FileServer1 to this destination location).  

4.  Ideally, I would like to maintain the current folder structure and its security permissions.
       a.  There will be some files that are already encrypted, and I want to copy them over as well.
       b.  I will use the web page: shows the copy options.
       c.  I hope that this version of Robocopy will work with Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012 r2 servers.
       d.  If it will not are there any other alternatives to this version of Robocopy?

5.  I think I will need to manually create the shared folders.
       a.  I will need to verify all of the security permissions anyway; hence, I can setup the folder permissions at the same time.
       b.  Then test the access with my user account and several test user accounts that have different security rights.
       c.  I will need to verify the functionality of the security permissions.

6.  Then when the files and folder shares and security settings are verified I will rename the original FileServer1 to something else.
       a.  Then change the IP address on the original FileServer1.
       b.  Then power off the original fileServer1.
       c.  Verify the static Windows DNS settings are as they should be.

7.  Then rename the destination server to be "FileServer1" and then change the IP address as well.
       a.  Verify that the DNS entries are as they should be.
       b.  I hope this will satisfy the group policies and home directories and mapped drives with DNS and Active Directory.

8.  Then test everything out.
       a.  Verify the functionality of the network and fix whatever may need fixing.
       b.  The exit strategy will be to rename the servers as they were before and try again at a later time.
       c.  Or use the backups to restore the original server back.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAsked:
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yo_beeConnect With a Mentor Director of Information TechnologyCommented:
I will concur with both CompProbSolv & Lee W, MVP.   I think you are making this much more difficult for yourself by keeping the shared tied to a logical server rather than a dynamic namespace.  Once created moving objects becomes that much easier.   I would create a Namespace on your DFS and change anyone Home or redirected folder path to the new Namespace.
Here is the order I would do this.
  1. DFS Namespace creation:
  2. AD your Source server as the only target folder.
  3. Update all AD attributes to reference your new Namespace.
  4. Confirm that you are seeing the change from a users perspective.
  5. Start replication using Robocopy. Make sure you run this multiple times to establish your outage time.   The command line I would use is and schedule for a nightly run.  After a few nights you will have a good idea how long it will take to run against the deltas.
 Robocopy <source> <destination> /mir  /COPYALL  /EFSRAW /W:0 /R:0 /LOG:<Path> /NP

Open in new window

I personally never used the  /EFSRAW switch , but it seems that it will copy encrypted files

  • Schedule your switch time and switch target servers in DFS.
  • Users will start referencing your new server with no real outage.  You may get a few calls from users, but it will be fairly straight forward .

Once you setup your DFS and start referencing all your UNC's path in the DFS context vs individual servers your next migration will be that much easier and easier for anyone else that is responsible for this task.
I do want to know why you are not just connecting your disk to another file server and apply DFS namespace convention rather than do a whole copy.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
CompProbSolvConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Just a quick answer for you; I trust you'll get a more thorough and better informed one from someone else.

Do not use the same server name!  AD is really using a GUID for the server and this will really complicate matters.
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PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Hello CompProbSolv,

Thank you for the comment; but, in the past we needed to re-build that FileServer Name because of a bad virus.  We went about replacing the original File Server with a new restored Server.  But that Restored server may have had similar properties as the original.

If we did not use the same Server Name then we would need to replace all of the scripts that reference the mapped network drives.  Not to mention the profiles that have their Home Directories mapped to that server name.  Does anyone have any suggestions because that would be a major curve ball in my planning.  It is better to find out sooner than later.
Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Fix your network.  Stop referencing things through server names!  Setup DFS so you access things through DOMAIN name - \\domainname\dfsShare\Users instead of \\MyServer\Users.

If this is a VM, then just reattach the data drive virtual disk to the new VM server.  If the new server is a VM, then use a tool to convert the existing data drive to a virtual drive (for example, if you're virtualizing on Hyper-V you can easily convert it to a VHD by using DISK2VHD.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:

1.  I was not aware of DFS and that does indeed sound like a better design.  Especially when you replace/upgrade older file servers with new file servers; but, keeping the same data.
        a.  If I understand correctly, if we use DFS, we can map network drives by using the UNC path
             \\Windows_Domain_Name\DFS_Share\Shared Folder
       b.  We will just need to manually change the settings for each user to include the DFS settings.

2.  It did not occur to me that I can remove a data drive from 1 server and re-attach it to another server (in VMWare).
        a.  I have never done that before; but, theoretically I guess why not.
        b.  If I can do this, that will take away the down time to copy information from 1 server to another.
        c.  I will need to of course schedule a planned management window to remove/add the drive from 1 Virtual Server (VMWare) to another Virtual Server.
                I.  Then test like crazy.

3.  What about if any programs are installed on that file Server drive as well?
       a.  We do have 2 programs installed on the current file Server and we will require those program working as well.
       b.  I would think those specific applications will need to be un-installed and re-installed?

I did ask for any other suggestions on how to go about this project.  It appears that I will need to research both DFS and the virtual Drive move and see if that will fit for our environment.  Can someone verify that my current understanding on how to apply those technologies is correct?
yo_beeConnect With a Mentor Director of Information TechnologyCommented:
Everything you outlined sounds like you do have an understanding.

DFS should be treated just as server that is very flexible.
It all pretenses it is like a CNAME in DNS that will just point to a new server when it is time to change. Like I said previously the first time is just like a new server, but when it comes to future moves your are all set.  If you follow the link I originally posted you should be good to go. One note there are two scenarios for DFS Domain or standalone. There are pros and cons with both, but if you have a domain the domain scenario integrates seamlessly with your AD.

In regards to your application you will need to install it on the new server and if there are any configuration that were pointing to the old server you will need to address those.
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