troubleshooting Question

Raise functional level - 2000 native and migration to 2008R2

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Harel asked on
* fsmoWindows OSNetworkingWindows Server 2003
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Need basic info - for migration of 2003R2 domain with 5 DC's and domain functional level - 2000 native...

I have 2 sites.. with very old servers... (one is actually P3! and 2 other are VM)
Site 1 - 3 DC's ( one of them holds all FSMO rules)
Site 2 - 2 DCs' (FSMO rules at the first site)

First I moved all FSMO rules to VM DC..
all 5 Dc's are the same  - Windows 2003R2 and domain functional level - 2000 native

I want to upgrade the domain to 2008/2012/2016...

As I understand, first stage is to Raise functional level - to 2003 -

Is there any checking I need to do before I just choose to raise the functional level? I mean - Is the log must be clean from errors or something - is it possible that somehow I will have any problem ? or if something is wrong than the level wont change and nothing happen?

I do not have any exchange... and the network is really basic .. I have a really old netapp.. but I dont think its matter..?

Stage 2 - what is the best ? I read many posts but it not exactly my case...
If I cant raise the level - whats best to do?

If I raised the level - is it better to add a 2008r2 server and move all FSMO rules to it? all the other 5 DC's will be OK?
Can I move FSMO to the new 2008R2 and than remove 1 old DC and join a new 2008R2 instead? and so on for each old DC? and than go to 2012/2016/2019?
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