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SBS Migration before you start

Because I get and see a lot of questions on the forums about migrations, how to’s but also about failures and people who don’t have backups to start over. So in this article I would put down some information what you could do to get your migration to a good end. Of course there is no one hundred percent guarantee, but there are some basics you should do that will help to bring it to a good end. I am writing this for a SBS migration but the steps can be used for most migration paths, SBS – SBS, Windows Server – SBS, SBS – Windows Server, Windows Server – Windows Server but also for Exchange migrations. It would be wise to read all information before you start your migration.

Backup

First thing before you even start should be to make sure you have a good backup. Make sure you have tested your server backup, so might something go wrong during migration you always can go back to the original situation. It sounds like something you should take for granted, but you would not be the first one that starts the migration and something went wrong and would go for recovery and then they came to the conclusion there wasn’t a good backup at all. So always test it before you start!

If your original server is a SBS 2003 server you can use the built in backup solution, see this document how to use it: Backing Up and Restoring Windows Small Business Server 2003.

Getting familiar with the migration process

Second before you even start with the migration would be getting yourself familiar with the migration process. What migration you are going to do (there are more guides available) you should at least read through the complete guide so you know what you can expect. Better would be to do a test migration, make a copy of your original server (backup or image) to another physical or virtual machine in a separated network environment and complete the migration process. Than you know exactly what you can expect during the migration. If you do not get a good feeling by the process just do it over and over again or get yourself some help by another it professional before you start the migration for real.

If you are not familiar with SBS 2011 there is a lot of online material (video’s, click thru’s, hands-on labs, etc) that can help you getting familiar with the configuration: Link 1, Link 2

Check the health of your source server

Next thing to do is to make sure your source (original) server is in a clean state and configured correctly. If the source server has already got problems before you start the migration, this will certainly end up in problems or failures.

What you at least should do, make sure your server is up to date with updates, service packs, fixes, etc. Run the best practice or health analyzers for your product(s), it will give you all kind of information about what is configured wrong. Run tools like dcdiag.exe and netdiag.exe to check your server configuration. Check your servers even logs for warning en error messages.
Make sure you fix all problems before you start the migration!

Beside the information given in the migration guides, these articles will give you some good advice about preparing your source server:

Setup phase

When your server is completely healthy, configured right, read all information in the previous steps and you are prepared. Make sure you follow your migration guide step by step and only continue when you are absolute sure you’ve completed the step entirely. Take your time; no one will notice anything from the migration until you are going to move data.

There are still some issues you could run into during the setup phase:

One of the problems that could give a failure is there is a time or time zone difference between the source and destination server. Make sure the time on the destination server is setup correctly in the bios.
Do not choose to install updates during the installation, this would take a lot of extra time and can give all kind of troubles during the installation / migration. It is best practice to install updates after you completed the installation.

Also see this article for some other known issues: SBS Team keys to success part 2 the setup phase.
When you run into a “Cannot connect to the domain” error message in the early stage of the installation there are still some steps you could do, see this article.

Now the actual installation can start, please not that this will take a couple of hours, so when the blue progress bar appears you could leave the server alone for a while.

Post Setup phase

When installation went successful you will see a screen Installation Finished, Run the Migration Wizard to continue migrating to Windows SBS. But if you ran into any problem, error or something else goes wrong, don’t just continue; make sure you completely understand what your problem is. Look at the SBS Team keys to success part 3 post setup and common failures for some known issues and resolutions. If your error is not there and you have no clue, ask some professional or try some community forum like: SBS Technet Forum or Expert Exchange they might have a solution. Otherwise it would be good to start over because continue with errors will in most cases end up in a bigger unresolvable problem.

Guides:

Here you will find some links to additional useful information and migration guides:

For a different migration approach with support you also take a look at SBS migration.

For a lot of SBS 2011 information also take a look at my SBS 2011 index file with a lot of installation and configuration and all kind of other information.

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Posted in Blog, SBS 2008, SBS 2011 by ronnypot at January 12th, 2012.
Tags: , , ,

5 Responses to “SBS Migration before you start”

  1. Anon says:

    First I want to thank you for you for the time and effort that went into this great resource but could you please talk about some of the other migration strategies like the swing migration and your take on the other strategies.

    • ronnypot says:

      thanks for the link I will go through the information. I am not familiar with the zero downtime migration but have a lot of experience with the swing migration. I will add some information why I prefer this migration above the microsoft method.

  2. Wim says:

    Hi Ronny,
    I ran into a problem by using the migration preparation tool as i want to go from server 2008 r2 to SBS2011 (because of Exchange) The preparation tool checks if FRS is running but we are using DFS instead and because of using DFS, FRS is depricated, on experts-exchange i found a answer:

    The problem is that FRS is not running. FRS is the default service that replicates AD information between domain controllers on any AD network and therefore *should* be running on your DC.
    There are two possibilities:

    1) Something is broken on your existing DC so FRS cannot run. That will cause AD replication to fail when you add the SBS 2011 server, so the source prep tool is accurately blocking the setup. You’ll need to fix that.

    2) Far more rare, but possible, is that you “switched” your replication topology from FRS to DFS-R. This is something that must be done manually and DFS-R *does* support replication. The source tool does not check for DFS-R though so it throws a false-positive. There is a way to fix that, but *only* if you know you made this change.

    So….now you have the basics of the cause. How you go about fixing it depends on your circumstance above, #1 or #2.

    -Cliff

    My question is: is there any solution to fix this “false positive”
    Thanks
    twitter @wduhjong

    • ronnypot says:

      Hi Cliff,

      I have never ran into this problem, so I have no answer for you question what to do. Also never seen anyone else with the same problem. So I would suggest posting the question to the Technet Small Business Server forum there are a lot of IT pro’s and MVP’s helping people, maybe one of them has a solution for your problem.

      If you have a solution please post it as a reply to the thread maybe other people would found this usefull.

      Good luck!

      Regards
      Ronny

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