Migrating to Windows Small Business Server 2011 : Understanding the Migration Process (part 1) - Preparing for Migration

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The process of migrating from Windows SBS 2003 R2 or Windows SBS 2008 to Windows SBS 2011 consists of six basic steps:

  1. Prepare the existing Windows SBS source server for migration.

  2. Create a migration answer file.

  3. Install Windows SBS 2011 on a new server using the answer file.

  4. Run the Migration Wizard to transfer settings and data.

  5. Demote the old Windows SBS source server.

  6. Reconfigure Folder Redirection.

The following sections examine each of these steps in greater detail.

1. Preparing for Migration

For the migration process to complete successfully, you must properly prepare your existing server running Windows SBS. Windows SBS 2011 includes a Migration Preparation Tool that you must install on your existing Windows SBS server, to prepare it for the migration. Among other things, this tool:

  • Raises the domain and forest functional levels

  • Updates the Active Directory Domain Services schema

  • Extends the allowable migration timeline

  • Enables the migration of Exchange Server data

  • Scans the source server for potential problems

Be sure to complete all the tasks in the following sections to begin your server migration.

Back Up

The migration process makes significant changes to your existing server, so it is imperative that you perform a full backup, including the system state, before you proceed with the migration. You should also perform some test restores of individual files to make sure that you have a viable backup. If the migration fails, or you want to return to your old Windows SBS version for any reason, your only recourse might be to restore the server from this backup.

Install Updates

Install the latest service packs on your existing Windows SBS server, as well as all the latest critical and optional updates. You must also install the latest service packs for Windows Server itself, Exchange Server, SharePoint Services, SQL Server Express, and Microsoft Core XML Services (MSXML) 6.0. Finally, make sure that the computer has the latest updates of the Microsoft .NET Framework environment.

Install Required Software

Before you can install and run the Migration Preparation Tool on your source server, you must download and install the following components:

Reconfigure the Network

If you are running Windows SBS 2003 R2 and your server provides the shared Internet connection for your network, you must unplug the network adapter connected to the modem or other Internet access device. Then you must purchase and install a separate router device and configure it to connect to the Internet. If you are running Windows SBS 2008, you should already have a separate router connecting your network to the Internet.

If you are running any third-party applications on your server, you should consult the product documentation or the software manufacturers for information on how to migrate them to your new server. In most cases, you must reinstall the application on your new server running Windows SBS 2011 and migrate your data from the old one.

Synchronize Computer Clocks

For the migration process to succeed, the source server running Windows SBS 2003 R2 or Windows SBS 2008 and the new server running Windows SBS 2011 must have the same date and time zone settings, and their clocks must be set to within five minutes of each other.

Install the Migration Preparation Tool

To install the Migration Preparation Tool, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to your Windows SBS source server, using an account that is a member of the Domain Admins, Enterprise Admins, and Schema Admins groups.

  2. Insert Windows SBS 2011 Disk 1 into the computer’s DVD-ROM drive. The Windows Small Business Server 2011 screen appears, as shown in Figure 1.

    The Windows Small Business Server 2011 screen.

    Figure 1. The Windows Small Business Server 2011 screen.

  3. Click Install the migration preparation tool. The Windows Small Business Server 2011 Migration Preparation Tool Setup Wizard appears.

  4. Click Next to bypass the Welcome page. The Windows Small Business Server 2011 Migration Preparation Tool License Agreement page appears.

  5. Select the I accept the terms in the license agreement check box and click Install. A User Account Control message box appears.

  6. Click Continue. The wizard installs the tool, and the Completed The Windows Small Business Server 2011 Migration Preparation Tool Setup Wizard page appears.

  7. Click Finish. The wizard closes.

Run the Migration Preparation Tool

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) is based on a set of schema, which specify what kinds of objects can exist in the directory and what attributes are associated with each object type. The schema for Windows SBS 2003 R2 and Windows SBS 2008 are different from those in Windows SBS 2011, so you must update your existing server by running the Migration Preparation Tool you installed from Disk 1 of your Windows Server 2011 product package.

To run the tool, use the following procedure:

  1. Click Start and then click All Programs > Windows Small Business Server Tools > Windows Small Business Server 2011 Migration Preparation Tool. A User Account Control message box appears.

  2. Click Continue. The tool appears, displaying the Get Important Updates page.

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  3. Click Download and install updates (recommended). The system downloads and installs any required updates, after which the Prepare Your Source Server For Migration page appears.

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  4. Select the I have a backup and am ready to proceed check box and click Next. The Preparing The Source Server For Migration page appears and displays the tool’s progress as it updates the schema. When the schema update process is complete, click Next.

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    In addition to updating the schema, the tool also modifies the permissions to enable the migration to Windows SBS 2011 to occur, converts Exchange Server from mixed mode to native mode, and sets a time limit during which the Windows SBS network can have two domain controllers. Once you have completed the migration, your original server can function as a domain controller for up to 21 days before you must demote it.

  5. Consult the Scan The Source Server For Problems page that appears. If the tool detects any problems preventing the preparation of the server, it lists them on the page, and provides you with the options to repeat the scan or quit the tool while you correct the problems. If no problems are listed, click Next.

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  6. The tool prepares the server and displays the Source Server Prepared Successfully page. This page provides links to the Windows SBS Migration Guide document on the Internet and to the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Answer File Tool.

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    The changes made to the computer running Windows Server 2003 R2 by the Migration Preparation Tool at this time are permanent and irrevocable. The only way to return to your previous server configuration is to perform a full restore from a system backup.

  7. Select the I reviewed the Migration Guide and My answer file is ready check boxes and click Finish. The migration tool closes.


    If desired, you can click Create an answer file to run the Windows Small Business Server 2008 Answer File Tool at this time. However, you can also choose to create the answer file at a later time, using any other computer running Windows. See the next section for instructions on running the tool and creating an answer file.

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