ADMT and frugal Swing Migration
I got a call from a co-worker at a pop up account. You know the people that call wanting a little help but not a lot. They got a new server with hardware SATA raid 1. They installed SBS on a 500 gig partition. Personally I like to see 30-40 gigs for the OS and one or two other partitions. One partition for Exchange databases. Another partition for data. I like to keep the C: partition fairly free of stuff. My though is that I can scandisk or defrag a 40 gig partition in short order. To scandisk a 500 gig partition might take days. I don not know but it takes pretty long to scan 40 gigs.
They chose to do ADMT. Last time I tried ADMT it bombed. It bombed on moving workstations because that other account had manually entered in ip and dns info on the workstation. Since then I have learned how to do Jeff Middleton’s Swing migration. I do the frugal $50 version using the steps in SBS 2003 Advance Practices book. I have learned that you need to make sure Windows Firewall is disabled when you are doing swings but other than that the swing is pretty easy. You grab AD. You clean it up. You build the new SBS starting with the OS. Grab the AD. Finish installing SBS. Move the Exchange databases and restore the shares. I do not have to touch workstations. I can knock workstations offline for a few minutes while I unplug the old SBS from the network and plug in the new SBS. I need a bit of time to move the Exchange databases over. That might be an hour if the database is not too big. Moving files over can be fast or slow depending on quantity. You might have some user group membership adds. I use Microsoft’s print migration tool to grab printer shares. That usually works.
Back to Thursday night. The goal was to have things up and running in the morning. Well they did have a late start. ADMT bombed moving computer accounts over. I heard about that late Thursday. Bedtime late for me. I suspect the fact their router was providing dns really screwed up that task. More on that later. They marched on moving the Exchange and company files over. That was taking forever which meant continue the project in the morning.
I checked in the next morning and they were starting the unjoin/rejoin workstations. By the time I arrived 1.5 hours later they had one workstation on the new domain. File and Setting wizard was run before hand we tried to move the workstations to the new domain. That worked ok on most of the machines but not all. Many of the workstations were slow to boot, painfully slow for modern workstations. I suggested that the router providing dns was a bad idea. That may have fallen on deaf ears. At the workstations I touched I started manually entering in dns and wins. That helped the machine when applying settings. It also helped when Outlook profiles had to be set to point to the new server name.
Today is Friday. I spent another 2 hours today cleaning up some loose ends with user profiles. I noticed that a few of the workstations would not work from /remote. They also would not accept remote assistance from the SBS Server Management console. The one machine that did work both inside and outside had the dns and wins entered by me. They also had a hodge podge of workstation AV. It seemed that every workstation had a different AV client. I suspect a few were not up to date.
I fixed the WSUS 3 that would not open from Server Management. The SBS official blog has some clicks for that.
So the take away if you insist on ADMT is to make sure that the SBS is doing all dhcp. Make sure that the workstations are getting all their ip, dns and wins from the SBS. Of course my personal opinion is to do a swing migration.
Another note from that project. I set up zen.spanhaus.org in the Exchange connection filter. 80% of the incoming was getting blocked. 20% of the remaining was getting blocked by IMF 7. Users were asking where all their email was. I told them that we were blocking spam. Another useless statistic. Over 2360 messages blocked in less than 24 hours for a 10 user office. They might be a bit more productive not sifting through all that spam.
Another takeaway. Do not schedule a new server install the day before the project manager is heading out of town. Do not schedule a new server install 2 days before you move to a new office.
If I am correct and ADMT computer migration bombed because of router dhcp then maybe ADMT would have worked fast enough. Since it did not work they spend 12 of my (coworker David and I) hours plus a day of their IT lead working on the project. The staff did almost no computer work all day Thursday. If we had done a swing and started it Thursday morning, the staff would have worked as long as they wanted until maybe 2:00. I would have knocked them off for an hour while I pulled the Exchange databases over and rebooted their workstations. The would have been a bit off line for another few hours while the 30 gigs of data was pulled from the old server to the new server. If my math is correct swing for $960 or ADMT for $2400. Granted ADMT might have worked without the router dhcp nonsense but that was before I visited. So ADMT might have been pretty inexpensive. Of course if the account had bought Swing for $200 then they would not have had the projected $960 or the actual $2400 fee.
Nobody asked me so maybe I could have saved ADMT, Maybe not. I do know that I have done Swing at a two office location with 30 users and only an hour of down time and a few hours of printer cleanup. I did not have to touch one workstation. I like that.