Hey now, get your mind out of the gutter - this is a PG (ok ok, PG-13 ;^) blog and I'm talking about migrations . . .
If you follow the microsoft.public sbs newsgroups, you probably know that I'm a big fan of temp dc migrations (or swing migrations as Jeff calls them). Well, lucky enough for me - I haven' had to do a migration like this for well over a year. Fast forward to present day, and my poor little server here at home was dying a slow death. (And yes, I admit that I'm using the term 'server' here *VERY* loosely . . . my COUGH server here at home was an old Dell Dimension XPS T500 . . . original specs when I bought that bad boy new back in the spring of '99 were a P3-500 processor, 128 MB RAM, a whopping 8GB hard drive and Win98 SE. Woo Hoo! It has been upgraded a few times, so its current specs are P3-500, 384 MB RAM (don't ask!), an WD 80GB IDE hard drive and a Sony SCSI DDS3 tape drive (Ebay special that I picked up for only $125 which included a controller card & 5 new tapes!) . . .
Anyway, she was slowly dying, and getting ever slower and sslloowweerr and ssslllooowwweeerrr. Well as luck would have it, I had a friend who called me up a couple weeks ago to say that they bought a new PC and asked if I could get rid of the old one for them. Yeah, sure - no problem. So I stop by to pick this PC up, and to my surprise, it's really not too old and has good life left in it. I point this out, but they don't have anyone who would need a PC, so I packed it up and brought it home. The PC? A Compaq Presario with an Athlon XP 1800 processor, 120 GB Hard Drive, 1GB RAM, DVD-ROM / CD-RW and a 17” LCD Monitor. Needless to say, I didn't dispose of it :^) Nope, I finally got an LCD monitor for home . . . yeah!
So, with the help of a spare 'bench' PC, I did a swing migration of my home SBS this weekend. I started yesterday afternoon, and the new server was in place by mid-morning. Granted, this went a little smoother than most since it was an SBS2k3 - SBS2k3 migration (just moving to new hardware), but this reminded me why I love this migration method.
1) It preserves your domain. No recreating user accounts, computer accounts, GPOs or login scripts.
2) Exchange? Not an issue. Literally drop the old databases in and you're good to go. You don't even have to run the Mailbox Cleanup Agent.
3) It is 100% invisible to the users & workstations. Assuming that you've restored your shares prior to them logging on, they have no clue that the server was replaced. Their profiles, data, etc. - everything is in tact.
4) You always have a safety net in case something goes wrong. If I wanted to, I could swap the servers again right now and put the old server back online, and it would continue servicing the network without any issues (besides the obvious data discrepancy).
5) You literally minimize your down-time. Total down-time for me? About a half hour - really. That was the time it took to shut down the old server, pull the tape drive out & install in the new server, boot up & restore my Exchange stores. 30 minutes later I'm online and have email access (which is the absolute necessity :^) Oh sure, it's going to take a total of about another hour and a half to restore all of my data shares from tape, but that gives me the opportunity to do other important things like post here . . . :^)
So, the at your next SBS user group meeting, be sure to ask everyone, "So, do you like to swing?” :^)
Sun, Aug 8 2004 16:35