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Windows 2000/2003 DC upgrade question

By pwjohnston2002 ·
I need a second opinion. I've been working in IT as a system admin for a few years now, but it's mostly been administration not network building.

The company I currently work for does managed services for small businesses. We're the ones who take their workgroup and make it a domain or their old NT/2000 domain and upgrade it to 2003.

Our Sr Tech is the one in charge of the upgrade. Other than him it's just me. No one else in the company knows what they're doing aka they're managers.

Ok so when I was in school I "thought" I was told that there were 2 main ways of replacing a DC on your Domain:

1. Use the Microsoft AD Migration tool to a Member Server already on your domain.

2. Add the new member server on to the currently existing domain. DCPromo said server and the old DC would copy the Active Directory info to the new DC essentially making it a Backup DC. Then when Everything was working bring down the old DC. (Although this might have only been for NT4, but I thought this is how bigger cooperations did for redundancy.)

However our SR Tech will say that the Migration tools "never" work right. "1 in 10 end up working" and this is how he does it.

He has the server delivered to our office.
Builds it with an entirely new Domain Name.
Adds the New users by hand.
Set up exchange, sql, and any other necessary
programs(DNS,DHCP)
Takes the server onsite and copies the exchange store.
Puts both OLD and NEW domains on the same private
network with DNS and DHCP still running.
Adds client machines to new domain by hand and then
transfers the profiles.

Personally this sounds a bit odd, but I'd like to know what you guys think.

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Speed vs. Predictability

by brian.kronberg In reply to Windows 2000/2003 DC upgr ...

It sounds like he has done upgrades/migrations in the past and have been burned. A luxury with dealing with small business customers is that you only have a handful of users and workstations in the domain. Upgrades and migrations bring a risk in that you may have to fall back to a tape restore or worse, however, building a new domain and manually moving the apps, objects, and data is completely predictable in teh amount of time required and has less risk. Large businesses do not have this luxury and must migrate becuase they cannot take the downtime to move everything to a fresh domain.

So, is he doing what is best for the customer? That depends. I always lead with both plans and estimate the costs associated with each. It is similar to buying a car actually. Do you want to buy a 1 year old lease return (upgrade, may have some imperfections) for a little less or do you want a pristine new car with a full warranty for a little more? If you only have 10 users and workstations the delta cost to get the pristine environment is not much more and the customer is happier and you get more consulting dollars. Win - Win!

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