Planning for Server Upgrade...

By henleychad ·
I have been tasked with the planning of the next server "generation" at my company. I was hoping I could get some input from the users on a few different things.

The company is currently running a SBS 2000 server. Because of the user/device limit on SBS I am leaning towards a setup with Windows Server 2003.

This is what I have planned so far:

-1 New Server running Server 2003 used for File serving, A few applications, etc.

-1 new Server for Exchange (2003 or 2007)

-Reconfigure our current SBS server to be used for SQL Server alone.


1) Does this sound like a reasonable Server configuration?

2) With Exchange Server, Do I need both a Server 2003 CAL and an Exchange Server CAL for each user/device that accesses the server? Or can I just get the Exchange CALs? I am fuzzy on how this works. Same thing with SQL Server?

3) Finally I am looking for some suggestions as far as backup solutions. We were thinking either going with a Drive Bay and purchasing a number of hard drives to use for backup purposes. Our other option was going with a Network Attached Storage Device and backing up to it. What do you guys think? any suggestions?

Thanks a lot for any help you can provide.

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Server Upgrade

by Churdoo In reply to Planning for Server Upgra ...

1) The configuration looks fine; is certainly better than one server doing all. If you ask 10 engineers a question like this, you could very well get 10 different answers, but you're on the right track so I'm not going to split hairs on your server config.

2) for the CAL's, per seat licensing is probably better than doing per-server licensing, so if you purchase a batch of Server 2003 user or device CAL's, they'll be good for all 3 servers in the domain. In other words, if you have 50 users and you purchase 50 Server 2003 user CAL's with all of the servers in per seat licensing mode, you're done with the Server 2003 CAL's for all of your servers. Then get your Exchange CAL's and your SQL Server CAL's.

Also, Call your MS regional center re: the SBS Transition Pack. It's intended to cut down your cost when breaking out from SBS to the individual Server and Exchange components, since you've already purchased the SBS CAL's; I just don't know if that applies to transitioning from SBS 2000. It's worth the phone call if it can save you some $$$.

3) Backups. Ugh! I feel your pain. Tape drives are expensive and tapes are unreliable, but still, what is out there that's reliable, sufficient capacity to run unattended, reasonably priced and can be swapped off-site?

The NAS is reasonable capacity/price ratio, but you can't take it offsite, well I suppose if you were so inclined you could, but ... nevermind, poor joke, but you get the point.

The drive bay is not a bad idea as drives are inexpensive enough where you can purchase enough to have weeks worth of rotating backups and still be less expensive than a conventional tape drive solution. In fact, Dell and others have thought about this too, check out the RD1000 ...

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Possible Backup Solution

by mbalcombe In reply to Planning for Server Upgra ...

I agree with churdoo with regard to the licencing etc. I have recently found a SonicWall backup device which I hope to use on my network. It is called SonicWall CDP backup and works by taking constant "snapshots" of the machine it is monitoring. This means that you can reinstate files on a per file basis, or perform disaster recovery if needed. You can even give users control over files if the system is used on workstations, but that is probably over the top and I would use MD redirection and back up from the server. You can then use Windows own snapshots for users.

SonicWall also offer off-site storage which works in league with the CPD device, so that data is sent away automatically.

The whole thing is administered using a web GUI and looks pretty easy.

I should say that I have no experience of using the system, I am considering it as an option for a new system I am about to build for my company in the UK.

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Image and backups

by tundraroamer In reply to Planning for Server Upgra ...

Take a look at FirstDefense-ISR from This is imaginging software that is very easy to setup and use. It will help take the pain out of an "oops" during the install or upgrades. It is cost effective but is not a backup solution.
For backups, I still use tape but will replace those with USB external drives. 500 gig or larger are inexpensive and you can actually rotate them in out like a tape system for secure storage. With the use of the imaging software and ext. drive, you can restore a server quickly.

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things to remember (not just hardware)

by patrick_hulst In reply to Planning for Server Upgra ...

Don't forget to plan (before you do it) how your AD migration path will go. You need to change the FMSO roles, promote a new server to be a DC, etc.

It may cost you some dough, but investigate using the Swing Migration Kit from It will save you from forgetting something, then having to force roles on servers etc. It's a huge timesaver.

As for backup: make sure you've got something you can take off site. Nice to do backups, not so nice if someone steals your backup NAS device with your server one night. Or the building burns down. Or some other disaster. I've seen it before - backup tapes nicely stored in a cabinet right on top of the server. Handy when the office caught fire and melted both.

Good luck with the migration!

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