Domain Migration 2003 to 2008 route?

105 pts.
Active Directory 2003
Active Directory 2008
Active Directory Domain
Hello Guys, I need some suggestions on the best route to migrate a 2003 AD domain to 2008 with pros and con's. We have old hardware which is sometime not very stable. I mean these servers still have a floppy disk slot! And on top of that their C drives were not configured with much space something like only 10 meg, so the hard drives run only the essentials application no room for anything else. We have a native 2003 domain plat form with 4 AD servers. Two of these units serve as the DNS functions. I need to keep the same IP numbers and server names on the NEW hardware servers? Two of the new servers will also keep the function of primary and secondary DNS roles.  Note we have over 44K users accounts with a mix of different workstation clients some XP/Vista/Win7 and possible some WinNT 2000 clients. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Software/Hardware used:
New IBM Blade Servers

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Why don’t you add the server 2008 servers as DC and demote the old servers. You can assign the new 2008 server with different names and ip. What you need to change is your dns configure on the DHCP servers to point to these new servers for DNS services. Hope that helps.


Since you have 4 DCs and a primary and secondary DNS, you can take one 2003 DC down and replace it with a 2008 DC without anybody noticing any difference. Here are the steps:

1. Prep the 2003 forest and domain for server 2008.
2. Setup new a new Server 2008 server running a fresh OS (unmodified).
3. Select a 2003 DC to demote and move all master roles and external LDAP configurations to one of your other servers. (This can even be your primary DNS server)
4. Demote the DC then remove it from the domain with a different computer name. (make sure you know the local admin password)
5. Login again and clear the IP address.
6. Shutdown the old DC.
7. On the Server 2008 machine, set the IP address and add it to the domain.
8. Promote the Server 2008 server to a DC.
9. Check for successful AD and DNS replication.
10. Move on to the next server.

Step 3 is very important in making this a smooth transition. If an application like a spam appliance uses LDAP, you need to make sure you don’t forget to change the LDAP server it is referencing before taking that server down. If you have a single DHCP server, you should make a secondary DHCP server at least during the transition.

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  • Magoo
    Hi Mshen, The steps you outline were very similiar to the process that I was thinking about. I just have to must always make sure that the server that I demote does not have any operations roles. Since we are such a large domain, we spread out into 64 campus with some locations having over 2 to 3 thousand workstations. I don't want to disrupt their DNS references. So I really need to keep the same machine names for the domain controllers. Thank you for suggestions. Let me know if there are other tasks that I need to be proactive about prior to making this transition. Kind Regards, RT
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