Migration just sucks, let’s face it

On January 28, 2005, in Rants, by

I want to revisit yesterday’s blog post talking about different ways to go from point A to point B.  There’s something that is glossed over in the “zeal” to showcase that SBS 2003 is just…well it’s just Windows 2003 [other than we are SO much smarter than plain Windows 2003 that we dont’ allow Terminal Server on our Domain Controller …but that’s another hotly contested blog post].  Nearly anything you can do with migrating from/to Windows 2003, you can do with SBS 2003.

But, there’s something to remember in all of this talk of migration.

Let’s face it.  The process sucks for the consultant.  You are ripping out a working network and hopefully not walking off a deep cliff that you can never return from again.  The Official Microsoft ADMT migration method is the one that Mothership Microsoft will support. 

No matter whether you do it the old fashioned SBSland way of “clean install“, rejoin the domain, and then attempt to make your users are happy that you kinda put their desktops back the way they were, or any other method, migrations is just kinda sucky.  It’s equivalent to choosing a “C-section“ or a “natural birth“ method.  Both have the same result. Both can have issues.  Both can have side effects.  Both involve pain and drugs [drugs in the IT migration case is in the form of caffeine].  Both have huge rewards at the end.

Kinda like we joke about when learning SBS for the first time [install it once, screw it up, install it twice, take notes, install it a third time to check your notes], the same thing is true for a migration plan, you need to test.  Even then, stuff happens.  If you have never done even the Microsoft ADMT migration method before, your client is not the one you should be practicing on.  And for those DIYers like me, realize that I’ve got a support net that’s second to none.  [Admittedly though when I needed to rerun the Connect to Internet wizard tonight and ISA web proxy was barfing, it was the fact that I had a laptop still able to get out to the web to find me support that helped better than the Tech Call I made to Microsoft.  [More on this lovely event in a separate blog post]

So what’s my point here?  My point is that whatever migration path you choose, be comfortable with that path.  Know why you chose it, why it’s the best plan of attack for your situation and just be prepared.  It is doable.  It is possible. We do have options.

Just remember that you can have

  • SBS and a file and print server.

  • SBS and side web server in a DMZ

  • SBS and another SQL server [with cals and what not extra]

  • SBS and a terminal server

  • SBS and multiple servers

  • As long as you stay below the magical limit of 75, you can add any number of servers.

I am constantly amazed by the number of people think that SBS can only be the one server.  Oh and Backup Domain controller or BDC on a SBS network?  I’ve given up trying to correct anyone about the “BDC thing”.  It’s a leftover from the NT 4 days and isn’t relevant anymore…but if you ask me “Can SBS support a backup domain controller?”  I’ll probably say yes because I’ve given up trying to correct the Universe over that misconception.  But yes, we can add additional domain controllers, and member servers, and file servers, and print servers, and……well just keep thinking of the possibilities…NOT the limitations.


3 Responses to Migration just sucks, let’s face it

  1. Tony Su says:

    Your comment

    "…be comfortable with that path."

    Words of Wisdom from Susan Bradley, and something I try to explain to those who ask "Which way should I go?"

    It’s a good principle to apply to everything computing, whether you’re talking about Linux/Windows, Web Solution/Windows Solution, what applications you choose to run in your LAN, even to a large degree your Security choices.

    A better or best solution can be a bad choice if you don’t understand what is happening and botch everything in sight.

    But, be aware where the minimal thresholds are where no amount of comfort can justify a choice which ends up with poor results.


  2. Jon Eden says:

    "…be comfortable with that path."

    I agree but it’s only possible when there is documentation/examples out there. I am having the biggest nightmare trying to work out how to get down my path – let alone be comfortable with it!

    SBS 2003 (and SBS 2000 before it) seems to be singularly lacking in true structured information. There is lots out there, newsgroups, blogs etc but I find that I waste so much time trying to work out if something can be done on SBS 2003 that is possible on a normal 2003 install but might be different etc on SBS 2003.

  3. Groosbro says:

    "SUCKS" doesn’t begin to describe the process! I spent 48 man hours in attempt to do the migration by following MS docs TO THE LETTER. It failed miserably! Luckily I have a great client and he said just "forklift it". The biggest pain is the workstations: Tweak this, tweak that. "Where are my shortcuts?" "Where are my favorites?’, etc…