I currently have a single domain-controller using active-directory, providing login services, file-shares, and print services to about 60+ users within our domain. I bought a new server to replace the current one, and plan to make the current one a backup domain-controller (as in, will no longer hold the FSMO roles or have the same IP). I've been trying to (on a dummy network and with two dummy servers) trying to simulate the transfer but I've been running into some hitches and I have yet to have a successful or smooth transition.
My strategy was to first set up the new server as another domain-controller, along-side the current server--this way the current active-directory is replicated onto the new server. Then, using the DFS (Distributed File System) Management snap-in, I created a file-replication group--this replicated all the shares and data on the current server to the new server. Once the new server "mirrors" the current server (in almost every way except their IP addresses and names), I would prepare for the switch, first by transferring all the FSMO roles from the current server to the new server as well as creating a global catalog (GC) on the new server.
Here's where things never go according to planned: at this point my strategy is to demote the current domain-controller to no longer be a domain-controller, using DCPROMO. Once the new server assumes the sole responsibility for the domain, then I remove any of the old server's objects from Active-Directory. After this, I rename the new server with the old server's name, and change it's IP address to that of the old server. This way, once the new server is online with the new name and IP, the clients will be unaffected (in theory): they won't notice any changes and they won't have to do anything (e.g., change their primary DNS server's IP address).
The problems I have had so far range from the servers not recognizing or getting a response from each other when I go to do the DCPROMO, to not being able to change the name of the new server to that of the old one because it thinks it still is in the Active-Directory and would cause a conflict.
I basically want to make the transfer as painless for the clients as possible (meaning little downtime and little, or no changes on the clients part), but perhaps the most important thing is preserving/replicating the current data/file-shares and active-directory onto the new server. I know one way of replacing the current server is to do it by hand, building up--while off the network--the new server as an exact mirror of the current server, with the same name and IP, and copying by hand the AD and all the data. The data is the hardest part because there's over 200GB of files, and they need to be as up to date as possible on the new server, and I don't want to have a huge downtime because I need to copy the data over and prevent the clients from using their shares.
I'm going to try the simulation again, but this time just go straight to the DCPROMO once I have the AD and file shares replicated to the new server, since DCPROMO should automatically transfer the FSMO and GC over to the new one. Hopefully it works.
If any of you have had experience with something like this (swapping out a server) or could give me some advice, tell me where I went wrong, what I'm forgetting, or give me a strategy/suggestion, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
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