Q

Changing hardware without wrecking Active Directory structure

What is the best way to move over to the new hardware without wrecking the Active Directory structure?

Our existing Windows 2000 primary domain controller is getting old, and we want to replace it with completely new hardware. The old hardware is using SCSI disks and MS software mirror (disk manager) for both the system and data disks. The new hardware will use SCSI and hardware RAID 1 for the system disk and hardware RAID 5 for the data disk. What is the best way to move over to the new hardware without wrecking the Active Directory structure?
The best way would be to build this new machine up and promote it to a domain controller. Of course, you will not be able to use the old machine's name on this new machine. So that old machine is ServerA and this new machine will be ServerB. Here are the steps:

  1. Build ServerB.

  2. Get the disk organized the way you want and apply ALL appropriate Service Packs.

  3. Have ServerB join the domain.

  4. Promote ServerB to be a domain controller. After doing this, allow about 24 hours to pass. Validate that replication has occurred successfully (you can use the replmon tool in the support tools for Windows 2000/2003 to check this). Check the event logs for any issues.

  5. Move the FSMO roles (if any) from ServerA to ServerB.

  6. Install DNS on ServerB if ServerA had that function.

  7. Demote ServerA so that it is no longer a domain controller. Make sure that this step completes successfully and completely. The event logs will tell the tale. If it doesn't complete successfully, you could have orphaned entries in your Active Directory. You will need to use tools like ADSEDIT and LDAP.exe from the Resource Kit to clean it up.

  8. Decommission ServerA.
This was first published in October 2003

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