Preparing safety checks for the move to native mode

Hi, Paul. I am running a Win2k Web farm with SQL Server 2000, IIS and a bunch of COM+ applications. I am about to switch from a mixed mode Win2k domain to a native mode domain, as I finally got rid of all NT4 boxes.

I am a little bit worried, as there is no easy way of testing the change (obviously, nobody can afford a lab environment completely identical to production). The migration is a one-way road; once we do this, there is now easy way of reverting the change (other than AD recovery on all DCs for the domain). The two questions I have:

  1. What are typical problems people run into when they switch from mixed mode domain to native mode?

  2. Do any alternative back-out procedures exist (other than AD recovery on all DCs.)?
To date I have not personally experienced any problems with switching to native mode. However, if you are concerned you may consider this plan:
  1. Power off all DCs except the primary.
  2. Perform a full backup of the system to tape.
  3. Perform a system state only backup to disk (this will make recovery faster).
  4. Switch to native mode.
  5. Test your applications.

If something goes wickedly wrong:

  1. Restart the DC and perform an authoritative restore of the system state.
  2. Check that the system is correctly in mixed mode -- if not, restore the entire system from tape. (The system should be in mixed mode; this is just a fall back step.)
  3. Bring the other DCs back online.

If everything looks good (like I think it will):

  1. Power on the other DCs.

Of course this could be quite a task if your DCs are plentiful and spread across geographical regions. But, it offers you a way to perform a last minute check while having a way to backout of the process with the least amount of effort.

Editor's Note: Additional information and resources can be found in our Migration Best Web Links.

This was first published in August 2002

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