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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, Upgrade Server 2003 Std to Server 2008 in Technical; I've got an old 2003 SP2 server running as a DC and as our domain Certificate Authority as a virtual ...
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    Sheridan's Avatar
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    Upgrade Server 2003 Std to Server 2008

    I've got an old 2003 SP2 server running as a DC and as our domain Certificate Authority as a virtual machine. I would like to upgrade it to 2008 so all of the DCs are the same but I seem to find conflicting information on whether this will work or not.

    I know I can't upgrade to 2008 R2 as the 2003 is 32 bit and R2 is 64 bit only - but can I do an in place upgrade of 2003 Standard to 2008 SP2 without wrecking the DC and the CA? I've never run an inplace upgrade before but its necessary this time!

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    Ergo's Avatar
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    @Sheridan for the domain controller role it should be easy enough to demote the server before the upgrade, but with the CA there are some challenges about creating a new server and re-importing/creating the certificates.

    We always recommend where possible that you install new OS from fresh rather than in-place upgrades - it may be worth considering whether you can replace your domain CA (which will require all certificates to be re-issued). this may not be as much of a problem as you think depending on how you use certificates.

    Regards,

    David

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    Sheridan's Avatar
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    I would like to remove the DC role, but thats tied to the CA role. Ideally I would move the CA to another existing 2008 DC but that would mean new certificates which could cause some problems, which is why I thought of an inplace upgrade as the server name wouldn't change.

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    Ergo's Avatar
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    Just had a read and was surprised to find out that you cannot demote a 2003 server from being a DC if certificate services is installed. How irritating!

    I would suggest that your best approach here would be to look at migrating your certificate services Technet Guide then you can do what you like with this server. You will be please to know that since 2008 server the link between CS and DC roles does not exist so you will not have this problem again. If you use virtualisation then consider a server just to be the RootCA server - it will need very few resources but keeps things really simple.

    Dave

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    Sheridan (4th October 2012)

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    Sheridan's Avatar
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    The 2003 server is already virutalised and I wanted to upgrade it to 2008. It looks like its a manual case of removing CA, demoting the DC,upgrading the server to 2008 and re-adding the CA. MS seem to suggest that is the best way but I have my doubts whether restoring the CA database from 2003 to 2008 will be a problem free job!

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    Not sure if your Virtual infrastructure has the capacity for it, but being virtualised does give you a nice option here. Take a snapshot of this server and one other DC. Clone the snapshots as separate virtual machines and boot them up in an isolated networking environment (so they cannot speak to your "live" domain). This gives you a test network to do what you like.

    I would certainly recommend creating a new VM and installing Windows Server 2008 R2 fresh on that - if you are able to create this test network then do it within that which will allow you to practice the migration from 2003 to 2008 using the backup method - we have done this on our in-house servers and it did work.

    Regards,

    David

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