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Windows Server 2012 Thread, Old server has been Virtualised onto 2012 - Is this common? in Technical; Hi, Just wanted to pick your brains a bit. We look after a number of schools in the area and ...
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    Old server has been Virtualised onto 2012 - Is this common?

    Hi,
    Just wanted to pick your brains a bit.
    We look after a number of schools in the area and have just taken one over from the LA and was wondering if anyone else has seen this:

    Their old 2003 server which was on failing hardware and the OS/gpo/AD etc was in a bit of a mess, has been installed as a VM on a brand new 2012 server which the school bought. So although the school see this brand new server everyday, the DC is actually an aging OS which is still in need of a rebuild.

    Is this common practice these days or just utter laziness on the part of the previous support company?

    Would be interested in your comments.
    Thanks

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    It is common to virtualise old servers onto new hardware as you say and my guess would be it comes down to what the school asked/where willing to pay the support company to do. The time and therefore the cost of updating all of active directory etc probably looked a lot more money then simply sticking there old server virtualised onto new hardware.

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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    Yes... its more straight forward to take a working older server and virtualise than start from scratch and as TronXP said it depends on the circumstances of the school. I've used a 2008 Server to host my Virtual 2003 Admin and Curriculum Servers when we had major issues with both. Once we got a new server it was a case of copying across the settings and files and then restoring everything to the new server. It worked for us as it bought us a bit of time to think and solve issues without the whole mass panic of no network. Also us virtual servers and machines to test new software and tweaks to GPO before rolling out.

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    JDS
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    Virtualisation is becoming more and more common, BUT that doesn't answer whether or not it was applicable or desired in this case.

    Now - if the school have bought the 2012 server on the assumption that it'll entirely replace their 2003 server, then they've been mis-sold to.

    In your post you say the GPO's/AD were in a bit of a mess. This can easily happen over time. You say the original OS was Server 2003 - so they could've had that in anywhere up to 10 years. Over that time it's perfectly possible that things were a bit bodged, and as time goes on, a clean start may well be desired. Did the school REQUEST a clean start, was it implied, and more importantly, did they pay for it?

    You say "which is still in need of a rebuild" - So, I'm assuming there were/are existing issues with the 2003 DC that haven't been resolved by this 2012 Server install - if so, were you expecting them to have been, or were the school under the assumption that installing this new server would include resolving them? Or, were they fully aware that this was just a temporary fix?

    Personally, I'm of the believe that virtualisation has it's place. But moving a 2003 DC onto 2012 and doing nothing else is a bodge BUT NOT IF THAT'S WHAT THEY EXPECTED AND PAID FOR.

    I would not however consider this a "new server", and if it was me putting it in I would not sell it as such. I *would* however do it as a temporary fix (say for if the native hardware was dying and difficult to replace), or if I needed to buy a few months to investigate/fund complete replacement.

    If the school are expecting their new server to last them 5-10 years, they'll likely be greatly disappointed. Updates for 2003 (which is the lowest common denominator) will stop way before they do for 2012, and you've stated already the GPO's/AD could do with a spring-clean. The new install is likely nigh-on useless now bearing this in mind.

    Another poster mentioned the ease of VM'ing - I think that's exactly what's been done here, they've gone for the ease. Note - as I said - I'm not against virtualisation, far from it, but if what's implied here - the school have been passed off a 2003 VM as a clean install - then they've had their trousers pulled down.

    Out of interest, what sort of cost are we talking, bearing in mind any monkey should be able to virtualise a server in half a day?
    Last edited by JDS; 16th September 2013 at 08:10 PM.

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    JDS
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocHouse View Post
    Yes... its more straight forward to take a working older server and virtualise than start from scratch and as TronXP said it depends on the circumstances of the school. I've used a 2008 Server to host my Virtual 2003 Admin and Curriculum Servers when we had major issues with both. Once we got a new server it was a case of copying across the settings and files and then restoring everything to the new server. It worked for us as it bought us a bit of time to think and solve issues without the whole mass panic of no network. Also us virtual servers and machines to test new software and tweaks to GPO before rolling out.
    More straight-forward, yes, wanted, maybe not!

    In your case you've taken those particular steps for a reason. The OP doesn't say, but the way I read it was this configuration wasn't expected.. it was a "previous support company", so I'm guessing they're no longer there - is this their finished job?

    If the company installing this server have VM'd the old 2003 server for any other reason than that's what was requested of them, they've taken a lend IMHO. As with every new technology, trust some horse's ass of a company to misuse it to sell crap!!

    I doubt the school asked for a sticking plaster job like this.. but if the company WERE asked to do it, why didn't they upsell either a fresh-commission, or at least add it as a new DC and move the operations over to that? Granted this wouldn't solve the GPO/AD problems described, but it would give more of a platform for working towards a better overall network? Assuming DFS was used (2003 R2?), any things like MSI allocations/startup scripts etc could be made to continue to work.

    Wonder what would these muppets would do at the next upgrade - VM the 2003/2012 box onto a 2017 one, and that onto a 2023 one? :-D In another 15 years they'll be all singing all dancing with the newest 4TB RAM, 250TB HDD server.... and 2003 server behind the scenes gluing it together :-\
    Last edited by JDS; 16th September 2013 at 08:31 PM.

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    I have to agree with JDS. This server is considered "complete", but how can an OS that was out of date 5 years ago be even considered to run on a VM for anything other than "emergency" reasons. By all means run everything on a VM, but do it with a recent OS.
    Would you agree it was OK if the server was running 2000 or NT?

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    Quote Originally Posted by phill79 View Post
    Would you agree it was OK if the server was running 2000 or NT?
    Sure if it does what's needed/required with the cheap pricing we get educational establishments are lucky in being able to upgrade often, in the real world server licences and cals cost lots of money.

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDS View Post
    I doubt the school asked for a sticking plaster job like this.. but if the company WERE asked to do it, why didn't they upsell either a fresh-commission, or at least add it as a new DC and move the operations over to that?
    Costs.... They probably gave this as an option to the school and it was turned down on financial grounds. I have seen many primary's especially supported from LA's be very much underfunded in IT compared to secondary schools. We should really not bash anybody in IT support without the FULL facts of why a decision has been made.

    On a positive you have a new server which can handle virtualization. If your support contract allows you to upgrade the domain etc within the financial constraints of the contract then you can do it much more easily.

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    I could see the case for this if it was JUST failing hardware, because it gets rid of the immediate problem, but if other things were broken anyway why have they left it like that?

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Server 2003 is still a supported product. If the aim was to rescue a functioning server running on failing hardware and carry on for as little money as possible then yes this is acceptable. Can't see a problem here.

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    JDS
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Server 2003 is still a supported product. If the aim was to rescue a functioning server running on failing hardware and carry on for as little money as possible then yes this is acceptable. Can't see a problem here.
    The OP didn't mention if this was the only intention - they mentioned hardware AND the OS/GPO's/AD being in a bit of a mess.

    From that info, it's not unreasonable to say they were expecting a fresh commission.

    However, that info wasn't verified and no cost for the works was provided, so it's difficult to say exactly what should've/could've been expected - without same info though, I don't think this can be dismissed as "no problem here"?

    Would be very interesting to know exactly what the school expected, and how much was spent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDS View Post
    without same info though, I don't think this can be dismissed as "no problem here"?
    Ok rephrase: "Server 2003 is still a supported product. If the aim was to rescue a functioning server running on failing hardware and carry on for as little money as possible then yes this is acceptable and I can't see a problem."
    For clarity, if the school was expecting a migration to a more recent OS, then no its clearly not acceptable

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    It was not stated that they were expecting a migration, simply stated that GPO etc were a bit of a mess... well bit of a mess doesn't mean you need a new OS, just that the GPO/AD etc needed to be looked at and problems addressed, as I have said before nothing has been stated what instructions the support company were giving by the school. *maybe next time my gpo's don't work I will format my domain and reinstall it with the newest version*

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    JDS
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    Quote Originally Posted by TronXP View Post
    It was not stated that they were expecting a migration, simply stated that GPO etc were a bit of a mess... well bit of a mess doesn't mean you need a new OS, just that the GPO/AD etc needed to be looked at and problems addressed, as I have said before nothing has been stated what instructions the support company were giving by the school. *maybe next time my gpo's don't work I will format my domain and reinstall it with the newest version*
    Yep, nothing said - but note my comments are "IF"'s rather than just stating "there's no problem" etc.

    Also, the OP stated the *OS* was in a bit of a mess. Can easily happen after 10 years use!

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    Perhaps I should have been a little more clearer. It wasnt just the AD/GPOs in a mess but other things were wrong, the AV wouldn't update, random freezings would occur and a couple of other niggles too. All of which if you had them on your own site would lead you down the route of something isn't right with this DC and after 10 years perhaps it is time for a fresh start.
    The way I see it is putting a new BMW shell onto an old rusty Ford Escort. It looks new but has all the same problems as before. Yes you could spend money (or time) fixing them but in reality whats going to last longer, a new BMW or the patched up Escort?

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