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I have two SQL servers running on two different boxes. Neither is remotely taxed from a hardware standpoint, and there really is no logical reason to have these as two separate servers, that's just the way the previous admin set them up (he was stupid).

What I would like to do is move one server to the other server as a named instance, and I'd like to do it in a way that is as undisruptive as possible. There are many programs and spreadsheets that point at both servers, and if it's possible to move the server instance without having to update every and all connection string that points to it, that would be the path I'd like to take.

Any ideas?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

First of all, do you really need a named instance? If you don't have an actual need for it, mounting two databases on the same instance would spare you a lot of resources (and management overhead).

The real bonus of this approach is that you could then use a simple DNS redirection for your clients. If they're connecting to SQLDB02 and you're consolidating everything on SQLDB01, you could just alias them in your DNS; but if you use a named instance, you'd need them to connect SQLDB01\Instance2, which will require modifying connection strings on your clients.

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There is some overlap in database names, although if the payoff is a much easier to manage server I suppose I could deal with the fallout from that. So if the DNS points SQLDB02 to SQLDB01, and SQLDB01 accepts that login and has a database and tables that the user is asking for, then it will work fine? – tom.dietrich Aug 13 '10 at 12:34
Yes, this would work for the default instance (which just listens on TCP port 1433 and doesn't actually care about how you call it); but not for named instances, there's no way DNS can handle them. – Massimo Aug 13 '10 at 12:43

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