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I need to know what is the best way to assign windows server roles and duties among servers. Right now I've got four servers:

1) OldServer1: Xeon 3.4GHz, 4GB, 3x146GB SCSI, Windows Server 2003 R2

2) OldServer2: Xeon 3.2GHz, 2GB, 72GB SCSI, Windows Server 2003 R2

3) NewServer1: Xeon E5504, 4GB RAM, 2x146GB SFF-SAS, Windows Server 2008 Standard

4) NewServer2: Xeon X3323, 4 GB, 2x146GB SFF-SAS, Windows Server 2008 Standard

Currently OldServer1 is holding all responsibilities, it's the main active directory running SQL2005, CRM software and the file and print service as well as DNS and DHCP. It's running out of space because of SQL daily back up jobs.

OldServer2 is running SQL2000 and an old CRM system. NewServer2 is running Citrix XenApp which is pretty much lightweight. NewServer1 is brand new.

Could you please tell me what is the best practice in relocating and setting windows responsibilities? Thanks in advance

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2 Answers 2

The first thing I would do is get AD and DNS setup, as you can run this with the old servers still running:

  • Join your new DC to the domain and promote to a DC in the existing domain
  • Install DNS
  • Wait for Active Directory and DNS to sync with the new DC
  • Migrate FSMO roles to the new DC.

Moving SQL is a slightly trickier process, as obviously you can't really have two machines running the DB at the same time without one of them getting out of date. I would suggest getting your new SQL servers set-up, do a practice migration and test everything works on the new DB servers and then switch over when you are ready.

Assuming your printers aren't directly attached to the server you can attach and share them on the new server and set-up users when your wish.

As for your CRM, it would really depend on what software it is, but if it is SQL based you should be able to set it up on the new server, point it to the old SQL server and then switch when you move SQL, so allowing you to have it set-up on both servers at the same time.

I've been quite brief on these, if there is an area you want more detail on, let me know.

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Here are few things to watch for:

  • you need to have at least two domain controllers and DNS servers (DHCP, WINS etc)
  • separate your SQL servers from application servers
  • you domain controllers CAN NOT be SQL servers at the same time

Some roles do not require a hardware machine, you should consider virtualizing one of the new servers with Citrix Xenserver or VMWare ESX(i). You may also consider adding another Raid-1 mirror volume to each server for operating system install.

In your case I would use old servers for DNS, AD and printing, NewServer1 - serveral virtual machines for applications. NewServer2 - exclusively for SQL server.

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