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We have an old existing Windows 2003 R2 server within the company domain and we want to set up a new system side-by-side which will eventually replace the old machine; however we wish to set the new system to have the same computer name as the old system.

The original system is simply called "ftpserver". What I propose to do is set the new system up as "ftpserver2", with a different IP address. When the new system is working, I plan to rename the old system "ftpserverOLD" then rename the new machine to "ftpserver".

Does anyone see any pitfalls in the above? Would it be possible to also keep the same IP address as the old system once we have changed the names (as all machines are using static IPs)?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 21 '12 at 13:40

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serverfault much? –  Oskar Duveborn Jul 20 '12 at 13:59
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2 Answers

No pitfalls really except that if you have to change the name but won't do it until you know the new server is working - you've got a catch 22 because you won't know if it's working until you've integrated it completely in your environment - which you plan to do by renaming it ;)

So to simplify for the future you should set up multiple DNS names (and don't rely on WINS if you do) so the servers can have their unique names, and the services can have their and be easy to redirect or load balance.

Like so:

server1.something.local A xxx.yyy.zzz.qqq
server2.something.local A xxx.yyy.zzz.qqr
ftpserver.something.local CNAME server1.something.local <-- easy to change

Also, if you need the machine to retain its IP address, you're not doing it right (though I've noticed since I became a developer that developers tend to love IP addresses for some insane reason).

Finally, migrating servers are a perfect time to check your change routines and configurations! Do not simply give it the old IP address and name, see that you know how and can reconfigure your environment (including firewalls and routers) to use a new server/service with new names and addresses. Because if you can't do that, sooner or later it's gonna bite you. Hard.

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One potential caveat is, depending on what the server is used for, Kerberos can be picky about CNAMEs.

Below are some articles that may be worth reviewing:

Connecting to SMB share on a Windows 2000-based computer or a Windows Server 2003-based computer may not work with an alias name
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281308

Error message when you try to access a server locally by using its FQDN or its CNAME alias after you install Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1: "Access denied" or "No network provider accepted the given network path"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/926642

You receive error 401.1 when you browse a Web site that uses Integrated Authentication and is hosted on IIS 5.1 or a later version
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896861

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True! But could use domain root DFS naming instead anyway and try to steer away from manually typing an SMB path to a server share anyway - a bit like we should shy away from connecting to a server's desktop and automate or remote script all configuration changes and troubleshooting in a perfect world ^^ –  Oskar Duveborn May 28 at 8:45
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