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Is it safe to change the domain membership of a Windows Server 2008 that runs MS SQL 08? Have you already done this and did you experience any problems? I fear that there could be some kind of domain dependencies (accounts,permissions) that would break certain services once the server has been moved into the new domain.

Any feedback is welcome.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted
  1. You are going to have to go through the Security section and examine the logins to see if your users are connecting with Windows credentials. Look for DOMAIN1\userid logins and determine if they need to be replicated.

  2. Be aware that deep within SQL Server it knows what the name of the server was when it was initially installed. So "SELECT @@SERVERNAME" may return the wrong thing if you change the machine name as part of a domain move. It is rare that things depend on it but occasionally you find some code that cares.

  3. Note that for 2008 especially there are special local groups created on the server that may need new members added to them in order to make things work right.

  4. IF you are running the server as a domain user rather than NT Authority/Network Service or NT Authority/Local System then you will need to change that within the control panel for Services.

  5. I'd recommend that you set the sql services to Manual in the Services control panel for the move. Makes the reboots fast and you can check all the file owner ships and stuff without having the server come up half way and then fail to find some of the DBs. If it saves you a checkpoint scan and restore it is worth it.

  6. Have backups done right before the move!!!

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It depends on how your applications has been configured, you have to look at the authentication method for your users, if they authenticate with domain account to the database it's possible things won't work when switching to new domain, you also have to look at how you application manages db connection, some time ago i had an client/server application which was designed with domain-user-authentication schema, so change it to db-user-authentication schema required a lot of time and testing to make sure everything works.

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SQL Server doesn't depend on domain membership, but it can use it for several purposes, so the only answer is "it depends".

As suggested, you should be careful about authentication: if database access is granted to domain users/groups, it would not work anymore after a domain change (unless domains are trusting each other and some other measures are in place); if you're using local Windows users/groups on the server or SQL Server's internal authentication, the you'll have no problem at all.

Another thing to be careful about are SQL Server's service accounts, i.e. the accounts that are used to run SQL Server itself; if they are domain accounts, SQL Server services will not be able to start anymore after the domain change.

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