Upgrading to SBS 2011 and SBS 2011 Essentials

With the announcement of SBS 2011 recently, many resellers are looking forward and planning future sales for their clients.  One of the key questions that comes up is around migration to SBS 2011 in both versions.  Currently there are a few methods to get to SBS 2011.  Your choices are using the Microsoft Whitepaper method, Jeff Middleton’s Swing Migration method or Karl Palachuck’s Zero Day Migration method.

Microsoft Migration Wizard

Microsoft White papers that will guide you how to move from SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 to SBS 2008.  This process whilst it takes time, does work quite well and has been the main process I’ve used for my clients to move over to SBS 2008.  Based on current beta whitepapers that I’ve seen and used from Microsoft, this process will be pretty much the same in SBS 2011. Microsoft are planning to document the path from SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 to SBS 2011 using these whitepapers and the so called Migration Wizard (I don’t call it a wizard personally as it does not automate much at all but guides you to the steps you need to do). 

With respect to SBS 2011 Essentials however, I’m yet to see any whitepapers from Microsoft like this and therefore I’m unsure of what the strategy is.  I know that according to an OEM/System builder webcast recently there are config file switches that you can use to put Aurora into a migration mode, but that so far Microsoft has not provided a public release of further documentation.  Therefore I’d hazard a guess to say that yes – there will be a documented way to get from SBS 2003/2008 to SBS 2011 Essentials, but due to the fact the product won’t be released until H1 2011, they’ve not announced it as yet.

Regardless of which version you are migrating from, your new server will end up with a new name and new IP different from the old server.  The majority of the migration can be done during normal business hours with only some items needing to be done outside of business hours.  I’ve done enough of these now to know that with proper planning, they work pretty well and if you don’t mind having a new server name for your SBS 2011 server then it’s just fine.

Jeff Middleton’s Swing Migration

Jeff has been documenting the process of swinging over to new servers for many years now.  Jeff was a little slow out of the gate with his swing process over to SBS 2008 and has vowed not to do the same with SBS 2011.  I know that he’s made announcement’s that he has documentation coming that will be targeted to land around the same times as the products are in general availability.  Jeff’s method provides for you to build a temporary domain controller and use that as a basis to build your SBS 2011 server.  The advantage here is that you can build the new network offsite and take it onsite only when you are ready to cutover the clients machines.  It also gives you a way to test the migration without impacting the clients network before you actually proceed with the build of the new server.

Karl Palachuk’s Zero Day Migration

Karl has taken an alternate angle on the migration and whilst I must say I have the book, I’ve not yet taken the time to read it all or give it a try (sorry Karl).  From other reports though I hear that Karls method is not just a technical process, but an entire business process that he guides you through and that the process is quite  complete and detailed (something I’ve come to expect from Karl).  I’d suggest you check it out to see if it fits for your business/client requirements.

Inplace Upgrade

The elephant on the table is that there is NO in-place upgrade at all to get to any version of SBS 2011.  In-place upgrades for the server environments have been dead for a while now, it’s now all about migration hence my desire to write this article so that people can understand the options available.

Ok – so there you have it – the current state of play with respect to the options available to you for migrating to SBS 2011 and SBS 2011 Essentials.  Can you make any assumptions or final decision yet?  Absolutely NOT.  You need to get your hands on the final products before you do that and evaluate which method is right for you and your clients.  Find out which method works for you.  Just because I’ve used the Microsoft method without failure for my clients, does not mean it’s right for you and your clients.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 6:56 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Upgrading to SBS 2011 and SBS 2011 Essentials”

  1. Kristy Says:

    February 5th, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Does anyone have a time estimate on a SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 migration using the Microsoft Migration Guide as the methodology. You can assume new server hardware and 10 client workstations. I know the time will vary due to size of exch stores, other LOB apps,etc, but I’m just trying to get any in the field experience.

  2. Wayne Small Says:

    February 5th, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Hi Kristy,
    Based on my personal experiece o SBS 2003 to 2008, I’d allow 16-20 hours for what you are proposing as a minimum. This would be AFTER you’ve done a few migrations of course. I know early in the life of SBS 2008, I did a double migration (SBS 2008 Beta > SBS 2008 Physical > SBS 2008 Virtual) just so we could keep the same server name which was important for that client and I completed it over a log weekend of 3 days with around 14-16 hours each day…
    Hope this helps.

  3. David Says:

    February 6th, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Hey Wayne,
    Good post, have you done the MS method ? Jeff still doesn’t have his method ready… Just curious, if you have used the MS method were there any hiccups ?


  4. Wayne Small Says:

    February 7th, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Hi David,
    No – not as yet – I’m waiting for WFBS 7.0 SP1 to be released so that I can run a fully supported system. Currently WFBS 7.0 is not supported on SBS 2011 Standard – mainly due to Exchange 2010 SP1. ETA for me upgrading is March. I the meantime however I’m testing/playing with Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials… thats one nice piece of kit right there :-)

  5. Bob Says:

    September 6th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Someone ought to do a ‘downgrade’ from SBS 2011 to SBS 2008 for the couple of companies that won’t follow MS’s footsteps (i.e. Nexis-Lexis – Time Matters 11).

  6. Joshua Says:

    January 4th, 2012 at 7:17 am

    The link to Karl’s materials seems to be broken.

  7. Wayne Small Says:

    January 4th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Yeah – looks like Karl changed his website – I’ve updated the article to reflect a new link :-) Thanks for letting me know.

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