Posted by on Aug 6, 2007 in General | 0 comments

Ok. I know. Picking on Microsoft is like picking on Ma Bell, or the Go’ment, or some other huge faceless entity. However, there is a major issue with what is otherwise a pretty cool piece of software.

As a small firm IT consultant, I work with a lot of small firms (duh). And, often times these firms are just beyond (or way beyond) what a peer-to-peer network can provide. And, in what is a pretty cool piece of software, Microsoft provides server software for the small business. It is called Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003, and it is pretty slick. Fairly easy to set up, and it comes with Exchange (and, if you pony up the cash for the premium software), SQL. All in all, a pretty sweet setup. With one major problem…when you go to replace it.

Since it insists on being the root of the domain, and since you cannot install two SBS boxes on the same domain for any real length of time, it can be a pain. Especially if you want to keep the same domain name. Even the white pages from MS state: “The source server and the destination server must have different full DNS names for the internal domains, as well as different NetBIOS domain names.” Which means that everything in the office that points to DomainA must now point to DomainB. And, while you can change a domain name after the fact, it is not fun. In fact, the Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) is no fun at all, and seemed to neither migrate everything, nor be an effective tool. Trust me; I did this twice, and each time it took over 24 hours with significant downtime.

But, to step to the rescue, are the fine folks at And, while they effectively just rebundle available information, they do it in a pretty straight-forward manner. So, when I had to do my last migration, I was able to move a company of 25 users to a new server, from SBS 2003 – SBS 2003 in a weekend with about 6 hours of downtime, and most of that was because I was also re-wiring the network closet and dealing with slow USB ports for data transfer.

So, if you are looking for a migration solution, throw the folks at $200 and save yourself some sanity.

Oh…and the tools mentioned in the manuals are vaperware…but they weren’t needed anyway.