Server Migration – A Tale of Two Tools

If you spend any time at all with systems you’ll know that, eventually, there will come a time when you have to perform a migration from your trusty but “tired” old server to some shiny new piece of kit.  Depending on what the new platform is you might have access to some nice built-in tools to help the migration of data and settings from the old platform; Server 2008 R2 includes PowerShell scripts to help migrate from Server2003 and Server2008.  But if you are on an older platform or, worse, your old machine is really old, you may have to look elsewhere for some help.

We’ve been working with a good customer of ours over the last few months to help them migrate from a mixed Server2000/Server2003 environment to a new, shiny Server2008 R2-only backend.  I was faced with the task over this weekend of moving all of the file shares off the Server2000 fileserver and I then had to modify a large number of user accounts to reflect the new location of the user’s “home” drive.

To perform the fileshares move I used a tool that I’ve relied on many times in the past, ViceVersa Pro from TGRMN SoftwareViceVera Pro is a copy/sync program that is available for Windows versions from 2000 all the way through to 2008 R2.  It has a nice GUI and a number of features that make it extremely easy to copy large amounts of data between systems.  I’ve used it many times to perform copies between servers and I’ve also put it in place at some customer sites to perform ongoing replication between systems.  It’s fast, highly configurable, does a good job, has strong error reporting (needed when there are problems with files “buried” deep in the filesystem) and offered with a fully-functional thirty day trial.  If you need a program like this I’d say look no further than TGRMN Software, highly recommended!

The second piece of the server move was the need to touch a large number of user accounts to reflect the fileserver change.  The AD accounts have the user’s home drive set at the account level and not via GPO so I was faced with the onerous task of touching each and every account.  Yuck!  I Googled the problem and came across a number of scripted processes, none of which looked particularly inviting.  I then came across WiseSoft Bulk AD Users from David Wiseman at great tool that provides a simple and elegant solution to the problem I was facing.  I was able to make the needed change on 114 user accounts in less than 45 seconds!  David, thanks for a great time saving tool!  David has some interesting tools on his site that are all aimed at making AD administration a bit easier and the tools are all free!  Another highly recommended tool (and site).

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