Migration from Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard to Windows Server 2012 Essentials

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7 Responses

  1. Zach says:

    When you migrate to 2012 Essentials, did it bring all the bloat along with it or just the AD? Specifically, I want to get far away from Windows Update Services from managing the Windows Updates on my network. Also, if I’m going to install Exchange 2010 on a second copy of Windows Server (joined to my domain) is it easy to get everything set up and migrated over? Not worried about going to SP3/2013 for now but I definitely want to decrease my company’s email downtime as much as possible, and I’ve never done this procedure before. Thanks!

    • JCarlos says:

      Basically all it lets you do if my memory serves me right is bring over the AD roles/settings/etc. Unfortunately (for some of us) Essentials does not support WSUS out of the box, I had to install WSUS on another machine. So I guess that is a plus for you, but be sure to modify your group policy for your clients to start looking again on the internet for updates. Regarding Exchange the migration is not as easy as I would have liked. I wrote an article on that migration as well and although it is not a next, next, next scenario, if you follow the guide you should be 90+% set. There were two weird things you have to migrate over besides the mailboxes which threw me off until I figured out the commands, which I mentioned in the guide so you should be good. Regarding your downtime issue, you probably want to look at having two Exchange servers or using Exchange Online… not sure what your enterprise requirements are. I happen to sell Exchange hosted seats if you are interested and could offer more details, but if your company wants to have it all inside their network then I would suggest having more than one server for redundancy and load balancing (depending on the size of your deployment). At least having it on a separate box should decrease the number of reboots, Good luck!

  2. Zach says:

    Thanks for your reply. I’ll look for your Exchange migration guide. I wish we could use hosted exhchange but I think they want to keep everything localized… unless I can convince them otherwise. We would need to set up an SMTP relay because we have devices that need to send unauthenticated mail, and I know there aren’t any hosted solutions that want anything to do with that.

    • JCarlos says:

      You can go with a hybrid solution (which Microsoft & Exchange 2013 support), that way you can still have a SMTP server in house, if not a smart host/relay as you pointed out would be needed. There are ones that would work anonymously as long as the request comes from a specific static address.

      The other thing is first I thought you wanted minimum downtime in general with Exchange (so I suggested hosted/hybrid) but now that I read it again you mean just during e migration process right? Well, because you don’t take offline your first exchange server you don’t actually face much downtime. When you are moving your user mailboxes the mailbox being transferred might be offline but the emails being received remain in the queue. After that you just start pointing all traffic to the new server. In general no matter where your mailbox is as they are both front end servers the email keeps flowing. So in my experience the only downtime is during the mailbox transfer. I wouldn’t decommission the old exchange server for a few days/ weeks until all the mail clients have picked up the new server and automatically switch over.. Otherwise they will have to be manually reconfigured (or forced to auto discover). Good luck!

    • JCarlos says:

      Oh, and don’t forget to set up anti-spam on your network. I had my Edge Server do it but I when I setup my Exchange 2013 to receive email I forgot about that… so I ended up getting a lot of SPAM and sending out SPAM. Mostly it was non deliverable emails being sent back to fake email addresses so after enabling anti-spam the SenderID took care of refusing all those emails. If you don’t have a solution in place you either keep your Exchange Edge server or enable Anti spam on Exchange via the shell: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb123559(v=exchg.150).aspx. Hope this helps!

  3. Lars says:

    Hi! Now that Exchange 2013 CU1 and the rollup for 2007 is ready, I’m thinking of performing the upgrade. Scenario is SBS2008-migration to 2012 Essentials (on physical server) and Exchange 2013 on a virtual server.

    But I cannot find a complete guide for this anywhere. I can find guides on Exchange 2007 -> 2013-migration, but not on how to perform this for SBS2008. The migration guide for SBS says nothing about when and how to migrate the Exchange itself.

    Could I simply install Exchange 2013, make it coexist with 2007 for a little while, then when all users are migrated uninstall Exchange from SBS? And then start migration of the SBS itself?


    – Install Exchange 2013 on a Win2012-server joined to the SBS2008-domain
    – Integrate with Exchange 2007, migrate all users
    – Uninstall Exchange 2007 from SBS2008
    – Be happy for a while

    – Start migration of SBS2008 to Essentials 2012 and eventually remove the SBS2008 within three weeks.

    • Carlos says:


      I would probably base myself on the SBS2011 to Essentials 2012 guide. Based on that, you migrate Exchange almost at the end… although I don’t see why that would matter much. Either way I think it would work, but I would first do the migration of the Domain Controller to replicate what they have suggested for the 2011 to 2012 guide. I think you are in the right path, specially with the whole “be happy for a while”. Microsoft recomends keeping your old server pretty much the whole month grace you are given when it is demoted and you are migrating. You could also save the HD where you have your 2008 server for another while in case you missed something… like the shared user folders, maybe some obscure email account (if you migrate properly you cannot uninstall exchange until all mailboxes are out of the system, at least 2010 didn’t let me), transfer of the Global Catalog, demoting of the server, a DFS share, who knows…. the list gets big. I still have my old HD but those far all good! I would recommend doing a backup before starting… I always feel lazy to do one but the risks of not having one are bigger. Good luck!

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