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Server Rebuild Question

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by craigie, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Work have given me a project to undertake, which I'm not really sure on what is the best way to achieve this.

    We have a customer with one server, where they are having issues with Exchange 2003 which is installed on Server 2003 Standard. It runs various roles DHCP, RRAS, DNS etc, the normal stuff.

    They only have 12 clients.

    They want me to wipe and reinstall the server over a weekend, something which I haven't done before in a production environment. I don't have another server to use to sieze the FSMO roles.

    My thoughts are as follows:

    - AD and Exchange are interelated, so the issues maybe in AD, therefore, I'm against the idea of rebuilding the system state and juts create a new domain.

    - Export all of the user data and emails to PST.

    - Log all details such as DHCP, DNS Zones, Forwarders, RRAS, Share Permissions.

    Wipe the server and reinstall and then rejoin all the PC's into a brand new domain and then re-import all of the Mailboxes and data.

    Any suggestions and tips would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
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  2. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    How about bringing your own machine with you and moving what's needed to your new machine (including FSMO roles) rebuilding the old one and moving back?

    Also what you could do is to clone their machine on your hardware.
    Rebuild the server and move services from your machine to the newly rebuilt one one by one.

    Just some thoughts

    edit: unless you really want to recreate a domain but this might take you longer than "over the weekend". Especially if you encounter some problems.

    Also it seems I'm s**t at reading as you said you haven't got a spare machine and AD might be corrupted so you want to rebuild it. Sorry craigie
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  3. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Is this server a DC as well mate?

    Edit: just realised its one server!
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  4. Gingerdave

    Gingerdave Megabyte Poster

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    Sounds like a good plan my thoughts are as follows please tell me if I telling you to suck eggs here mate - I apologise in advance if I am.

    -seems I am exmerge crazy today but that would make the exporting and importing of the emails easier.

    -Is there anyway you can effectively take a snap shot style backup incase it all goes mammory glands skyward?

    -To make the share permissions easier you could always export the reg files that go with it, once you have recreated the shares and user groups you can reimport them and all of the share permissions will be as was.

    Can't think of anything else right now.
     
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  5. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Its a shame you dont have a spare server, you could have kept the domain while you did the migration.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  6. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Cheers for the thoughts guys.

    My concern about using another Server is that if the issues are AD related rather than Exchange all I won't have resolved the issue.

    GingerDave, sorry mate I meant exmerge them out and import them.

    Didn't know about exporting the registry keys, share the wealth :D
     
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  7. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Make sure you can log in locally to the PCs before you flatten the domain.

    Also are you going to migrate user profiles?
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  8. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    I did think I could take me own and sieze the roles and re do it that way.

    I don't really know what the issues with Exchange have been as we have taken over a new company and it's been along standed issue with them.

    Hence the reason why I think the best way to go is a new domain, but I'm always up for suggestions.
     
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  9. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    I will run a script to create a Local Admin Account on all the PC's mate.

    On previous migrations where we have done a new domain, I have just joind the PC to the new domain and logged in as the user to create a blank profile. Then rebooted and copied all the settings from the old profile to the new one.
     
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  10. Sparky
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    Sometimes that can be the way to go.

    What actually is the problem, is the server unstable?
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  11. Gingerdave

    Gingerdave Megabyte Poster

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    Gladly!

    Technet Linky that explains how to do it, however you have to make sure that the data is in the same place as it was else it doesnt work.
     
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  12. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks mate, reppage left :D
     
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  13. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Not sure mate, I will find out before deciding the best course of action.
     
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  14. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Can I make a suggestion? Why don't you build up a VM (I would use VMware but that's because I understand it better), that way rather than losing all of the data you do actually have it there (and available) 'should' things not go according to plan.

    At the bare minimum I would bring a second DC online and transfer all roles over to that machine and demote the existing DC and then I would rebuild it. Secondly is this actually running on SBS or normal Server products?

    Now back to the crux, what are the symptoms of this? do they realise the enormity of this task? what exactly caused them to go to the drastic measure of flattening the entire infrastructure? Unless they know what broke in the first place they may well just replicate the issue back again.

    I think you need to sanity check the environment and discover exactly what's going on.
     
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  15. Big Bad JV

    Big Bad JV Bit Poster

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    I agree with Simon, you need to find out exactly what the issue with the server is, because a rebuild will probably take longer than the weekend depending on the amount of data to backup and the size of mailboxes to export/import using exmerge, and thats assuming it works 1st time. Also remember that when you export using exmerge you loose single instance deduplication of mail, so the exchange mailstore will grow when you import it back to the new exchange organisation.

    If you really have to rebuild it I would definately think about getting a copy of Acronis True Image Server to take a backup image of each partition on the server, the images can be created on a usb hard drive and will give you a backout route should it not look good towards the end of the weekend.

    Remember, backups and backout plans will save your bacon if it all goes bad.

    JV
     
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  16. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Yup, I agree.

    Try and find out what the problem is exactly with the server first and then decide if a rebuild is needed.

    Even though its only 12 PCs it will probably take you a day at least to do this.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  17. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Just got some information.

    The Server has SSID issues and which can be fixed by installing Exchange 2003 SP2.

    This fails when trying to upgrade, hence my boss wants us to do a clean reinstall off the server.

    I'm concerned because this is a massive task, and they run alot of bespoke applications.
     
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  18. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Wise man:), bespoke applications and rebuilding the server that host the applications is like opening a can of worms.

    I'd play safe too and if possible get all the info about the bespoke apps in case you really do have to rebuild the server.
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  19. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    I'm going to recommend that we Exmerge all Mailboxes and Public Folders.

    Then uninstall Exchange 2003 and then reinstall with SP2 and then import Exmerge Data.

    If this doesn't work then fair enough server rebuild time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  20. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    This sounds like a good game plan, however what's the downtime if any and how long do you reckon this should take. Well taking into account if this is being done onsite or remotely and network bandwidth etc. Best wishes either way:)
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
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