• Choosing to Upgrade or to Perform a Migration
  • Published: March 2003




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    Disk Space Considerations


    Disk space and disk partitions bring up another decision point when choosing whether to upgrade or perform a clean install on a new system. For example, if your servers currently use the file allocation table (FAT) file system, which limits hard disk partitions to two gigabytes, you can’t upgrade to Windows Server 2003 because more than two gigabytes of space are required for the upgrading process.

    If your servers currently use the NT file system (NTFS), which has a limit of 32 gigabytes per partition, you can upgrade to Windows Server 2003 while retaining NTFS. In order to avoid the 32-gigabyte limit of NTFS, you would need to do a clean installation.


    Hardware Compatibility


    One of the most important steps to take before running Setup on a server is to confirm that your hardware is compatible with products in the Windows Server 2003 family. You can do this by running a pre-installation compatibility check from the Setup CD or by checking the hardware compatibility information available on the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Web site. Also, as part of confirming hardware compatibility, check to see that you have obtained updated hardware device drivers and an updated system BIOS (or for a 64-bit Itanium-based computer, an updated Extensible Firmware Interface).

    If you have a mass storage controller (such as a SCSI, RAID, or Fibre Channel adapter) for your hard disk, confirm that it is compatible with products in the Windows Server 2003 family by clicking the appropriate link in Support resources.

    If your controller is compatible with products in the Windows Server 2003 family but you are aware that the manufacturer has supplied a separate driver file for use with your operating system, obtain the file (on a floppy disk) before you begin Setup. During the early part of Setup, a line at the bottom of the screen will prompt you to press F6. Further prompts will guide you in supplying the driver file to Setup so that it can gain access to the mass storage controller.

    If you are not sure whether you must obtain a separate driver file from the manufacturer of your mass storage controller, you can try running Setup. If the controller is not supported by the driver files on the Setup CD (and therefore requires a driver file supplied by the hardware manufacturer), Setup stops and displays a message that says no disk devices can be found or displays an incomplete list of controllers. After you obtain the necessary driver file, restart Setup, and press F6 when prompted.

    Regardless of whether you run a pre-installation compatibility check, Setup checks hardware and software compatibility at the beginning of an upgrade or new installation and displays a report if there are incompatibilities.

    Reference Points


    For information about hardware and software supported by Windows Server 2003 operating systems, please see Windows Server Catalog at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog/server/.

      For information about application compatibility, see Using the Application Compatibility Toolkit at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/compatible/appcompat.mspx.

    Choosing to Upgrade or to Perform a Migration


    Deciding whether to upgrade or to perform a migration to a new computer is an important decision. Upgrading refers to leaving the existing Windows NT Server 4.0 (with Service Pack 5 or later) operating system on your computer and updating it through installing the new Windows Server 2003 operating system. A migration refers to installing a product in the Windows Server family on a volume with no previous operating system.

    Reasons to Upgrade


    Especially for small organizations, the ease of an upgrade rather than a new installation can make sense. Generally, with an upgrade, configuration is simpler, and your existing users, settings, groups, rights, and permissions are retained. Also, with an upgrade, you do not need to re-install files and applications.

    As with any major change to the hard disk, you should back up the system before beginning an upgrade.


    Reference Points


    • For more information on upgrading, please go to Microsoft TechNet at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ and use the search tool for the topic "Operating systems from which you can upgrade."

    • If you are upgrading in a domain that includes domain controllers running Windows NT Server 4.0, please go to Microsoft TechNet at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ and use the search tool for the topic “Upgrades in a Domain Containing Windows NT 4.0 Domain Controllers."

    • If you want to upgrade and then use the same applications as before, be sure to review applications information in Relnotes.htm (in the \Docs folder on the Setup CD). Also, for the most recent information on compatible applications for products in the Windows Server 2003 family, see the Windows Server Catalog at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog/server.

    Reasons to Migrate


    There are good reasons to migrate rather than upgrade—especially when dealing with large organizations. If you want to practice careful configuration management, for example, for a server where high availability is important, you might want to perform a new installation on that server instead of an upgrade. This is especially true for servers on which the operating system has been upgraded several times in the past.

    Reference Points


    • For more information on using multiple operating systems, please go to Microsoft TechNet at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ and use the search tool for the topic “Deciding whether a computer will contain more than one operating system.”

    Server Roles


    Computers that function as servers within a domain can have one of two roles: member server or domain controller. A server that is not in a domain is a stand-alone server.

    Member Servers


    A member server is a computer that:

    • Runs Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, or a Windows Server 2003 operating system.

    • Belongs to a domain.

    • Is not a domain controller.

    A member server does not process network account logons, participate in Active Directory replication, or store domain security policy information.

    Member servers carry out a wide spectrum of functions. They typically operate as the following types of servers: file servers, application servers, database servers, Web servers, certificate servers, firewalls, and remote access servers.

    The following security-related features are common to all member servers:

    Domain Controllers


    A domain controller is a computer that:

    • Runs Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, or a Windows Server 2003 operating system.

    • Stores a read-write copy of the domain database.

    • Participates in multimaster replication.

    • Authenticates users.

    Domain controllers store directory data and manage communication between users and domains, including user logon processes, authentication, and directory searches. Domain controllers synchronize directory data using multimaster replication, ensuring consistency of information over time.

    Active Directory supports multimaster replication of directory data between all domain controllers in a domain. In an Active Directory forest, there are at least five different operations master roles that are assigned to one or more domain controllers.

    As the needs of your computing environment change, you might want to change the role of a server. Using the Active Directory Installation Wizard, you can promote a member server to a domain controller, or you can demote a domain controller to a member server.

    Stand-Alone Servers


    A stand-alone server is a computer that:

    • Runs Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, or a Windows Server 2003 operating system.

    • Is not a member of a domain.

    If a server is installed as a member of a workgroup, that server is a stand-alone server. Stand-alone servers can share resources with other computers on the network, but they do not receive any of the benefits provided by Active Directory.

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    Published: March 2003

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