Practically Painless NT to Windows Server 2003 Migration: Implementation and Beyond - Page 2

 By Hallett German
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Implementation Tools

Microsoft has not been completely heartless about withdrawing NT support. The company has released a variety of useful migration tools you can use to help ensure a successful upgrade project, including:

  • Active Directory Sizer – Though this is positioned as a tool to help choose the right hardware, it can actually do much more if (and this is a big if) you can provide a good estimate of what you need for your proposed Active Directory environment.
    • Inputs about user information such as logon characteristics, directory characteristics, and domain controller behavior
    • The estimated outputs such as domain controllers and a global catalog for each domain within a site. The tool also gives estimates for the disk, memory, and network bandwidth requirements for your new Active Directory environment
    • This utility has recently been updated for Windows Server 2003

  • Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) – ADMT is a licensed product from NetIQ. It has been greatly enhanced for Windows Server 2003. ADMT is accessible through the Microsoft Management Console. ADMT is powerful enough to perform either inter-forest or intra-forest domain migration. ADMT’s capabilities include:
    • The ability to migrate user accounts, local profiles, domains, and computers. This can be a useful and painless feature if you can do a trial simulation before migrating
    • The ability to migrate SIDs (System Identifiers) and their history
    • A handy agent monitor page to track information retrieval status from remote computers

    ADMT will also produce detailed reports that can help with migration troubleshooting. These reports include information on name conflicts and various migration operations such as Exchange and service accounts, trust, groups, etc. ADMT now supports a command line and scripting interface as well, which includes the well-documented TemplateScript.vbs. Note that the command line interface will not support all options (such as the undo feature and extended characters). Be aware that both of these interfaces will produce less friendly error messages than their GUI counterparts.

    When using the ADMT tool, there are some things to keep in mind so you can maximize its effectiveness. Take the time to review the Readme file and the Checklist included in the help file, both of which explain some of the subtle problems and limitations of the product.

Third-Party Tools

You may want to consider third-party migration tools. Links to some of these are provided in the reference section at the end of this article. Nearly all of the tools have demos and tutorials so you can “try before you buy.” Here is a very incomplete list of migration utilities, with some comments about their relative advantages and disadvantages.

  • Aelita has a healthy mindshare for their NT/Exchange migration utilities. Two helpful utilities are: the Enterprise Migration Manager (EMM) for directory tree maintenance/future Active Directory migrations and the Server Consolidation Wizard (SCW) for server/printer consolidation.

  • Netpro has a good set of utilities wherever you are in the Active Directory lifecycle. Of particular interest are their DNS Analyzer and Directory Troubleshooter tools.

  • NetIQ’s strength is its cross-platform and all-encompassing set of utilities. You may want to pay particular attention to their Migration Suite (with domain and server consolidation aids) and Group Policy Guardian.

  • Quest also has a variety of utilities and migration tools, including FastLane Migrator. Another utility that is very useful for large understaffed sites is exMSPassword Reset Manager, which allows users to reset their own passwords to offload the helpdesk staff.

Page 3: Post-Implementation Considerations

This article was originally published on Sep 10, 2003
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