Microsoft has introduced the new Windows Server Storage Migration Service as part of Windows Admin Center (WAC). It automates the process of migrating from legacy Windows Server versions to supported platforms. Let's look at the Storage Migration Service, installing it, and using it to perform a migration.

Migrating from legacy servers has always been a difficult task for IT admins. Especially if the legacy server is a Windows Server file server, there may be many shares, permissions, files, folders, and other components you must duplicate on a new server to assume those resources properly in a seamless way.

What is Windows Server 2019 Storage Migration? ^

Windows Server 2008 and R2 went out of support earlier this month (January 2019), and older Windows Server operating systems like Windows Server 2003 are long out of support. Thus, if you are running these Windows Server releases, you need to think about how you can migrate to newer, supported Windows Server platforms.

Thankfully, Microsoft has realized the need to provide a tool to make this process seamless for IT admins. They can perform the migration process in a way that allows copying all data, shares, and permissions without resulting in missed permissions, resources, or even data loss.

A shocking number of legacy Windows Server operating systems are still out in production. For example, a surprising number of environments still have Windows Server 2003 installed.

Windows Server 2019 Storage Migration is a new extension available for installation inside WAC. What are its capabilities?

  1. Take inventory of your servers that are migration candidates (including files, users, permissions, etc.).
  2. Select a destination server.
  3. Transfer all files, file shares, and security permissions from the source to the destination server.
  4. Assume the identity of the source server on the destination server (cutover).
  5. Coordinate and manage multiple migration processes from a single WAC console.

The steps above all take place within a three-phase process:

  1. Inventory
  2. Transfer
  3. Cutover

Source servers can include:

  • Windows Server 2003 and newer

Destination servers can include:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer, including Semi-Annual Channel releases

Let's look at installing the Windows Server 2019 Storage Migration extension inside WAC.

Storage migration prerequisites ^

A prerequisite for the Storage Migration service is to have WAC installed. As most are aware, WAC is the new method moving forward for managing Windows Server installations. In fact, with Windows Server 2019, Microsoft is certainly touting WAC as the tool for managing their latest Windows Server operating system.

In the walkthrough below, we have already installed WAC in Gateway Server mode as a designated gateway server for accessing and managing Windows Server connections.

With Storage Migration, the gateway server basically coordinates the entire operation between a legacy Windows Server and a modern Windows Server version like 2019. Also keep in mind that you can install WAC on the target Windows Server that will be the destination for migrating data from a legacy Windows Server. However, in this case, we will use a standalone WAC gateway mode server.

For an overview of the different WAC installation modes, check out the official overview of the installation options.

Installing Windows Server Storage Migration Service ^

To install Windows Server Storage Migration Service, launch WAC and navigate to Settings > Extensions. The available Storage Migration Service extension is a bit non-intuitive. WAC lists the extension as msft.sme.storage-migration.

Highlight the extension and click the Install button.

Installing the Storage Migration extension in WAC

Installing the Storage Migration extension in WAC

WAC will install the extension and reload the WAC interface in your browser. After the interface reloads, navigate back to Settings > Extensions > Installed extensions. Verify you see the Storage Migration Service listed. You may have an Update available as shown below. If so, highlight the extension and click the Update button.

Update available for the Storage Migration Service

Update available for the Storage Migration Service

After updating, you will see the same behavior. The WAC interface will reload. Navigate back to the Installed extensions under Extensions. You should see the Windows Server Storage Migration Service at version 1.83.1. Microsoft seems to have gone through quite a few extension versions along the way.

After updating the Windows Server Storage Migration Service

After updating the Windows Server Storage Migration Service

Running the Windows Server Storage Migration Service ^

When you launch the Storage Migration Service on your WAC gateway, you will see the pop-up box giving an overview of the service. Note: You may see a box asking you to install the Storage Migration Service. Even though you have installed the extension, you may need to install the Windows Features. The WAC dashboard for the Storage Migration Service will install it for you when you initiate the install from there.

Launching the Storage Migration Service in WAC

Launching the Storage Migration Service in WAC

Click the button to create a New job for the Storage Migration Service.

Create a new Storage Migration Service job

Create a new Storage Migration Service job

It will prompt you to enter the name of the source server you want to migrate.

Enter a new Storage Migration job name

Enter a new Storage Migration job name

Enter credentials that will allow you to connect to the source server.

Enter credentials for the source device

Enter credentials for the source device

Add the source device for the Storage Migration.

Add and scan the source device for Storage Migration

Add and scan the source device for Storage Migration

Enter the device name. In this case, it is a legacy Windows Server 2008 R2 server.

Enter the name of the source device

Enter the name of the source device

Scan the source Windows Server.

Start scanning the source server with Storage Migration

Start scanning the source server with Storage Migration

WAC enumerates shares on the source Windows Server.

Shares enumerated as part of the Storage Migration scan

Shares enumerated as part of the Storage Migration scan

Enter connection credentials for the destination Windows Server.

Enter credentials for the Storage Migration target

Enter credentials for the Storage Migration target

Enter the destination Windows Server name, scan the server, map the volumes, and proceed.

Specify the Storage Migration operation target

Specify the Storage Migration operation target

Decide how you want to handle any conflicts during data copy as well as retry values.

Adjust transfer settings

Adjust transfer settings

Validate the source and destination devices for any issues.

Validate source and destination devices

Validate source and destination devices

Validation of both servers completes successfully.

Validation is successful for the Storage Migration operation

Validation is successful for the Storage Migration operation

Start the data transfer. This includes folders, shares, permissions, and users.

Start transferring files and resources using Storage Migration

Start transferring files and resources using Storage Migration

The transfer finishes successfully.

Data transfer is successful

Data transfer is successful

Cutover phase ^

For the cutover phase, enter the credentials for the source and destination devices. These will also be cached from previous steps.

Enter credentials for the cutover phase

Enter credentials for the cutover phase

Choose how you want to handle the network settings migration. The Storage Migration wizard will show current values on both servers and allow you to define the IP address you want to assume for the server. DHCP is also an option. You must choose the destination network adapter to assign settings to as well.

Network settings migration during the Storage Migration cutover phase

Validate the settings defined for the cutover process.

Validate source and destination devices for cutover

Validate source and destination devices for cutover

The validation process completes successfully.

Validation passes for cutover

Validation passes for cutover

Now you are ready to begin the cutover process. This will cut over resources from the source server to the destination server. It will rename the source server, and the target server will assume the identity of the source server.

Begin the Storage Migration cutover phase

Begin the Storage Migration cutover phase

The process will reboot the servers during the various rename operations.

Cutover progresses to restart the servers

Cutover progresses to restart the servers

After the migration finishes successfully, your target server will have assumed the identity of the source server and should answer to any file shares it has assumed. As you can see below, the target Windows Server 2019 server has assumed the legacy WIN2K8FS01 hostname.

Successful Windows Server Storage Migration Service migration between servers

Successful Windows Server Storage Migration Service migration between servers

Wrapping up ^

The Windows Server Storage Migration Service is a great new tool in the hands of IT admins who often have the challenging task of migrating from legacy platforms up to supported versions of Windows Server. The new tool is a great addition to the already powerful WAC.

As shown, it's easy to install the extension via WAC. The actual Storage Migration process itself is very intuitive and "wizard driven" from the WAC interface. It performs all the heavy lifting of copying data, permissions, share names, and even assuming identity.

If you have the task of migrating from legacy servers to supported platforms, be sure to test out the new Windows Server Storage Migration Service. It can make your life much easier!

Read 4sysops without ads by becoming a member!

Your question was not answered? Ask in the forum!

3+

Users who have LIKED this post:

  • avatar
  • avatar
Share
0 Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

© 4sysops 2006 - 2020

CONTACT US

Please ask IT administration questions in the forums. Any other messages are welcome.

Sending

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account