Another Tip for SBS 2011 Hyper-v — Migration and Answer File Considerations

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Hyper-v, Migration, SBS 2011, Virtual Machine, Virtual Machines, Windows 2003 Server

I am currently doing a migration from Windows 2003 (not SBS) to SBS 2011 for a client.  The didn’t want to invest in new hardware since their server was a fairly recent vintage and needed only a bit more memory.  My plan for them is to:

  • Physically locate their server in my office on a new network segment;
  • Set up their router to get a static IP address from my network;
  • Configure parent DNS to point to this new network segment;
  • Run Migration Prep Tool on the old server;
  • (all of the above done
  • Create an answer file for the migration and store it on the desktop of the host OS machine that runs hyper-v (see additional comments later);
  • Install Virtual Clone software on the parent OS of the hyper-v machine;
  • If you have an .iso of the SB 2011 install disk, make sure it is somewhere in the disk space  of the parent OS hyper-v machine and mount it on the virtual drive.  If you have a physical DVD, insert it in the drive on the parent OS machine.
  • Create the virtual machine for SBS 2011.  Make sure you assign a network connection so it can talk to the local network as well as have Internet access;
  • Capture either the virtual or real drive with the SBS 2011 install and start the virtual machine.

It is really a good thing to not have the old server as on the LAN.  If it is that address, change it and be sure to change your port forwarding on the router to match.

When you create the answer file, use for the new server and whatever IP address the old one had. The user administrator will be the system user, and you can add a new one and make the old one inactive.

While the initial part of the install is running, take a made a CD or DVD with the answer file on it.  When the dialogue for migration appears and the SBS 2011 install says it can’t locate the answer file, eject the SBS 2011 install disk, insert the CD with the answer file and try again.  If you used a virtual drive, just capture the physical drive from the Clipboard menu on the Hyper-v connection to the new SBS 20111 server.

Using Virtual Clone was imperative for me in running some things on the old server; it had no DVD drive.  If that were the case on the new server, how would you get the answer file to work?  One way is to create the CD with the answer file on it, then use a program like Magic ISO to convert the CD to an .iso image.  Then you can mount the .iso on a virtual drive  on the parent os and capture if on the hyper-v console.

Once you have the new SBS 2011 running as a virtual machine, then just do all of the migration steps you normally would with two physical machines.

  1. Alex G. says:

    Hello, I am trying to figure out how to install a SBS 2011 in a hosted environment. I was wondering if you have any suggestions. The scenario is simple, hosted company is giving me a Hyper-V with 24GB of RAM i7 4×2(HT)x2.66+ GHz with 2 TB of HD with one fixed IP. I would like to create my SBS 2011 and an application server (2k8r2) on this box. I am also thinking of getting one more for my 10 users virtual pcs (might be an over kill)… I know that the sbs2011 wants to take over the network (DHCP, DNS…) I have played around with a sbs2011 install on one of my boxes in the office and it really gave me a bad time with my router wanting to do the DHCP. If I do not have control over the hosts network… I can get additional IPs though and maybe create some sort of network configuration in the Hyper-V, not sure if that would work. Oh, I have absolutely no experience with Hyper-V. If there is some reading I can get out there for something that I am trying to do that you might know of, that would help also. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  2. Alex-

    An interesting question about hosted environments for SBS and one I will soon face as well. I am jealous of the benevolence of your host provider in the size and capability of your provisioning; that is a lot of horsepower.

    It is true that SBS will want to make certain it is the one acting as DHCP server and will also want to configure router ports. As far as I know the former is not something you can ignore but the latter is. All you have to do is to make sure ports 80, 25, 443 and 987 are forwarded to the SBS machine and additionally 1723 for VPN (PPTP) and 3389 (RDP) if you use those. At a few hosted co-locations I have used, they do provide one or more static IP address and give you a configurable router port, or do it for you. Having them disable DCHP on the router should not be an issue.

    Doing Hyper-v for this enviroment should be a snap. Here are a few thing to remember and keep in mind:

    * If you use Windows 2008 or R2 starndard or better as a host, a few extra steps for management are eliminated but it must be a licensed copy.
    * Do NOT join the host machine to the SBS domain; when it boots, the SBS VM won’t be running and cannot authenticate against a DC (lots of discussions about getting around this but this is the default)
    * If you are using 2008 R2, get SP installed at some point and go back and tweak the memory settings for the VMs. SP1 lets you specify dynamic memory ranges.
    * Give your host OS a static IP and enable remote access to it; you might want to have 3389 pointing to the host and not the SBS box, and I always do this.
    * Don’t install full SQL on the host as it wants to grab all available memory, not good for your VMs.

    I am uncertain why you want an application server; will you be running one or more server based apps that should not go on SBS? It doesn’t seem like uyou will have any performance issues so I am curious for the extra cost/effort. Even with one server I would suggest Hyper-v as you can always respond quickly with new test or production machines or future migrations for SBS.

    Good luck on this and let us know how it goes.


  3. David Smouts says:

    — All you have to do is to make sure ports 80, 25, 443 and 987 are forwarded to the SBS machine and additionally 1723 for VPN (PPTP) and 3389 (RDP) if you use those. —

    Port 80
    Port 3389
    Both ports are unencrypted clear text ports.
    If you use them you’ll get hacked whitin a year.

    If you wan’t rdp access to the server for admins or to terminal server for users or to desktops for users. Just use the and connect to these resources.
    You need to import a certificate onto the home desktop but thats very easy: c:\users\public\downloads\certificate distribution package

    After that ENCRYPTED acces with SSL-VPN to you’re SBS network


  4. Thanks for your great feedback and additional information. And thanks for your interest in my blog. Feel free to comment anytime!


  5. chrisccs says:

    RDP is encrypted. Although there are security concerns that can be addressed when using RDP over the Internet, RDP traffic to 3389 is not “unencrypted.” RDP uses 128-bit encryption, using the RC4 encryption algorithm, as of Version 6


  6. Yes,and thanks for pointing this out.


  7. Eric Price says:

    Just wanted to drop you a note and say you’ve got a lot of great information here, especially relating to the various challenges of getting SBS 2011 virtualized. You helped me overcome a couple of obstacles while I was on a tight timeline. Thanks!


  8. Very gratifying to hear and pleased to know I could provide assistance.

    Hope you will be a frequent visitor.


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