May 2006
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I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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The joy of server rollouts

One of our clients has a server we have been limping along for several months. It runs an old DOS database that the client is in the market to replace, but we decided that the random crashes mean we can’t wait for the new to replpace the old. In line with this, we built them a handsome new server powerful enough to handle any of the current software solutions the client might purchase. Today was install and migration.

The domain has been screwy for some time now, and today I got a look into all the things that were causing problems on a software level. It turns out that (unbeknownst to me) a server I pulled out of the network and rebuilt some time ago was actually a backup domain controller. It’s ghost was still mucking about in the system, though, and prevented us from integrating the new server until it was cleared out. Whoops.

Unfortunately, there were other things wrong – like the fact that for DNS to work properly on a domain controller, the DC’s own NICs have to point to itself. And no, the DNS installation wizard does not do that for you or ever mention the idea. Useful information that is now imprinted on my brain for life.

The list doesn’t stop there, but it does involve about 15 command-line scripts that the Server2003 installation wizards never mention. It is quite obvious to me now that I need to purchase myself a book detailing all the tips and tricks of Windows Server2003.

For now, though, we realized that with less than 20 users on the network, it would be quicker and easier to rebuild the domain from scratch on the new machine than try to iron out all the little bullshit preventing the by-the-book method of join server to domain, promote inside domain, demote old server. And we were right, and it now works just fine.

Login speeds have improved dramatically; there is a ton more storage on the new SATA array; they have a real tape backup system; and I can now complete the rollout of the corporate-edition anti-spyware solution that would not run on Server2000.

Next step is to take the old server back to the shop for some serious hardware diags and a tune-up or possible re-pave to Server2003. Better yet, I’ll throw SuSE on the damn thing. Okay, I can’t really do that, since we can use it as a backup DC once we get the crashes sorted out.

Rats.

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