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Windows Server 2003 on HP ProLiant Servers : Migration Case Studies (part 2) - Eastman Chemical Company

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1/6/2013 6:04:27 PM

Eastman Chemical Company

Fortunately, Eastman Chemical Company, a global chemical manufacturing company (not to be confused with Eastman Kodak), gave me permission to describe its Windows 2000 migration from Windows NT. I was engaged as a consultant working for Compaq at the time to assist the design team to the point of the upgrade. Eastman's migration had several interesting facets that make its migration a good study.

Eastman Chemical Company has its world headquarters in Kingsport, TN, and has approximately 15,000 employees spread across more than 30 countries around the world. Its Windows NT configuration, depicted in Figure 2, was a single Windows NT master user domain with several resource domains. Although at the time, the in-place upgrade method was generally thought to be for smaller companies, Eastman decided to use it rather than a restructure. Eastman's goal was to do an in-place upgrade of the Eastman master user domain and create the Windows 2000 domain, EMN.com, shown in Figure 3, and then migrate the computer accounts from the W2K.tmp resource domain after all the DCs were upgraded to Windows 2000. Note that EMN.com is Eastman's internal namespace, derived from their stock ticker symbol, EMN.

Figure 2. Eastman Chemical Company's premigration domain structure, with user accounts in the Windows NT domain and machine accounts in the Windows 2000 “resource” domain.


Figure 3. Eastman Chemical's migration plan was to migrate to a single domain, EMN.com


The migration plan was well thought out and worked well. The plan is illustrated in Figures 4 through 6, although these figures illustrate only a few of the 30 remote sites.

Figure 4. Eastman Chemical deployed a BDC for the Windows NT domain and a DC for the Windows 2000 domain in each site.


Figure 5. Eastman Chemical's final Windows 2000 site structure: a single DC for the EMN.com domain in each site and several DCs in the Kingston hub site.


The initial site configuration, shown in Figure 4, consisted of a PDC and several Windows NT BDCs in the Kingsport hub site for the Eastman domain, and a BDC in each of the major remote sites. In addition, there was a DC in each site for the Windows 2000 domain, W2K.tmp, which housed all the computer accounts. Eastman wanted to do this migration with as little downtime as possible, so the company executed the following steps:

1.
The DNS and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) infrastructures were configured, tested, and validated prior to the Windows migration. A number of changes were made in terms of network upgrades, DHCP lease reconfiguration, and so on. These were all completed and validated before the upgrade of the Windows environment began.

note

The DC in each site for the W2K.tmp domain were new powerful machines that Eastman wanted to use as the DCs for the new EMN.com domain.

2.
Installed a “helper” DC in each of the remote sites for the W2K.tmp domain, making two DCs in each site for that domain. These helper machines were mostly workstations at the remote sites that Eastman beefed up to be temporary servers (see Figure 6).

Figure 6. Eastman Chemical installed Windows 2000 helper DCs to support the Win2K.tmp domain at each site. These allowed the actual DCs to be reinstalled in preparation for promoting into the new EMN.com domain.


3.
With helper machines in place and the W2K.tmp domain stable, had a local site IT contact wipe the original W2K.tmp DCs and do a fresh install of Windows 2000 with service packs, security patches, and so on, on them. All they needed to do now was wait for the PDC to be upgraded and then run DCPromo.

note

Without the helper machines, Eastman would have had to either do an in-place upgrade on the existing BDC or do a wipe and reload, causing inconvenience to the users as they would have had to authenticate to another BDC. Of course, there is always the possibility of some failure happening on the upgrade. The helper machine eliminated nearly all of the risk of the upgrade.

This method does take extra time, planning, and hardware resources. Consider the benefit of the risk reduction to the extra time and cost to determine whether it makes sense in your environment. If you are confident that the upgrade will go smoothly (that is, you've tested the hardware, drivers, and so on, on all DCs), then a weekend upgrade—perhaps a few per weekend—would cause little disruption to the users.

4.
Performed an in-place upgrade on the PDC in Kingsport and then upgraded all BDCs in Kingsport.

5.
With several DCs establishing the new EMN.com domain in Kingsport, the IT staff used Terminal Server to connect to the remote servers and run DCPromo to join the domain. Time differences spread DCPromo out over a period of time so it didn't create a heavy load on the network or the existing DCs.

6.
After the DCs for the EMN.com were built, a Windows 2000 trust was built between the EMN.com domain and the W2K.tmp domain to permit use of a migration tool to migrate the computer accounts to the EMN.com domain.

7.
The old Windows NT 4 machines were decommissioned, as well as the helper DCs in the W2K.tmp domain, leaving the structure looking like Figure 6.

This process had a number of benefits that included the following:

  • Rather than doing an in-place upgrade on each remote Windows NT 4 machine, Eastman was able to preinstall a machine in each site to Windows 2000, and then when the new domain was established, simply do a DCPromo, which saved considerable time. This is the preferred method of an in-place upgrade. Do clean installations for the replica DCs rather than an upgrade.

    note

    Eastman Chemical upgraded only a few machines in the hub site to establish the domain, and then went back, one by one, and did a wipe and reload on those upgraded machines so that they had no “upgraded” DCs left. All were fresh installs.

    One of the first things a support engineer will ask if you have a problem following a migration is, “Was this machine upgraded or a fresh install?” If the answer is “upgrade,” it's a big red flag.


  • Extensive testing included taking images from the PDC, using them to build a test PDC in the lab, and practicing the migration process. This helped bulletproof the migration process plan.

  • New machines were easily used to replace the old Windows NT 4.0 without migrating Windows NT to the new machines.

  • Avoided the Pile-On problem by putting the computer accounts in the W2K.tmp resource domain.

note

As of this writing, Eastman Chemical is considering migrating to Windows 2003, but like most companies, it anticipates a simple upgrade with no further redesign required.

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