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Turnkey Domain Controller Appliance: Replacing A Windows PDC

Lee Crawford's picture

Hello all,

I have an existing Windows domain controller, running on Windows 2003 R2 SP2.  It's on a physical box, and I'm in the process of moving the site to a virtualized architecture with simplified adminstration (web interfaces instead of Windows GUI and RDP logins are a big plus).  There are years worth of user settings and configurations and whatnot on this PDC, plus all the domain controller stuff for a business network.  I'd love to not lose all that.

What I'd like to do is move the domain onto the Turnkey domain controller appliance.  I'm not sure if this could be done by joining the appliance to the domain and set it as an active domain controller (I'm aware PDC/BDC is no longer a thing), or if there's some way to export the domain configuration from the Windows DC and import it into the appliance.  Or if what I'm doing is even feasible versus doing a P2V of the existing DC and calling it a day.  I am very knowledgable and experience with virtualization and appliances in general, but less so with moving domain controllers around.

So, I'm looking for insight, experience, maybe some steps to accomplishing the task of phasing out a Windows server which is really important but would be great as a small appliance.  Thanks for reading.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Unfortuantely, I'm not really in a position to give you clear guidance. In my previous job, I worked with Win DCs, but that was back in the days of Samba3 so it was all very messy. I did initially have a half hearted attempt at migrating a Win 2003 R2 server to Samba3, but I had a ton of headaches. In the end, I gave up and migrated it all to a Server 2008 R2 VM. I do still do some IT support for them, but the 2008 R2 server hasn't been touched.

These days I try to avoid Win admin as much as possible (I no longer run any Windows systems myself). So despite what I've read about Samba4 (and the little bit I've worked on the TurnKey DC and fileserver appliances) I've barely used it.

Currently our DC appliance is intended as a stand alone server (i.e. you create a new domain on first boot; rather than having the option to join an existing domain). However, once the firstboot scripts have been run, then you can easily reconfigure it yourself and join it to an existing domain. Or anything else that Samba4 is capable of for that matter...

So probably what you are best off doing, is googling and see what info you can find about it. I'm almost certain that someone would have documented it somewhere online. A very brief google didn't turn up exactly what you are after, but I did find an old thread on the Samba mailing list which is talking about migrating from 2008 R2 to Samba4. I also spotted a question on ServerFault regarding migrating from 2012 to Samba4.

Please keep in mind that under the hood, TurnKey is Debian (v14.x = Debian Jessie; our next release will be v15.0 = Debian Stretch). And we install Samba4 direct from the Debian repos. Last I checked, it's Samba 4.2. So the Samba wiki probably contains some vital info. Worst case scenario, I suggest posting on the Samba mailing list (the specific one for samba).

Sorry I can't help much more than that, but please feel free to post back if you encounter any tricky issues. I can't guarantee I'll have answers, but you never know! :)

Good luck with it all and please post back anything interesting you discover. If nothing else it may help other future users in a similar position.

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