Migrating Data from Windows Instances

Migrating information from one Windows instance to another is relatively simple.  The key elements are that the two instances can freely communicate with each other, and the user permissions are adequate to read and write the data.  

If communications is possible, map the target volume on the remote instance to an available drive letter on the source.  This can be done either with the Windows explorer UI or from the command prompt.  For illustrative purposes, here is how it would look from the command line.

Migration Map Drive Windows

When you enter the "net use" command specifying the target server, you will be prompted for a user name and password on that server.  The user must have sufficient rights to that resource.

Mapping requires two things:  permissions on the target server and a free drive letter to which the mapping can be associated.

Once you have the remote volume mapped, you can set up a "robocopy" job to move data, with all of its NTFS properties, to the new host.  The command sequence could look like this:

Migration Robocopy

For detailed instructions for using the robocopy command, go HERE

The time it will take to copy all the information between the two instances can vary depending upon the amount of data involved and the location of the remote host. Also, you will also have to perform additional "robocopies" to keep the data on the new server current up until you are ready to cut over.  These additional copies will only include the delta, i.e., the changes that have occurred to the file system since the previous copy.

Once everything has been migrated from the original server to the replacement, you may need to perform a few additional tasks in order to make it production ready.  Some of these tasks could be:

  • Applications may need to be reinstalled on the new instance.
  • DNS may need to be changed to reflect the new instance's adddress
  • Software clients may need to be reconfigured to point to the new instance
  • Firewall rules may need to be reconfigured to allow access to or from the new instance
  • VPNs may need to be reconfigured to allow access to the new instance