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RE: Windows Server to Debian migration

> I am the network administrator for one school of my 
> university and I am considering migrating our Windows 2000 
> Server to Debian due to some stability issues and of course 
> the financial factors.
> We only have one windows server in the network and it is 
> providing nearly every service offered on our network.  It is 
> configured with Active Directory and DNS, serves student web 
> pages, provides ftp access, acts as a file server, 
> authenticates logins, and is probably used to send 
> pornographic spam to the children of th world when I'm not 
> paying attention.  
> Being one of Microsofts finest products, it provides ALMOST 
> an entire week of solid performance before a yet unknown 
> application kills the server process preventing all logins 
> including logging into or unlocking the console, meaning it 
> requires a press of the power button to shutdown windows.  
> The weekly reboots required to keep the server functional are 
> annoying because they always seem to be required when it is 
> least convienant for me to make the 30 min ride into work to 
> press the power button twice and drive home... so its time to 
> start working toward a more stable solution.  
> I've been researching this problem for over 6 months trying 
> every far-out idea I come across to find the cause to no 
> avail... I give up, so either I rebuild the network with W2K 
> server, or go with linux.  Considering I'll never get the 
> funds to upgrade to a new Windows server version in the 
> future, likely forcing me to go with linux at that point; I 
> figure I'll just get ahead of the game and go linux now.
> My questions for all of you very helpful type people are:
> 1.  The server is a Dell PowerEdge 2500 dual Xeon, 1GB RAM 
> with a PERC 3/Di RAID controller, would I have any issues 
> with hardware support?  I'm pretty sure I'll be ok, but I'd 
> love to have someone tell me that it's better than 
> supported... It's flawless."  Or something close!
> 2.  Is it possible to build and configure the server on a 
> spare workstation, then when I am satisfied with the 
> configuration and have tested everything, migrate the 
> configuration from the workstation to the actual server 
> hardware (I can't afford the down time it would take my 
> newbie ass to install and configure everything).  If so, how 
> difficult is this and could I get a rough overview of the 
> process to get my research started?
> 3.  I currently have 3 Debian servers on the network, one 
> LAMP server for our intranet and two 750 GB file servers 
> (one's a rsnapshot backup of most of the other) providing 
> data storage, and disk based backups of the windows server.  
> The file servers currently use winbind to authenticate their 
> Samba shares to the Active Directory... What will I have to 
> do so that these servers will still allow access once the 
> Windows Server is gone.  Will I have to create 200+ users on 
> each of my Samba servers, or should I use some sort of 
> central authentication.  Any advice on this issue would be welcome.
> 4.  Our windows server currently runs Symantec AV daily to 
> try to keep the spread of viruses via the file server at a 
> minimum... Is there a equally good free product for linux 
> that I could use to scan the user data.  I'm not worried much 
> about protecting the server from viruses cuz I know there 
> aren't many for linux... But I'd hate to have my users (who 
> can't seem to sit at the same computer twice) to spread it 
> around my labs.
> 5.  Considering that I'm fairly inexperienced with linux I 
> would have to say that it is likely that my current windows 
> server is more secure than anything I would put together with 
> linux, apart from the rediculous holes within the OS itself 
> anyway.  Is there an easy way to ensure a resonable level of 
> security without needing to research too deep into securing 
> linux, securing apache, securing ftp, securing...  I don't 
> have the time to do much more than keep it patched once it's 
> set up.  The server is behind a BSD router that is managed by 
> someone far more experienced with such things than I, so 
> other than the few ports I'll have forwarded in the router (SSH, HTTP,
> FTP) the server should be relatively safe from outside attacks.
> 6.  Any suggestions about migrating users and their data?
> 7.  Finally, other than the Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 Bible, which 
> I understand is the best resource for all things Debian... 
> Are there any other texts I shouldn't go without in this quest. 
> I'm sorry this is such a long post, I just wanted to try and 
> answer all your potential questions before they were asked.  
> I'm not looking for a detailed howto, I know how to research 
> and figure things out, I simply have a very hard time 
> deciding what is the best approach to most things in linux.  
> That and any pitfalls to watch outfor or issues I'm likely to 
> face if I follow your suggestions would be great so I don't 
> get discouraged before I'm done.
> Once completed, this will be a far more complicated solution 
> than I have ever implemented with linux, so please try to 
> take it easy.  I'm still a newbie, hopefully I'll feel 
> deserving of a better title once the project is complete!
> Here's 1/2 ton of thanks in advance, other half on completion 
> of the project!
> Joe

Thanks to all of you who have responded so far!

Right now I am trying to decide how I will migrate from a test server I will
be setting up to to the production server.  I always work a project
backwards when planning, that way I always know where I'm going.

If I used dd to copy the disks, and assuming I didn't compile a custom
kernel, should the changes in hardware really matter.  Both machines will
use smp kernels, so essentially wouldn't the new hardware be detected and
just work?

If not, I figure once I have the test server configured and ready for the
real thing I can use
	dpkg --get-selections > file
	dpkg --get-selections < file
To replicate the installed packages on the production server.  But that
done, how do I replicate the configuration of those packages between
machines.  I simply need the configuration of all the packages, the
structure of my OpenLDAP install, apache, ftp, samba, and any other
customizations I make.  Any accounts and data I created on the test server
can be recreated.

Is there a tool or other simple way to do this.  Or should I just keep a log
of every file I modify and just copy those files.

Any advice would be appreciated.  I really don't want to do this piecemeal
as suggested, mostly because I think the first thing I would need to set up
is ldap since other services may need to be configured to authenticate
against it... and I'm not sure I want to try and figure out how to integrate
ldap with a windows AD server for authentication.

Does anyone have any experience replicating a Debian install from one
machine to a entirely different machine?  I'm sure it's been done, but what
is the easiest way to maintain package configuration and account for the
enormous changes in hardware?


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