Windows Server 2008 R2 to 2012 Migration - Upgrade vs Clean Install

  • Just got into a discussion with a coworker who wants to do an in place upgrade instead of a clean install. Providing there's no burning reason to choose either that I know of (version compatible, plenty of time, etc) - is there any good solid reason to choose one over the other?

  • Clean installs, all other factors being equal, have the best chance of nothing going wrong. Both up front and down the road. They eliminate the kruft that can build up over time.

  • @scottalanmiller One point for me then.... Uhhh I mean one point in favour of clean installs, passionately taking sides in an argument like this is silly and unproductive and no one would ever ever do such a thing.

    I'll devil's advocate on her behalf and attempt a point for the dark side: Upgrade is way faster and easier

  • @MattSpeller said:

    I'll devil's advocate on her behalf and attempt a point for the dark side: Upgrade is way faster and easier

    Is that true? I've rarely found that to be the case long term.

  • @scottalanmiller me neither, but still that's anecdotal - has anyone ever done a study to prove it with 2008r2 -> 2012?

    I've always had incredibly poor luck with MS upgrades on windows but never seen any official "clean install >> upgrade" from MS

  • Microsoft is fundamentally the wrong resource to go for recommendations that are not in favour of their own marketing materials. That Microsoft has no recommendations for clean installs is irrelevant. You would never expect EMC to write papers on when not to buy a SAN, right? That's not for vendors to do and not for users to look for from vendors. We have to use logic, experience, research and industry recommendations instead. Microsoft won't give "bad" recommendations but they also won't market against themselves and the ability to do simple, in place upgrades is one of their selling points for licensing upgrades.

  • @scottalanmiller totally agreed, and an excellent point I will raise!

    Is there anywhere else that's reasonably reputable that you could source that from? I've been having trouble finding anything about it online (08->12) - I suspect that most people avoid upgrades as best practice and that's why no one is spilling any ink about it.

  • I think looking for something specific to 2008 R2 to 2012 makes no sense. You are talking about general industry knowledge that goes back decades. There is no reason to be looking at it for a specific version situation. People who know the best practice are long past the point of spending time doing that upgrade to see what the reliability rate is and people who do it anyway don't do it in such a way to be looking for information as to the process in a statistically meaningful way.

    The entire search that you are attempting to do simply doesn't work as you are expecting. The question is really "do Windows in place upgrades make sense when there is no pressing reason to do them?" And the industry answer has been "no" for a very long time.

  • Banned

    Clean install always!

  • It is tempting to want to just do an in place upgrade but that seems like you are just saving up problems for the future.

  • Clean install = You know what you're getting.
    In-place upgrade:
    Best case = You save a relatively insignificant amount of time, up front. Nothing ever goes wrong as a result of the upgrade vs. fresh install.
    Most probable outcome = You save a little time up front, but later on down the road there is at least a credible chance that something will go awry and cost you more than your saved time to correct, that probably was a direct result of choosing the upgrade route.

    In the end, the best you can ever do is hope to end up saving that little time during the upgrade. The highest likelihood is that you lose, in the end, to some unknown degree. I'd take the surer path and do the clean install... just sayin'.

  • Good way to think of it. Clean install is a little extra work today in exchange for a "known" or nearly known environment. An in place upgrade means carrying risk with you, maybe a little, but some that might bite you later.

    Or maybe the next IT guy, just leave the headaches for him 😉