Working With SBS 2008, Part 2: Answer files and the installation

Continued from my last post. 

To move on with our migration, we need to go through the steps to create an answer file to define our new network, not only defining the name and IP address of our new server, but also the name and IP of our "swing" server that we’ll be running in Virtual PC on my workstation. 

A few housekeeping details were mentioned in the Reload Nuggets post that I’ll repeat here:  Unlike SBS 2000 and SBS 2003, SBS 2008 Premium does not include ISA Server!  You’ll need an external router or firewall device on the edge of your network.  It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to suggest a firewall, since it depends much on what, if any, services you need exposed on the Net and the resources you have available.   Suffice it to say there are numerous options, from a simple cheap broadband router, to a Linux-based junk-computer firewall, all the way to a member server running Windows 2008 and ISA 2006 (which you can do with the 2nd copy of Windows Server that comes with SBS 2008 Premium.) 

Next step is to run the SBS Answer File Generator, which is in the /tools folder of  SBS 2008 Disc 1.  Make life easier on yourself and just copy that whole directory to your XP or Vista workstation.  Run SBSAfg.exe.   These are the settings we’ll use:

Installation Type:  New Installation

  • Get Installation Updates: True
  • Run Unattended: False
  • Clock and Time Zone settings:  [set these as desired]
  • Company information:  [fill this out as appropriate]
  • Server Name:  SLAPPY [I name my machines after Animaniacs characters <g>.  Slappy’s a cranky mean squirrel]
  • Domain Name:  [your existing domain name, which will be "something.local" if you kept up with SBS best practices]
  • Password:  [you should know this one]
  • Domain Administrator Account Name: [you should know this too…]
  • DHCP is running on the source server:  False
  • Default Gateway:  x.x.x.1  [your router’s or edge firewall’s address]
  • Server IP address:  x.x.x.x 

Save the answer file (sbsanswerfile.xml) and copy it to a USB stick.  You do want to print the answer file from the program as well.  Make a hard copy and save it to XPS or PDF for reference.  This is something you’ll want to keep in your file or customer’s file when you do a "real" installation.

Boot the machine you will use for your SBS machine and insert Disc 1.  Plug in your USB key with the answer file and any disk drivers you might need.  Go through the dialogs and start the installation.  This part takes about 45 minutes.

After several reboots, you’ll see the wizard "Install Windows Small Business Server 2008" which will take you through the information you supplied in your answer file. 

There’s more waiting, more rebooting and finally:

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