3 ways File Servers can "Make” or "Break” your AD consolidation project

Consolidating Active Directory domains is a common practice in many scenarios: mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructures and more. It’s easy enough to connect a file server to a new domain but it gets a little tricky if you’re instructed to consolidate file servers before moving to the new domain. Now if you haven’t been involved in a file server consolidation before, then, well you’re one of the lucky ones. Basically, it’s a painful activity…but fear not! I’ll provide 3 ways file servers can “make” or “break” your AD consolidation project so you can avoid the pain rather than experience it.

NTFS Permissions

The proper management of NTFS permissions are critical to preventing data loss and ensuring compliance, but they’re often forgotten about when planning a data migration. If a file server is consolidated and NTFS security is lost in the process, then all the content on your file server is at risk. This could include customer data, employee records and intellectual property…in either of these cases, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve properly migrated all NTFS permissions at the same time you migrate files. You’ll want to do some analysis before migrating and after migrating to ensure security and accessibility is intact. So if you have to consolidate storage before connecting to the new domain, you’ll want to ensure NTFS security is accounted for.

Share Permissions

Share permissions are the keys to ensuring that the “right” users have the “right” access. If you’re consolidating file servers as part of an AD consolidation, then you know that accessibility to shared files and folders is critical to business continuity. If share permissions are forgotten about, well…your users will have no access or too much access to server content. “No access” prevents users from getting their work done and “too much” access opens up the potential for employee-initiated data loss. Regardless of the scenario, share permissions should be migrated at the time files and folders are migrated. This ensures business continuity and accessibility to your users most critical and important data.

Business Hours

Migrating during business hours can be a tricky proposition because there’s only so much bandwidth to go around - it’s in your best interest to plan ahead. You can either throttle bandwidth or migrate after hours. If you choose to throttle bandwidth, I’d recommend that you ensure you have the proper tools to control the bandwidth’s flow. If you choose to migrate after hours, just make sure you have the resources needed to initiate the job and periodically check on its status (Lots of caffeine is nice too!).

As I mentioned before, connecting a server to a new domain isn’t that difficult….it’s the file server logistics behind it all that make AD consolidations challenging. As long as you’re accounting for NTFS permissions, share permissions and business hours you should be ok. But, you’ll certainly want to make sure you have the “right” solution in place to get the job done “right.” If you’re in the market for migration solutions, specifically ones that migrate Active Directory and file servers, I recommend you check out Migration Manager for Active Directory and file servers. Migration Manager for Active Directory and file servers allows you to efficiently merge and restructure Active Directory while ensuring true coexistence between migrated and unmigrated users. It also ensure that migrated and unmigrated users retain secure access to critical server resources when data is moved.