Microsoft’s Storage Migration Service (SMS) makes migrating servers to new versions of Windows Server super easy!

It basically allows a simple switch over from an old file server (as far back as Server 2003) to a new file server running 2019 (and earlier server versions if required).


Historically this has been a slightly awkward process when hostnames and DNS records are changed, often involving complex robocopy scripts that require close monitoring – after this development from Microsoft it’s a seamless process with minimal downtime that will allow customers to spin up a new server, move data then direct users to the new server retaining the existing permissions and server name.


Use the Storage Migration Service to inventory multiple servers and associated data, as well as rapidly transfer files, file shares, and security configuration from those source servers. You’ll also be able to manage one or multiple migrations utilising the Windows Admin Centre user interface. Finally, we have the option to take over the identity of the source servers, so that users are unaffected in accessing data.

The Storage Migration Service coordinates the process as three phases; inventory, transfer and cutover. Inventory refers to the process of gathering info about files and configuration. The Transfer phase is the process of copying the data from the source servers, to the destination server. Finally, the cutover phase is where the destination servers assume the source servers’ former identities so that apps and users don’t have to change anything.

Please note, there are requirements for both Source, and Destination servers! Find out more below.


With developing this tool, Microsoft are allowing customers to easily move their workloads from legacy servers into on premises or cloud-based servers, customers may also choose to consolidate multiple servers into a single file server via this process. 

If you’d like more information about this service, or Azure in general, simply ping us a message!

The source server must run on one of the following OS:

  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Server 2003


The destination server must run on one of the following OS:

  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R2


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