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How to Decide between Lion Server New Install, Upgrade, or Migration

Whether you’re creating your first Lion Server or upgrading or migrating an older server, you need to understand the differences. There are also some things that aren’t moved during an upgrade or a migration. But first, some basic differences:

  • A New install is where you don’t have an existing server. This includes installing on a blank drive volume and installing on top of a Snow Leopard client.

  • An Upgrade is where you run the installer while booted from the older server, replacing an older server. If you go this route, make a backup of your older server first.

  • A Migration is where the installer copies data from another server or hard drives or volumes onto the new hard disk. The old server and its data are retained intact. Migration is performed during the installation process, using a server assistant that launches when you select an option to transfer data from an existing server.

    Even if you use Mac OS X Server 10.6.8, migration is your only option if the server Mac is an older model not supported by Lion Server.

All three of these installation types are highly automated, using a server assistant.

Minimum requirements

New installs and upgrades both require Mac OS X Server 10.6.6 or later. Apple recommends upgrading from version 10.6.8. You can migrate even older servers. Migration requires Mac OS X Server 10.5.8 or later.

Location of data

The required location of the old server data also differs. For an upgrade, the drive or volume containing the server you’re upgrading is typically installed in the server Mac. You can also do an upgrade to a FireWire or USB drive.

For a migration, you have several choices for the migration source:

  • A secondary drive or partition installed inside the Mac or connected via FireWire or USB. These volumes must be mounted.

  • A volume on another Mac connected in Target Disk mode. Target Disk mode is where you connect another Mac using a FireWire cable. First, connect the older Mac when it’s shut off. Then start it while holding down the T key. Once the old Mac is booted in target disk mode, it will appear as a hard drive to the new Mac.

If you’re migrating from a Time Machine backup, the copy of Mac OS X Server must have a static IP address configured. The new server Mac should have the same IP address at the one used in the Time Machine backup in order for DNS to be correctly configured.

What’s not moved

Lion Server doesn’t include several services and features that were part of previous versions of Mac OS X Server. When you migrate or upgrade, the settings and data for these items will not be moved to Lion Server because Lion Server no longer supports them:

  • Print service

  • Windows Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or Backup Domain Controller (BDC)

  • Wiki-based mailing list and archives

  • Apache Tomcat and Apache Axis web services

  • Mobile Access

  • QuickTime Streaming Server (QTSS)

  • NetBoot images that were created with versions of Mac OS X Server before version 10.5

The MySQL database is also not included in Lion Server; it’s been replaced by PostgreSQL. However, the upgrade and migration processes will move MySQL and its data to Lion Server. You will lose a graphical user interface to manage MySQL, however, because Server Admin 10.7 no longer supports MySQL. You’ll need to use the command line in the Terminal utility to manage MySQL.

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