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We are undertaking a process of cloning our QA environments to a new environment. Machines and urls will be changed. How we can configure these changes in central admin level in new environment?

For example : current qa urls are http://petroqa.companyname.com and VMs are webqa1,webqa2 and appqa

Cloned environment will be http://petroqanew.companyname.com and VMs are newwebqa1,newwebqa2 and newappqa

Can we do url and server names changes in central admin after the clone is done?

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SharePoint does not take kindly to cloning, be it with a disk cloning tool or copying virtual machine drives. The supported approach is to:

  1. Create a new farm on your new servers. By "create" I mean install the SharePoint binaries with setup.exe and run the configuration wizard to create the Configuration database and Central Administration site. You do not need to create anything else.
  2. Add any custom solutions (.wsp) to the farm (stsadm -o addsolution). Do not deploy them as your web applications don't yet exist (and later when the content databases are restored these will already be deployed).
  3. Take a full farm backup of your original farm using either stsadm -o backup -directory or a 3rd party backup product.
  4. Restore the backup to your new farm. At this point you will have the opportunity to change the necessary values to match the new environment.
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Do I need to take separate back for each server and restore them in server wise? –  James123 Dec 7 '11 at 20:57
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No, the backup backs up all of the components in the farm. Part of the restore process is to specify where each component will be restored to. So say you have your SSP and Search Index on APPQA, when you do the restore you'll provide the location for SSP and Search Index as NEWAPPQA. If you're using the native tools, I recommend restoring from the Central Administration GUI as you get forms to enter in the information; with stsadm -o restore you need to put it all in the command line and you could miss something. –  shufler Dec 7 '11 at 21:22
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Oh, right. You'll need to add a step between step 1 and 2 to add the solutions to the new farm so they are available (I've edited my answer to include this step). This part will handle the files in 12\TEMPLATES and the GAC. If you've modified IIS in any way, you'll need to make those same changes on your new servers. –  shufler Dec 7 '11 at 22:12
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The restore will create an IIS web site (and app pool) just as it would for a new web application. It's not restoring the IIS metadata so if you had performed any manual customization you'll may need to provide this if you need it in your new environment. –  shufler Dec 8 '11 at 18:32
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New -- that's the magic that lets you specify the new values. If you pick same, it will attempt to restore to servers and databases that contain the original values which is not desirable in your case. –  shufler Dec 9 '11 at 20:49
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