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I currently have a Sharepoint 2010 two-tier environment (1 server running DB, 1 server running both WFE and app functions running on Server 2008 R2).

Ultimately, I'd like to scale the environment from a 2-tier to a 3-tier (running WFE and search query services on one server, and all other service applications on the other). I would like ultimately remove current 2008 R2 server from the farm, completely replacing it with the new 2 farm members (running Server 2012).

Can I simply?:

  1. build two new 2012 servers with required hardware specs
  2. install and patch Sharepoint 2010 on both of them to the current environment with the configuration (WFE and APP) respectively
  3. modify DNS and AAM to point to the new WFE
  4. run the Sharepoint 2010 deployment wizard to remove the current 2008 R2 WFE/App server from the farm

Will that work--am I naive in the complexity of this? Any major considerations I need to take into account (e.g., is there a need to rebuild User Profile)? I've found some good documentation on scaling out a two-tier to a three-tier environment, but nothing concerning removing the existing WFE/App after the scale-out, so I'm a little gun shy.

Thanks!

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The short answer is "Yes". That's all there is to it. There is a nuance since you are replacing the Central Admin server. If you are going to use the Config Wizard you need to:

  1. "Add the server to an existing farm" and specify the current config DB.
  2. On the last page of the wizard you need to hit the additional settings (or advanced settings, I don't have it in front of me) click that button and choose to create Central Administration) on the App server. (You don't need to do this on the other new server.

Finally, you will need to use PowerShell to move the Search Topology around and get all the other existing services off of the old server and onto one of your new servers.

(Update: If you use PowerShell to deploy your servers, you can do the same thing with PowerShell cmdlets.) Once you have everything up and running you can take the old server out of rotation and test your system, if it's working run the config wizard on that box and remove it from the farm.

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