Changing Domains on a SQL Server
Published Mar 23 2019 12:00 PM 3,944 Views
First published on TECHNET on Apr 02, 2011

Someone recently asked me what issues might arise when changing a server's domain and the server is running SQL Server. Here are the possible issues I'm aware of as far as SQL Server is concerned:

1. SQL Server SysAdmin (SA) Access. The most important issue is if you only have SQL Server sysadmin via domain accounts/groups, which is normal if STIG'd. In this case you should temporarily enable the sa account and ensure you know the password, until you get the new domain sysadmin accounts/groups working.

2. Service Account. The new domain service account(s) will need the same privileges as the old domain service accounts. If there are no custom permissions, just use the SQL Server Configuration Manager to change the service account while being logged in as a domain administrator. If it's in a very high-security environment, you might have to make sure that your domain admin account has all the standard permissions.

3. SQL Server Domain-based Logins. Logins that are based on domain accounts or domain groups will need to be recreated. The old ones can be scripted out to recreate all their permissions.

4. Changing IP Addresses. If required by the domain change, and if it's clustered , then the virtual server IP address must change in addition to the individual nodes.

5. Service Principal Names (SPNs). These are always used by clustered instances, and sometimes used by stand alone instances. If the IP addresses are changing, the old SPNs need to be dropped and new ones created. If the SQL Server service account is used to manage its own SPNs (not recommended) then the new domain service account will need to be granted the "Write servicePrincipalName" privilege.

If the servers are STIG'd then you should have test servers, and you should change their domain first, to see if any other problems arise.

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