Retiring Servers

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

There may be instances when you need to retire an RMS server, for example, due to the following situations:

  • Equipment problems or upgrades that result in the replacement of specific servers.

  • A decrease in licensing and publishing traffic that results in the decommissioning of some servers.

  • Legal requirements to remove servers from specific locations that result in the decommissioning of an entire cluster.

  • Mergers or sales of divisions or other portions of an organization that result in the transfer of assets.

  • Merger of an entire organization with another organization that is also running RMS, making both RMS installations redundant.

Before you retire a server, you should back up all RMS databases that are used by the server, especially the configuration database. For more information about backing up databases, see “Backing Up and Restoring the RMS System” in the "RMS: Planning " section of this documentation collection. .

After you back up the databases, you can remove the server. The requirements for removing an RMS server depend on the role of the server and topology of the RMS installation:

  • Removing one server from a cluster. If the RMS server that you want to retire is in a cluster in which other RMS servers are still active and required, removing an individual RMS server from the cluster requires that you unprovision and uninstall RMS on the server that you want to retire, take the server out of the load balancing roation, remove the hardware from the cluster, and archive the databases.


    Only servers in the root cluster must be unprovisioned before you uninstall RMS. This process is not required for servers in a licensing-only cluster.

  • Retiring the last server in a cluster. If the RMS server that you want to retire is the last server in a cluster that you will replace with a new server, take the following steps: unprovision and uninstall the existing RMS server, remove it from the network, and then immediately install and provision RMS on the replacement server. Configure the new RMS server to use the same URL and configuration database as the retired RMS server. Keep in mind that, until the replacement server is installed and provisioned, users cannot consume content that was published by the retired server.


    If the RMS server that you are replacing uses a hardware security module, you must transfer the security world to the new server before you install and provision RMS on it. For instructions, see the documentation that came with your hardware security module.

  • Replacing an RMS installation with another, existing RMS installation. In some circumstances, you may need to retire an RMS installation and replace it with another, existing RMS installation, for example, in the case of a company merger where both companies are running RMS.

When you unprovision and uninstall a server, the server is removed from the ClusterServer table of the configuration database, and the directory services database is deleted from the database Server. For instructions about unprovisioning and uninstalling RMS, see "To Unprovision RMS" and "To Uninstall RMS" later in this subject.