We have recently started some research at Archives New Zealand to investigate the best approaches for appraising, transferring (where relevant) and preserving databases.
As part of this research we will be undertaking case studies of a number of databases. The case studies will involve a number of aspects including where possible testing one or more preservation approaches on each database. We hope to publish the results of this research at the end of the project.
As part of one of the case studies we recently migrated an entire Windows 2000 Server machine to virtualized hardware and onto emulated hardware. The motherboard and other components failed during transport so the process proved particularly challenging but was ultimately successful.
The machine held an MSSQL database with a custom HTML front-end. The database consisted of a digital index to some paper records. The paper records had been transferred to us earlier from the agency (LINZ) that gave us the database to do research on. The migrated and virtualised (or emulated) database may now be used in our reading room(s) to aid users in discovering and accessing the transferred paper records.
Attached to this post is some relatively brief documentation of the process. This version has had the passwords that were recovered from the machine removed from it.
This example will be included in the case study for this database with a discussion of the value of the process versus the resources required etc. Those aspects are possibly the most interesting for this community but hopefully there is some value in this process documentation also.