Exchange 5.5 needs to be upgraded to 2000 and mailboxes needs to be accessed by trusted NT Domain

The setup is this:

One Domain called "adomain" with NT PDC, BDC and member server with Exchange 5.5 SP3 called "mail" , 50 users. A sister company on another site with another NT domain, one PDC, no Exchange server, 15 users.
The domains trust one another and are connected by low bandwidth VPN. The users in "anotherdomain" access their own mailboxes on the Exchange Server in "adomain". All clients in both domains are w2k Pro.  

The goal is:

Upgrade all servers in "adomain" to AD w2k, mixed mode, AD domain "adomain.com" .  Upgrade Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 retaining name "mail". Allow users in "anotherdomain" to continue to access mailboxes on the (upgraded) Exchange Server in "adomain.com".  For the time being the PDC in "anotherdomain" will remain as NT.

Intended path:

Upgrade PDC and then BDC in "adomain" to W2k Server and AD domain "adomain.com".  Upgrade NT4 Exchange 5.5 to W2k Exchange 5.5.  Install W2k on a new server called "mail" and join workgroup.  Backup up mailbox data to .pst files on Exchnage 5.5 server and take it offline.  Join new w2k server called "mail" to "adomain.com and install Exchange 2000. Import mailbox data from .pst files.  

The question:

Will the upgrade path allow users in "anotherdomain" to continue to access mailboxes on the Exchange 2000 server in "adomain.com" and will they still be able to send emails with reply address, say, joebloggs@anotherdomain.org?  Any other/likely problems with this upgrade path?

Thanks for your patience!




   
SpodAsked:
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snowsurferCommented:
Here is how I think I would take a run at it.  
1. Sync the domain
2. If you can afford the time and a machine make another BDC (it can be a desktop level machine) and take it offline in case all goes to hell.  Its been known to happen
3. Upgrade the PDC to Windows 2000 server.  Because it is a PDC it will start installing AD as soon as it boots up.  IT will also want to install DNS, just follow along with the prompts.  (This server is going to be rebuilt anway)
Run NTDSNoMatch (I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS STEP IS)  This will give you the chance to deal with mailbox issues.
Build the New exchange server with all the patches and such, install Exchange 2000, make sure join the current 5.5 ORG, dont make a new one.  Dont forget forest and domain prep
Install the AD Connector, this will allow the Exchange 5.5 to interact with AD
Move the mailboxes to the new Windows 2000/Exchange 2000 server.  This will upgrade them and move them at the same time.
Rehome the public folders/free busy data etc.  (There are TIDS on this)
Remove the last Exchagne server from the site (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;284148)
Either install a new server or format and rebuild your BDC as a windows 2000 server and promote to a DC
Transfer the roles to this server
Take your original PDC and rebuild it from scratch and promote it to a PDC.

Now you wanted to keep your old server name mail.  While this wont happen here, outlook will automatically point the users to the new server when they long in.  As long as both servers are still up.  You should leave the 5.5 server up long enought to make sure the users have logged into their mailboxes.

All the users in the other domain should be fine during this process.  Then you can either merge the domains or upgrade the other domain or just leave it alone.

I have used this process.  Its painless and easy.  You shouldnt run into any major snags.

Here is a good article to follow alog with
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;316886&sd=tech

Good Luck
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SpodAuthor Commented:
Hi Snowsurfer,

Thanks for all your tips.  Your methododology is much the same I was intending to do.  I've basically got one extra server will be upgrading the NT PDC then installing a new W2K DC and then moving the FSMO to it and then reinstalling the fist W2K Dc from scratch.  Much cleaner I think.

The problem comes with the Exchange server (it is our only one) and if I rename it I have to do some Firewall reconfiguration which I'd rather avoid.

Also the Exchange 5.5 server has a site called "blablabla" and I don't want to migrate this and I want my users to use AD distribiution lists not the ones in Ex 5.5.

What is the best way of:

1. Keeping the same name
2. getting rid of all of the old Ex 5.5 directory system and using the AD system (will this happen as a matter of course when I do the upgrade from 5.5 to 2000?)

Thanks

Spud
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snowsurferCommented:
You can export to PST files and reimport.  You can use exmerge or just visit the desktops if you dont have to many users.  Just build a fresh Exchange 2000 with the name you want and import away.
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snowsurferCommented:
I am ok with whatever.  I seem to be the only person who answered.
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SpodAuthor Commented:
Thanks snowsurfer

I'm going to build a new E2k server, swing the mailboxes to it and then replace the old 5.5 server with a new a w2k one of the same name overnight.  Then the issues with reconfiguring the Firewall are avoided.

Cheers

Matt
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