Need to move exchange 2003 server to another server with a different name

Posted on 2004-11-19
Last Modified: 2009-02-19
whats the best method of moving exchange 2003 server from one server onto another server with a different name. need to move mailboxes and public folders
Question by:SandipDMehta
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment


      You have to make sure that storage group name is the same on the new server. Make a backup of your databases
      on the old server. Install new server using same drives pattern. After the new installation is successful, you can stop
      IS service, rename mdbdata folder copy the old one from a backup to the same location. Start the IS service.
      You might have to run adcleanup wizard and reconnect mailboxes when it's done.


    Author Comment

    can i use the move mailbox for the mailboxes and then use pfmigrate for the public folders? and then remove the old exchange 2003 server? will this cause any issues?
    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution


    Below is a lot of information to digest, but I do hope that it helps you.  If you have any questions after reading all of this (sorry it is long), then please, do ask!

    I would recommend the "move mailbox" method over the forklift method.  Moving Exchange as if it is a DR process (forklift method) will result in much more pain that you might like and it does not always work, adversely affecting your environment.  Exchange is very particular with the databases and the fact that it likes the Exchange DBs to be restored to a server that has the same name.

    A few notes on moving mailboxes.  Exchange 2003 can multi-thread and move up to 4 mailboxes at a time.  This is good, but don't let it fool you.  I would not run more than 50 mailboxes at a time.  Another thing to be cognizant of is your maintenance times within Exchange and the backups.  You do not want to move mailboxes while either Exchange is performing nightly maintenance or the backups are running.  Even if you have a few thousand 5-10 meg mailboxes, do not try to move anything more than 254 mailboxes at a time.  It is asking for trouble.  Plan on a few gigs per hour of performance.  It will vary dependent upon several factors, including processor, RAM, drive types, drive spindles total, and spindle speeds.  Another thing to note is this that you should communicate these moves to your it may affect them, even late at night.  It is easier to move the large users (500MB or more in their mailbox) and get them out of the way early in the game.

    Before moving mailboxes you will want to perform an incremental backup on your stores and storage groups.  That will flush the committed logs.  After that you will want to enable circular logging for the move only.  *Turn it back on after you are done with the move.* This will keep you from overloading your logs drive with too many logs and crashing your IS until the logs are cleaned up.

    Anti-virus... When doing mailbox moves, IF and only if you have another line of defense, it is a good practice to disable the Anti-virus scanner.  Sometimes these mutli-threaded moves will cause the AV scanner to crash.  If the IS (Information Store) has a dependency on the AV scanner then your IS will crash as well.

    Politics (and I hope that you do not have them) is another game:
    It might not look good for a manager who says "how many mailboxes did you move last night."  Your answer would be 5, but you may answer "I moved 2 Gigs worth of mailboxes, 5 total"...or answer the question before he/she asks.  When you get to the smaller ones, answer in the mailbox numbers..."I moved 100 mailboxes, 1 Gig total."  It has helped me out considerably.

    If you are planning on removing this server, there are some things that always ding people:
    The RUS service, the OAB, the SMTP connectors (or smarthost in the Default Virtual SMTP server), routing groups, public folder, and SRS.  I will include a KB article that goes over these "gotchas".

    Chances are that you already know some of this stuff, but here is some light reading that will help you with your process:
    Moving Mailboxes with the Exchange 2003 Move Mailbox Wizard

    How to remove the first Exchange Server 2003 computer from the administrative group
    LVL 104

    Expert Comment

    I'll support the move mailbox method. It makes the migration so much easier and removes a lot of the risks.
    However get everything else replicating first - public and system folders. Mailboxes should be the last thing to move.
    Furthermore by using the move mailbox method Outlook will redirect automatically when the clients connect the first time after the move. Just make sure that both servers are available.

    Otherwise - take your time. There is no need to rush it unless the other server is about to die. I usually take anything up to 3 weeks to do a migration and most of the time the clients don't even know that anything as changed.


    Author Comment

    Thanks for the help
    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for the follow-up, I had forgotten to mention the MAPI redirect (leave the old server up for ~1 week).  Most users will close their outlook the night you tell them they are being migrated...the next morning they should be redirected.


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