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Flatten and Rebuild of Exchange 2003

I have a simple Exchange environment:  One server, one Administrative Group, one database, approximately 300 users.

We originally did an in-place upgrade from 2000 to 2003 and after having a lot of lingering problems from the upgrade and we've decided to rebuild the server from scratch.

I don't have any new hardware to play with, so building in parallel then moving the mailboxes isn't an option.

How should I go about doing this?

I found this (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q155216/) article in the MS KB which seems like it would accomplish what I need, but it's only listed as being a solution for 5.5 and below.  Is this still a viable strategy for 2003, is there a more up-to-date article on this method, or is there an all together better way of doing it?

Thanks.
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titan6400
Asked:
titan6400
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1 Solution
 
flyguybobCommented:
It would be possible to use Exmerge to merge out all of the mailboxes and then merge them into the new server.
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SembeeCommented:
Are you sure that you have nothing else that can even take Exchange for a little while? It doesn't have to be a server, I have used workstations in the past. It just needs to have enough space to take the stores.
A swing migration will be so much easier and will keep the site running. It is also less risky.

Otherwise you are looking at the backup restore method. This will be slow - it depends on what you backup to and how large the stores are. You will be doing a disaster recovery restore, so take a look at the white papers from Microsoft on how to prepare for and do a disaster recovery restore.

You should also give yourself plenty of time - probably an entire weekend. The biggest problem with the backup/restore method is once the old server has gone you have to finish. I would make sure that you have authority to call Microsoft in case something does go wrong.

Simon.
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flyguybobCommented:
This may help you just a bit.

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Exchange-Migration-Wizard.html
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327304


1)  You will have to remove the mail attributes for all of the users after you have exported their mailboxes.
2)  You should remove the Exchange Org since you are not transferring the roles to another server.  Otherwise you will have a lot of orphaned objects out there, such as the Free/Busy, Offline Address Book, Recipient Update Service, etc.
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Remove-Exchange-server-entire-Exchange-organization.html
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/273478
3) You should perform the Forest and domain preps again.


***You should seriously consider getting approval for a support call to Microsoft.  What you are proposing is unorthodox and could result in some problems when you stand up the new system.  The $295 (or $245 with contract) is well worth it, should you encounter a problem.  If not, it is nice to know that you can get a P.O. approved, even if you did not need it.


****As an aside, I also wanted to note that you are asking for a lot of headaches****
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titan6400Author Commented:
I can make the call to Microsoft on my own authority (and have before, believe me...)

Say that hypothetically, I do have a machine that I can temporarily dump Exchange on to while I rebuild the other box, making a "parallel" situation a possibility.  Does this make my life a lot easier?  Tell me more about this so-called "swing migration".
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SembeeCommented:
A swing migration is basically where you install Windows 200x server and Exchange 2003 on to another machine. Same domain, new names.
Then configure replication of public folders. Then use Move Mailbox wizard to move all the mailboxes to this swing machine.
You then remove the original machine following the article at MS: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=822931

Drop the original machine in to a workgroup, reboot and rebuild.

You then reverse the process to put everything back on to the new machine.

It is known as swing as you swing the data out, then back.

Simon.
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flyguybobCommented:
KB822931 is definitely the definitive KB for "swing" migrations.  Sembee covered it well...and I can't cover it any better.
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SembeeCommented:
I covered it very briefly. If I skipped too much then post back - that was an outline, not a howto.

Simon.
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titan6400Author Commented:
Any more info (I love "how tos") would be most helpful.

When we setup this Exchange org, we set it up originally with Ex2000 and then did an in-place upgrade to 2003, as I said.  I'm not the most experienced with Exchange, but this place is something of a "three guys that do everything" shop, so Exchange is my baby whether I like it or not.

Anyway, fairly green when it comes to serious changes to Exchange, so any more detail that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
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titan6400Author Commented:
Here is sort of a preliminary procedure for doing this whole operation.  Could you guys have a look and see if I'm missing or misunderstanding anything?

•      Install Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition SP1 onto temp server.
•      Add temp server into current Exchange organization/Administrative Group and Routing Group.
•      Uninstall Exchange-aware AV protection from original server.
•      Perform “swing out” procedures to swing responsibilities of and mailbox databases on original server to temp server temporarily.  See KB822931.
      o            Replicate public folders.
      o            Rehome offline address book folder.
      o            Change server responsible for offline address book.
      o            Rehome Schedule+ Free/Busy folder.
      o            Rehome Recipient Update Service
      o            Designate new Routing Group Master
      o            Move Mailboxes to new server.
•      Uninstall Exchange from original server, remove from domain, down server.
•      Rebuild original server:  Format, reinstall 2003 Server, reinstall all patches and backup agents, reinstall Exchange 2003 Server.
•      Perform “swing back” procedures; same as described above in reverse.
•      Uninstall Exchange 2003 from temp server.
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SembeeCommented:
Thats pretty much it.
When you install Exchange on to the temp server it will automatically join the existing Exchange org. You cannot have more than one Exchange org in a domain, so you will not have to worry about that.

Simon.
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flyguybobCommented:
...and you can't have more than one Exchange org in a forest.  
Add it to the same Administrative Group and the same Routing Group....don't create a new one.
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titan6400Author Commented:
Yep, got that in my instructions up there already.

Thanks for both of your help.  Hopefully this will be a relatively painless procedure.
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