Windows 2003 Domain Migration w/ Exchange 2003

Posted on 2006-05-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-07-22
I need to combine 4 domains within the same forest into one domain.  Three domains include the root domain and are in one tree and the 4th domain is a separate tree.  The root domain also has an Exchange 2003 Enterprise box in it which serves users in all 4 domains.

My current config:

Within the same forest I have:

In the second forest I have:

I have been going through countless posts in Experts Exchange and I feel like I have a good handle on most of this migration.  So, first my general plan then my questions.  If you have any suggestions or see any flaws in my migration steps please let me know.  I realize I'm leaving some gritty details out like recreating GPO's, creating OU's, etc.  I'm looking more big picture here.

1. Use ADMT 3.0 to move all accounts, groups, and computers from b.root.com into root.com.
2. Kill the DC in b.root.com.
3. Use ADMT 3.0 to move all accounts, groups, and computers from a.root.com into root.com.
4. Kill the DC in a.root.com.
5. Use ADMT 3.0 to move all accounts, groups, and computers from leaves.com into root.com.
6. Kill the DC in leaves.com.
7. I need to rename the remaining DC in root.com using netdom found in Windows 2003 Support Tools.  Found instructions in EE link http://www.petri.co.il/windows_2003_domain_controller_rename.htm.
8. I need to rename the domain root.com into somethingelse.com.  Found instructions in EE link http://www.petri.co.il/windows_2003_domain_rename.htm with more details on the rename tool in Microsoft site.

Now questions:
A. When I migrate using ADMT does the old domain disappear or do I have to take steps to make it go away within root.com?
B. What happens to Exchange during all of this?  The Exchange box serves accounts in all four domains.  As I consolidate domains/users I want their mail to continue to work on the server.  We are talking about 250 mailboxes so I don't wanna recreate any.

Question by:broussardgroup
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LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 16694930
Hi broussardgroup,

sounds good so far although i dont know where you got that you have to change domain names....... unless this is something you want to do

a) The old Domain will have to be manually removed
b) If exchange is in the root then just trial with a test user and see what happens, i havent done a domain merge at this scale but if exchange is already servicing all these users you should be fine, it will look after itself, just test one
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 16695346
The general opinion in the Exchange community (despite what Microsoft might claim) is that you don't rename a domain with Exchange installed.

Therefore if you want to rename the domain, you will need to either create a new domain or remove Exchange.

LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 16695362
Thanks Simon, i was actually going to send you an email and get clarification on this one


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Author Comment

ID: 16698960
With all the merges the root domain name doesn't fit anymore.  We are merging several companies/departments which is why I wanted to rename the domain in the end.  Sembee, I am very concerned about Exchange.  So the domain rename will blow Exchange up?

Do I simply backup my entire Information Store from my old Exchange box, build a new one in the new domain, then restore it to the new box?  What happens to my 250 mailboxes with user permissions?  If all of these are still pointed to user accounts with the wrong domain name I assume the user permissions to the mailboxes will be invalid in the new domain.  I have to reassign 250 users back to their mailboxes?

Isn't there a better way to do this?
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 16701063
It is only recently that Microsoft have brought in domain rename capabilities.
Unfortunately Exchange 2003 hasn't really kept up with the changes and as such, the results of trying a domain rename with a domain with Exchange are mixed - but enough on the negative side for the consensus to be - don't do it.

Backup restore of the information store will probably fail as well. Exchange is very closely tied to the domain.

Unless you are prepared to pay for third party migration tools (look at Quest to start with if you are), then you are looking at doing a manual migration. That means export / import using exmerge. It will also mean recreating the permissions manually as you cannot bring the permissions with you because they are going to a new domain.
If the exmerge is done correctly, along with the user account creation, then you shouldn't have to assign anything manually. I have moved 300+ mailboxes manually in the past and got one wrong, which isn't a bad success rate.


Author Comment

ID: 16701790
Thanks for all the info Simon.  One more time for my thick skull...

So, renaming the domain means recreating Exchange unless I iinvest in 3rd party tools.  The exmerge process will facilitate moving each mailbox and upon the merge into the new store will walk/wizard me through joining it back to a user account?

What about Public folders?  I'm sure there is plenty of documentation on exmerge but since you've been so helpful...
LVL 104

Accepted Solution

Sembee earned 1000 total points
ID: 16702536
Public folders is a manual job. You cannot exmerge them.
You have to copy/move the public folders to a PST file.

With exmerge, what I usually do is export all the content.
The new accounts are created, and the alias on the account is set to be identical to the aliases on the accounts on the old domain. Send an email to every account as a test will christen the mailbox. Then run exmerge on the new domain and the email will be imported in to the new mailboxes. No manual attachment required.


Author Comment

ID: 16703165
Great.  Thanks for the attention Simon.

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