Exchange Server 2000 Upgrade to 2003

Posted on 2006-06-01
Last Modified: 2010-03-06
Hi everyone
I'm just starting to research and plan for taking a single-domain forest up to 2003 r2 servers (dc's only), and exchange 2003. Currently it looks like this:
Site 1 - Windows 2000 DC/fsmo role holder + Windows 2000 DC/Exchange 2000 SP3 (I know - not my fault but it still runs happily at the moment) + 2 x 2000 Sp4 member servers - one running TS/Office 2000 for remote users and the other a SQL-based bespoke finance app.
Sites 2 and 3 - Have 1 2003 Standard Server SP1 DC (site servers) each running Symantec Corporate/plus file server/dns/dhcp. All DC's are GC's.
We have numerous other sites connecting via adsl/vpn and authenticating to our 2000 DC fsmo. Our main 3 sites are linked via Cisco Pix/High speed DSL. There's just one exchange server and it's serving about 150 mailboxes - so pretty small. The internal Ip address of this server nats to a static public ip for this server only - if there are any connectivity problems the isp is also supplying a smtp mail-feed.

The inetorgpersonprevent.ldf was run a while ago - and the schema upgraded for Windows 2003 (obviously or I wouldn't be running the above) - at the moment all is happy. We do run into problems with the limitations of 2000 dfs replicating shared organisational folders across the three sites which is one of the reasons I want to take it up to R2. The domain is currently running in Windows 2000 Native mode.
I can plug a temp server into the main site to hold the exchange mailboxes if necessary whilst I demote the exchange server, rebuild it as 2003, install exchange 2003 on it and move the mailboxes back.

Basically I need as little downtime as possible (don't we all) and so I'll be working weekends with this once I'm happy with a tested plan - our users and more importantly Directors get very upset if any part of the system goes down (especially email). I've got a test system ready to roll with this with a replica of our AD and servers plus other apps as close to our production environment as I can get it running on a virtual network. The AD on the test network is an identical replica taken from our production environment. Apart from the member servers which will stay as 2000 members for the next couple of years or so, the other apps on the DC's are compatible with 2003 Server and all dc's are of easily sufficient specs to run 2003 server. Has anyone got any real-world, experience-based "do this" and "don't do that" tips they'd like to share? (Links are fine but I'd be happier with personal experience to accompany them as I'm pretty good at trawling for the knowledge I need on the web). Thanks for all contributions - and I may not be able to get back to people until tomorrow (UK time).
Deb :))
Question by:Debsyl99

    Expert Comment

    out of all the migrations ive done with windows migrations/upgrades, i can only recall doing one 2000 -> 2003 upgrade, but it was part of an NT 4.0 EXCH 5.5 upgrade. the procedure i had to follow was fully service pack NT4.0, and exch 5.5, then begin the upgrade. since there is no direct 4.0/5.5 to 2003 i had to go 4.0 -> 2000, 5.5 -> exch2000, service pack the 2000 installations, then upgrade from 2000 to 2003 on both server and exchange. the process was service pack OS, service pack Exchange, upgrade the OS, upgrade Exchange, test exchange, service pack OS, Service pack Exchange, test Exchange, so on until i had 2003 tested and running. it was extremely nerve racking to say the very least. during the upgrade process, i did experience email downtime, albiet for a short while. just remember that you cannot upgrade from enterprise software to standard software (2000 enterprise -> 2003 standard) this is considered a downgrade in microsofts eyes.

    for safetys sake, i would run full backups of the system state and the exchange mailbox stores at the very least. and i would suggest using the temp machine as a mailbox repository while going through the upgrade procedure. this would circumvent any email outages if you fall victim to a failed upgrade.

    if i can find my notes on my upgrade procedure i will post some more experiences, and if i suddenly remember anything, ill be sure to post it up as well.
    LVL 20

    Author Comment

    Thanks cbgmike - I always take full backups and test them (learnt that one the hard way a long time ago) . I've already made sure that I can successfully recover the entire exchange installation from backup to a completely new server if necessary as part of a disaster recovery plan. All the servers are fully patched - and the editions of 2000/2003 server and 2000/2003 exchange are both Standard.
    LVL 104

    Accepted Solution

    That is a fairly easy migration to do.
    The major bottle neck will be getting the data off Exchange 2000. You have to replicate the public folder data off and PF replication on Exchange 2000 is slow. There is nothing you can do to speed it up.

    You would basically do a full swing migration, which I have outlined on my web site:

    I would swing to a temp Exchange 2003 server so that the swing back is much quicker.

    The key thing is to give yourself enough time. I will often start an Exchange 2000 to 2003 migration a week or more before the mailbox data to allow replication of public and system folders to take place naturally.

    LVL 20

    Author Comment

    That's a top article Simon - thank you. I'll keep this open a bit longer just in case - but that looks like it covers it exactly.
    Best wishes
    Deb :))

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