Exchange Server 2000 Upgrade to 2003
Posted on 2006-06-01
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).