Moving main Exchange 5.5 server to second server with DNS
Posted on 2006-06-15
Hope someone has been through this.
My Exchange 5.5 server hardware is failing. I have an upgrade to 2003 slated for later this year, but I need to make sure the mail situation stays going until the funds are approved.
Initially I had one 5.5 server, also hosting the internal DNS and is the Primary Domain Controller, running NT4. I thought I'd try just adding a secondary server in the site to migrate to. I got a replacement server put together with NT4, added it as a Backup Domain Controller, and added it to the Exchange site successfully. So I now have two servers - the original and a secondary one with no mailboxes. I moved one mailbox across and everything works fine - an Outlook client pointed at MAIL1 as its server changes the name to MAIL2 when I specify the moved mailbox and connects to the mailbox just fine.
I am a little bit fuzzy about the best way to phase out the original mail server now. I think the steps involved will need to include:
- Moving the mailboxes to the new server. I did the test mailbox by opening the properties page and changing the designation for Main Server.
- Moving the DNS to the new server. I understand that I can just copy the files from system32/dns to the new machine and it will accept them without complaints.
- Turning off the old server
- Changing the IP address to the old server's address (for my older machines that point to the IP for DNS address, and for references in the DNS files)
I'm not sure that this is right, or even if it's necessarily the best way to go. I'm wondering if a better solution would just be to take a full offline backup of this machine and restore it to the new one, but it's very dissimilar hardware and RAID setup, so I'm afraid there would be problems. There would also be some backup media difficulties, as they have dissimilar tape drives. I did get the basic drives set up similarly to the original, but the new disks are larger than the old, so not a perfect match.
The most important thing for me is a minimal interruption of services, as we go pretty much 24/7.
So, my question is - given my situation, what is my easiest, least interruptive solution for replacing my ailing mail server with a new machine?
I'd like some guidance on this from someone who's really familiar with 5.5 and the NT domain and DNS workings.