Moving main Exchange 5.5 server to second server with DNS

Posted on 2006-06-15
Last Modified: 2010-03-06
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.
Question by:breid7718
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Expert Comment

by:NetoMeter Screencasts
ID: 16917431
DISCLAIMER from the Moderators: the links in this post require a paid registration to view.

You have to perform a couple of additional steps before you proceed with decommissioning your old Exchange 5.5 server – these are steps 8 and 9 from the following video tutorial:

Once you are done with the above you can promote the BDC to a PDC and shutdown the old Exchange server for a couple of days. I assume that you have already installed DNS on the new PDC and pointed all the clients to it. If there are no problems you can proceed with deleting the Exchange 5.5 server in Exchange Administrator (Step 10) and deleting the old PDC (now BDC) from the server manager.


Author Comment

ID: 16920143
Brilliant - I can't believe I didn't find this site Googling.

One other item - I'm currently running OWA on another machine.  Do you know if OWA will find the moved mailboxes just like an Outlook client, and how I can change which mail server OWA points to once I decommission the old Exchange server?

Author Comment

ID: 16920272
Also, any suggestions about which tasks I should accomplish during off hours as opposed to working hours?
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Author Comment

ID: 16920307
And yet again...

Instead of following step 9 to change the IP in the firewall configuration, could I just change the IP on the server itself to match the old server's?  This would really be beneficial as it will also become the new DNS, and I have some ancient clients still pointing to the IP for their DNS configuration.

Author Comment

ID: 16950933
Anyone want to follow up on this?  Please?
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:NetoMeter Screencasts
ID: 16952682
You can change the IP but first wait until all the clients are redirected.
After that you can clear the old record in DNS and WINS change the IP of the new server.
It is a good idea to check whether the new server registered correctly in DNS and WINS.

Best Regards,


Accepted Solution

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Because the site requires a paid subscription to view the screencast, it is considered advertising, and no points may be awarded. The points have been refunded and the question closed.

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