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switching to a new Exchange hardware by moving mailboxes: what happens to Outlook Web Access?

Posted on 2006-11-14
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After reading recommendations here, I've opted while upgrading hardware to add the new computer to the network as a second Exchange server, and move the mailboxes from the old to the new. The question is: what happens to Outlook Web Access for those accounts which have been moved to the new server? DNS points to the old server for the OWA connection. I'm seeing "The page cannot be displayed" when I try to access through OWA a test account that I have moved. How are other admins who are gradually moving accounts as the method of upgrade dealing with this?
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Question by:hyogurt
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dynamitedotorg earned 100 total points
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You either need to allow access to both mail servers or put a Front End server in place.

The FE server will allow OWA access irrespective of which mailserver actually holds the mailbox.
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by:Sembee
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If you aren't moving everything across in one hit, then I usually stand up a temporary Exchange 2003 standard edition server and set it as a frontend. Then point the incoming OWA traffic at that.
I used to suggest using the evaluation edition of Exchange 2003, but Microsoft have pulled the download in prep for Exchange 2007, so that option isn't available to you.

Simon.
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by:hyogurt
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Well, the first option (access to both mail servers) is tricky, because it means adding a new DNS record (and firewall forwarder) and distributing the address to those who have moved, or are being moved, or are about to be moved.

And the second option is tricky because it requires a whole new server.

Is there a way to jig the server roles temporarily, e.g., make the old server a Front End server so it distributes mail to both servers, and then, when that server is retired, restore the old heirarchy so the new server exists on its own?
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by:dynamitedotorg
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How quickly can you move all the mailboxes across? If you can move them all in one go then a judicious bit of swapping around will keep everything working.
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by:hyogurt
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I'm not sure how quickly they would go...it's only about 30GB of data, and the new hardware is quick (3.0Ghz dual-core Xeon), and it's through gigabit Ethernet, but the old server is a bit of a pig, a 933Mhz Pentium III. I was hoping to do it slowly and carefully, avoid a mad dash, but that may be the only way.

Although the temporary Front End server seems like a good idea. I mean it could just be a Celeron or some punk little piece of hardware, correct?
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by:dynamitedotorg
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For short term use the FE server needn't be anything special as long as it's got decent connectivity to the back end servers. Actual spec will depend somewhat on how many concurrent users you expect to use it.
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by:Sembee
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Depends how many users. I have run frontends on PIII 700's before. I have one that I take to clients for just that reason. It needs to be able to run Windows 2003 SP1, so anything bought in the last three years or so with a decent amount of RAM will be fine.

Treat it as any other Exchange server though - patch it, service pack it etc. When you have finished with it, remove Exchange using add/remove programs, reboot and then drop it from the domain and reboot. Just because it is a temp server doesn't mean standards should slip - that is how attackers get in.

Simon.
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