Move Standalone Exchange 2003 to a Cluster

Posted on 2006-11-14
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
Greeting Peeps!

  Here is the skinny.  The company I recently started with wishes to move to an Exchange Cluster. They wish to do the following:

  1  Keep the current Exchange Name
  2  Keep the same IP address

  I just found out today that they are using host files on the clients that point to the exchange server, because apparently the outlook connection kept dropping, I guessing mainly because they have 1 WINS server.  I am putting together an MS Project plan with all the steps needed but I can't seem to wrap my head around this one.  Not sure how to do this since I am the only here who knows anything about clustering and exchange, so I am asking for help.  

From the 100,000ft view I was thinking of doing this:

A)  Install and setup windows 2003 clustering under new name and IP
B)  Install exchange
C)  Move mailboxes
D)  Rename Exchange Cluster and change IP
Question by:MrcJhnsn
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 17942188
Hi MrcJhnsn,

You cannot make a standalone exchange server part of a cluster, you need to make the cluster and then install exchange.

Renaming exchange servers is also not a very good idea (it isnt going to work) - if you can use a new name, it will save you HEAPS of work

What you would need to do if you must keep the existing name is

a) add a new temporary exchange server and swing exchange over to that (serverb)
b) create your cluster using the old exchange name (servera)
c) install exchange on servera and then swing it back from serverb

Hope that helps,


Author Comment

ID: 17942352
Red - I wasn't planning on using the current server in the cluster.  I will be using all new hardware.  I can't help but feel there's gotta be a way to do this.  It's so simple a thing to do you would think it wouldn't be so hard.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 17942468
So simple a thing to do?

Renaming an exchange server is not a simple thing to do, and that is where the problem in your plan is.

It would be a simple thing to do if you didn't want to keep the same name, which should be entirely possible if the network was configured optimally (using hosts files is just a band-aid solution, and doesn't address the problem)

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Author Comment

ID: 17947798
Thanks Red - so let me ask you this, how would it work optimally.  Without keeping the name and IP.  Would I be able to join the cluster to a routing group, move the mailboxes to the cluster, and shut down the old server.  Would the client automatically pick up the new server?  I think I read something like that but I don't quite get how that works.
LVL 39

Accepted Solution

redseatechnologies earned 500 total points
ID: 17950421
>>if the network was configured optimally

was my way of saying "if the network was configured properly" in the least offensive way I possibly could.

And I was talking about host files - DNS configured properly would mean you have no need for them.

But, back to your question about the new cluster, when you do a migration from one exchange 200x server to another exchange 200x server (including clusters) and then move all the mailboxes over, if BOTH the old and new machines are online when the outlook client tries to connect, the old server will automagically point it at the new server with no configuration necessary.

This guide from Sembee is fantastic reading about migrations such as this ->


Author Comment

ID: 17950652
You have been very helpful, thanks.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 17950697
No problems


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