Upgrading Exchange 2000 to Exchange 2003 with new hardware

Hi everyone:

This up-comming weekend we are planning on transferring our current Exchange 2000 server to a brand new, completely different server with Windows Server/Exchange 2003.

Currently the Exchange 2000 is running on an out-of-date Windows 2000 Server box.

2 Weeks ago we upgraded the domain controller to Windows Server 2003 successfully (including forestprep and adprep).

This is the last step in our complete move to Windows Server 2003.

I have read the article here: http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Migrating-Exchange2000-Exchange-2003-Hardware.html
which seems to be extremely straight forward and ultimately pretty easy.  The only problem i can see is that this article talks about moving Exchange to a brand new server with a completely different computer name.  We would like to keep the same computername as the old exchange server if possible because we have other applications that rely on that name to work properly, plus we would prefer not to have to go to all 80 client PCs to re-configure outlook properties.

Is this possible?  I would imagine it would be, because if our exchange server was to crash, we would have to have a way of restoring from a backup - which is, i guess essentially what we would be doing, except on different hardware/software.  And if so, what are the proposed steps for this action?  Do i need to re-run adprep/forestprep if they have already been completed?

Also, right now all of our users are using Outlook 2002.  Once the new exchange server is in place and working, we'd like to upgrade to Outlook 2003. Does anyone have any suggestions for the easiest deployment method for this?

Please help!

Thank You.
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A full swing is exactly as you have described. The initial problem is getting the data off Exchange 2000. The replication process is very slow. Once you are on Exchange 2003 the replication process is much faster and the swing to the new machine with the original name can be much quicker. I will do a full swing on Exchange 2003 only in a weekend. I will not even consider it with Exchange 2000 and if a client asks me to do so then I tell them to reconsider.

However I have not been beaten on using a new name yet. There is pain, but in the long term dealing with the pain at that point is much better. You only have to make the changes once if done correctly and then future changes become much easier.

If you want the least disruptive change, then using a new name is the best solution, as you can leave both the old and the new machine up and running. You can then make the changes in other applications in a controlled manner.

Remember that even if you using the old name on the new machine, you will have a Window of around three to four hours where the old name will not work. You have to remove the old Exchange server in the correct way before you can reuse the name. That takes a little while to replicate out of Exchange. Then you have to remove the server from the domain and delete all references to that machine in the domain. Only then can you build the replacement server. While the replacement server build can be done in an hour, once you have downloaded all the Windows updates and installed them, then Exchange 2003 install, service pack and updates, you are looking at a good three hours. Then you have to wait for the public and system folders to replicate. Even on Exchange 2003 that will still take a couple of hours to complete. Finally you can move the mailboxes across.

Don't forget that the temporary server needs to be up to ensure that any Outlook clients can be redirected automatically.

There is a chance that it could be done in a single weekend. Once all the public and system folders are on the temporary Exchange server all you have to do is move the mailboxes. However if you were going to do it in a weekend it will not be this one as there isn't enough time to get the folders across.

your outllok clients will automatically see the new server so you do not have to worry about that
you need to do a swing migration-you are going to be using different hardware than the old server so the restore option might be risky
for upgrading to outlook 2003 it depends -you can use group policy software distribution -i used this before which can be done in AD-but if you have local archives etc you will have more work to do
brendonleeAuthor Commented:
So my exchange clients will automatically update the server information if we used a different computer name?

This still presents a problem with the voicemail software as it uses the server name to connect and distribute voicemails via email.

Is keeping the server name the same a difficult task? Would it be a better idea to change the name of the server, and update the voicemail server to send to the new server name?   If possible, i would really like to keep the old name - however if it will cause more problems and headaches, and the clients will automatically update - it may be more beneficial to change the name.

As of now, my clients are using local archives because the exchange server is very close to being full - this is the major reason for the upgrade/change of server.  So using GP to distribute Outlook 2003 would be a problem because of this?
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yes they will see the new server autimatically
are you putting exchange on a domain controller?-bad idea if so you should put it on a member server for many different reasons
if you want to keep the same server name you will need to be able to afford alot of downtime you may need to exmerge mailboxes to a pst file etc -its going to be awkward
i would usually map the archives to a network drive folder rather than put them locally
I would strongly advise using a new computer name. Trying to retain the existing servername is complex.
The best way to do Exchange migrations is swing. If you insist on keeping the same name then you should do a full swing, using a temporary interim machine.

If you are going to do a swing migration you need to get the server built today. As it is, your chances of doing a migration this weekend are limited.

The reason is replication of public and system folders. The replication is very slow coming off Exchange 2000. I usually recommend that you allow at least a week, preferably more before you even consider putting mailboxes on to the new server. You cannot move mailboxes first and wait for the public and system folders to follow as your Exchange environment will be close to useless as the clients will be unable to find lots of information they need to operate.

As for other applications accessing the server, how exactly do they access the server? SMTP, MAPI, something else?
If it is SMTP this is probably a good time to change your configuration to use generic names rather than the server specific name. So you would create a DNS name of mail.domain.com which points to whatever your current Exchange server is. You then do not have any problems when changing servername.

As for Outlook deployment, that should be handled as a separate item. You need to get Exchange running correctly first.
If you currently have pst files scattered around then there is no easy way to get that content back in to Exchange. You might be able to exmerge the content in to the mailboxes. Otherwise it is a manual import.

I am not a fan of group policy deployments of applications, mainly because of the load it can put on the network. Outlook 2003 isn't a small application and depending on how many users you have and their use pattern, you may find that you flood the network the morning of the deployment.

brendonleeAuthor Commented:
Thank you for all of your comments so far.

poweruser32:  the exchange server is NOT a domain controller and will NOT be one in the future.  And the archives are stored on a mapped network drive instead of locally - i mislabeled that.  Sorry.  

Sembee:  could you explain the process of using a temporary interim machine?  do you mean load exchange onto another server temporarily with a different name, then transfer it to the new server which has the same name as the old exchange server?  Is this the only solution for keeping the original name?  

We want this transition to be as simple and easy as possible.

We will concentrate on loading outlook 2003 another time - you are right we should definately get exchange up and running before worrying about outlook.
brendonleeAuthor Commented:
Thank you simon and poweruser32.  We have decided to not do a full swing and to use a new name for the exchange server.  The only thing that will be the same is the IP address, which should not be a problem i do not think.  Thanks again for all of your help and knowledge.

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