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Exchange 2000 to Exchange 2003, new hardware, no downtime? is this possible?

Posted on 2007-04-01
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We currently have a Microsoft Exchange 2000 environment. We only have one exchange server and we want to upgrade it to at least an Exchange 2003 env.

Current Exchange is Exchange 2000 Enterprise. We want to migrate to Exchange 2003 Enterprise.

We have a new server with a clean install of Windows 2003 server with SP2 installed. How would we go about doing a slow migration of users and keeping both exchange up and running so that we do not have any downtown while the transfer is in progress? we cannot afford to have any down-time, is this even possible?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:paciolan
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 18833998
It should be.  Install the Exchange box as a second exchange server.  Then move the mailboxes over.  Then you move the various public folders and settings, then retire the old Exchange box.  I did this about a year ago for my own small network and don't recall any real downtime or problems (obviously, you'll need to change your MX record information, but that's about it.  And you can do that with box Exchange boxes running so that you don't retire the old box until after your completely done moving things.

I'd suggest having a read over this:
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Migrating-Exchange2000-Exchange-2003-Hardware.html
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18834015
Woah woah, mailboxes are the last thing you move.

Public folders get replicated which will take at least a week (And can be done during business hours) then you move the mailboxes over - which will involve downtime, but can be segmented to minimise it.

The guide leew gives above is what I used as well, and works a treat, there is also this from Sembee -> http://www.amset.info/exchange/migration.asp

-red
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18834024
You shouldn't need to change your MX records either - just change the NAT port forwarding to the new server once you have the mailboxes moved (no hurry on that though).

Before you retire the server, I also recommend you see how it goes turned off for a while as well - that will highlight any problems before they are fatal
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18834033
Well... you MAY have to change your MX records - depends on how your network is setup.  (I used to work in an environment with PLENTY of public IPs).
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18834044
Either way, the point is that exchange will handle the routing internally - mail can go to either server assuming they are online, irrespective of where the mailbox is located.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18834048
It was a year ago and it was a SMALL exchange environment... but for me, it was very simple and fairly quick.  And I moved mailboxes and public folders in an hour.  Though my public folders are not very large.  And why would you want to move the mailboxes LAST?  Can't you have multiple exchange servers?  What's the big deal with moving mailboxes...?

Though I do agree... turn off the server for a period as a final test (which is EASY to recover from).
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18834059
>>And I moved mailboxes and public folders in an hour.

I hope there was nothing important in those folders - it will seriously take a week as Exchange 2000 replication is so slow.

You move mailboxes last (as clearly explained in the guide you linked to) as Exchange will use the public folder store on the server where the mailbox is - if you move the mailboxes without the public folders.... see a problem here?

Oh, and the fact your public folders are not large is inconsequential - your FreeBusy data is there, OAB, etc - all this needs to be replicated.

paciolan, read the links - they clearly state how to do this properly.
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by:paciolan
ID: 18834067
thank you all, i will have the server up for at least a few weeks before i decomission the old server. any recommendations for having two exchange servers at once? even though the new machine has hot swappable raid and all that good stuff to protect it from emergencies, any advantage to having two exchange servers up at once? or would this be answered on a different post?
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18834075
We can answer that here.

Unless you are running a cluster, or something like DoubleTake, there are no huge advantages in 2 exchange servers running at one time.  Mailboxes can only exist on one server at any one time, so it is rather pointless to the end user if you have 2 servers up.

You would be better off making your old server either a mail gateway server for AV and AS scanning, or an ISA Gateway to forward OWA requests to the exchange server.

Personally, I would go with the mail gateway

-red
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18834098
I checked when I did it - I wasn't missing anything at all.  So are you suggesting that whatever server has the most mailboxes will be the server with the Exchange Public Folders?  Part of my experience with this is Exchange 2000 in an Enterprise environment - while I didn't manage it at the time, I asked a few questions and I simply do not recall any issues of this nature - in any case, you want to give it time to replicate of course, but the time things took was quite reasonable... MAYBE I let it sit for a day or two, but I KNOW it wasn't a week and the memory that's stuck in my head is transferring things, checking them, and seeing everything I expected right there almost right away.

I'll say again, my system was small, and it's always better to take your time and test things when possible... but from what I recall, it simply wasn't that big a deal.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18834107
>>So are you suggesting that whatever server has the most mailboxes will be the server with the Exchange Public Folders?

No, whatever server has YOUR mailbox is going to be YOUR home server for public folders.

I have done numerous migrations, ent or std 200x to 200x - using both the guide above, and more recently (and now exclusively) Simon's guide (the amset one).  I know it takes time from experience, recent experience.
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