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Exchange 2007 Transition (and offsite move)

Posted on 2008-10-07
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I am building out a series of 64bit, 2003 R2 servers (AD, NAS, Exchange 2007, Web) with the intent of moving them offsite to rented rack space at Verizon's colo facility.  I already have a router, switch and separate domain in this location.  The idea is to gain continuity by moving our services and nationwide VPN termination offsite to a more secure, reliable power and AC environment.  The AD and NAS servers are already built and running on my local domain/subnet, but are not yet moved.  I am building these services in an IBM BladeCenter S.  The move will require IP changes and some routing configuration local and remote.

My question is, should I wait until after I have already moved AD, and VPN termination to the new facility, before I build the Exchange 2007 server?  Then build 2007 in the environment in which it is going to reside, IP, Subnet, etc.  Or can I build Exchange 2007 locally, Transition from 2003, move Mailboxes, and decommission Exchange 2003 then 'Forklift" the entire BladeCenter S. AD NAS, Exchange et al.

I do not have a test environment and with email being the company's life's blood, I only have one shot at this.

Thank you.
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Question by:ARob720
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by:Exchange_Geek
ID: 22662810
If there is a good connectivity between both sites - then i would prefer to install Active Directory Server (DC / GC) on remote site - let replication start.

Install Exchange 2007 on local site - move the mailboxes and public folders etc.

Fork Lift the server - work with the routing configuration once your server is placed on the new site.

Yes, you need to remember that you are working with live database - this means before you work with moving the boxes - for heaven sake please take Exchange backup - also the downtime is also involved in this case - but idea looks fool-proof provided your transportation is also fool-proof ;)
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Author Comment

by:ARob720
ID: 22663468
Speed - The colo is considered to be on the backbone of the Internet and I have multiple Ts coming into my HQ.  If data transfer is slow after the move then we will invest in a Point-to-Point T.

My plan is to move the 2003 AD to the colo and promote that to be the GC for the domain.  I will keep local ADs at few of my sites as well as one at our HQ.  I may use DFS for the data (NAS) depending on overall speed.

From your response are you recommending making my decision in this order:

 A) Build in Colo (As long as inter-site speed is good) - 1. Move AD to colo.  2. Build Exchange 07 in place, and move mailboxes in groups, gauging speed.  3. Decommission local Exchange 03.

B) Forklift (If speed is slow) - 1. Build locally at HQ with local Subnet/IP.  2. Move Mailboxes etc. to 07 server, 3. Forklift AD & Exchange together to colo 4. Change IPs, routing, MX, etc.

Typing it out I am leaning towards A as, in that scenario, I will always have Exchange 03 to go back to if something were to go wrong in the move.  I can build at the colo and move a few test mailboxes then do the rest in manageable groups.  I do regular full backups of my infostores.
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Exchange_Geek earned 500 total points
ID: 22663705
Look, i would always tend to perform the move mailbox, etc keeping both server in same site / route / subnet. Move mailboxes across sites - is something i would never recommend (unless you have such speed that beats the best).

What i would are the steps below.

Source: SiteA
Destination: SiteB

1) Install AD on SiteB - ensure we have basic replication between both sites ( i am praying you atleast can replicate AD info between sites)
2) Install E2k7 in SiteA along side E2k3 box.
3) Move all mailboxes / public folders / connectors etc to E2k7 box.
4) Shut down E2k3 box (DO NOT DECOMMISSION)
5) Fork-lift E2k7 box to SiteB
6) Ensure you have those routing configuration pre-configured for arrival of E2k7 box.
7) Bring E2k7 LIVE and check if Exchange works fine.
8) Once ensured things are back to normal - decommission E2k3 box.

Hope this is pretty clear
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Author Comment

by:ARob720
ID: 22713559
Thank you.  The Exchange 07 server will reside in an IBM BladeCenter Chassis which also contains AD so with the current hardware I cannot test AD or routing without bringing Exchange along for the ride.  Although through your comments I have decided to get a second chassis for HQ (local LAN), therefore giving the capability to build and test locally, then move out to the data center with confidence.  
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