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Renaming Exchange Server - The Long Way

Posted on 2008-10-21
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I have a single Exchange 2003 standard edition server on my network.  This server was added a long time ago when standard naming conventions were not used.  I now wish to rename this server to meet our naming conventions.  I know I can not simply rename it, however I do know there is a long roundabout way of doing this.

I want to see if I have this process clear, so any advice or tips or adjustments to this would be helpful.

If I understand correctly, this is what I would need to do (questions will be in parenthesis):
--Install Exchange 2003 on a second server on the domain
--Set this second server to connect/synchronize with the main server (how? what methods of connecting? front end or back end?  what adjustments are needed on the main server?)
--Uninstall Exchange from main server (how does the second server become primary?  what DNS concerns are there?  How long should I wait for DNS entries to correct themselves on the internet to reduce any delay in email transmission?)
--Remove main server from the domain
--Rename the main server
--Add the main server to the domain
--Install Exchange on the main server
--Synchronize the main server with the second server
--Uninstall Exchange on second server
--Remove second server from domain.

Voila.  I hope these are roughly the correct steps I would need to take.  I'm concerned only about loss of email service during this "transition", so any advice would be helpful.
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Question by:rickolson
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by:DraconianSoul
ID: 22771183
Your idea makes sense to me.  It is probably how I would do it.  Do  you have a front end/back end structure or is the one server doing everything (IE OWA, POP, etc).  Also, what about your domain controllers and dns servers; are they seperate?

You're going to need to make sure you:
- Create mailbox and public stores on the new server
- Set the default public folder in the new store on the new server to the public store on the new server
- Move all public folder replicas from the old server store to the new server store (in the latest service pack of Exchange 2003 this is easy, just right click on the public folder and click move all replicas).
- Modify the recipient update service (RUS) to use the new server
- Update your routing group connectors if necessary.

And then do it all over again when you move back to the original hardware.
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by:rickolson
ID: 22771218
Right now the exchange server is doing everything (well, it's hosting OWA and SMTP.  we don't use POP/IMAP at this time).  Our domain controllers and dns servers are indeed separate.

When setting up a secondary server, will it be necessary to identify front/back end servers?  Will it also be possible to simply move existing mailboxes from the main server to the secondary server or will it require a backup/restore method to move the data?
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DraconianSoul earned 250 total points
ID: 22772217
You will want to make a backup just to be safe, but you should not need to spin it unless something bad happens.  Having your DC and DNS seperate makes life easier.  Since SMTP and OWA are on the same server you're probably going to want to make sure that at some point you give the temp server the same IP address that was on the original server; that way your users and incoming mail can still connect.

You don't need to set up a front end/back end if you did no have one before.  In the exchange system manager you would ctrl-a all of your mailboxes and the move them as a batch to the new mailbox store on the new server.  Keep in mind that your new server will need at least as much hard disk space as your existing server plus another 10 to 20%.  This is because moving each mailbox breaks single instance storage.  Moving all the public folders is easier, as I said, you just right click on the store and say move all replicas.
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