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How do I migrate my Exchange Server to new hardware?

Posted on 2009-02-10
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I would like to migrate my exchange 2003 server to a newer hardware platform. The exchange server is also acting as a second domain controller in the environment. What is the best/easiest way to do this. I have a full Exchange backup available.

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Question by:tpartners
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by:mystics7
ID: 23602762
I used this site the last time i did this and it worked great for me
http://www.amset.info/exchange/migration.asp
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by:tpartners
ID: 23603205
I wanted to keep the machine name and IP address the same. The link you provided seems pretty involved and I wanted to try and keep it as simple as possible.  At a high-level I was thinking the following steps.
1) Prepare new server (OS, Exchange, patches etc...) and join it to domain.
2) Shutdown old machine
3) Make new server same name and IP address.
4) Restore exchange information store to new server.
Would this work?
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by:mystics7
ID: 23603231
MS has on there site something you maybe looking for to follow short and sweat
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=821896
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by:Mestha
ID: 23605813
Why do you want to keep the same server name?

Retaining the same server name is high risk and gains you nothing. While the process outlined above (which I wrote) may seem involved, it is actually zero risk, zero downtime. At no point is the data at risk.
Retaining the same server name means there is a period where you cannot back out and you have an extended period of downtime.

I have done many many migrations using the procedure I wrote and I have a 100% success rate.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23613098
I'm not opposed to using the process but... I have a few concerns

1) Many users are using OWA. I don't have another server to use as a temporary Exchange front-end server. I suppose I can find out which users do use OWA and migrate those last and then change the port mapping on the firewall immediately after the mailbox migrations. Any recommendations here?
2) In this case our current exchange server is also a domain controller. The new exchange server will just be a member server. Are there any special considerations in this case? ie. would we need to ensure that the existing exchange server/domain controller is not a global catalog before attempting to migrate?
3) Before attempting the migration... Do both Exchange instances need to have the same service pack, hot fixes and updates from Microsoft?
4) Our firewall is configured to pass SMTP traffic to our existing exchange server. Will the 2 exchange servers automatically work together to route inbound SMTP messages accordingly?
5) We are using an outside service for SPAM filtering. We don't have anything configured in our SMTP virtual server rather.. It is locked down at the firewall. I don't think anything would change here but...Are there any special considerations here?

Thanks for your help
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by:Mestha
ID: 23614129
OWA frontends can be anything. I have used a virtual machine in the past.
You haven't said how many users you have, but there is nothing to stop you from setting up the server in advance and then moving the users in one go. The Move Mailbox process can be left to get on with it. I have gone to the cinema in the past while move mailbox did its thing.

The fact that the new server is a member server and the original server is a DC is not an issue, other than the new server will only use the existing server for DC functionality. Once you have removed Exchange from that server that behaviour will change.

The new server needs to be fully patched, service packs and updates before any data is moved to it. I wouldn't dream of putting a server in to production without doing that - as it means I am then concerned about security and rebooting the server.
Build Windows, add the domain. Patch Windows. Install Exchange, patch Exchange, then replicate public folders etc.

SMTP traffic can be sent to any server in the Exchange org. Exchange will sort out the rest.

Do check your SMTP VS configuration to ensure that there are no restrictions that could cause a problem with mail delivery between the servers.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23650429
Hi, Thanks for the info.

You mention the use of alternative locations for the database, transaction logs and message tracking logs. You indicated that these should be moved before migrating any data. What do you mean by "alternative locations"?

Also... when configuring public and system folders for replication... I don't see a "Propagate" option but it is stating that they are in-sync. I'm assuming that in this case... no forced propagation is required. Can you confirm this?

Finally, when I try to access the system folders in order to replicate those... "View System Folders" is not an option when performing a right click on folders. Any ideas?

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by:tpartners
ID: 23650550
Also... I found the system folders by right-clicking the public folders but... there are no properties available for the top level folders. Only the subfolders. So... It doesn't allow me to select the top level system folders for:
Offline Address Book
Schedule + Free Busy
Organization Forms

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by:Mestha
ID: 23652175
By default everything is in the same directory.
If the server has been built to best practises then you will have additional drives for the database and transaction logs to be stored.

As I wrote in my article, the sync status should be ignored. The only thing you can rely on is item count. The propagate settings is part of the Exchange Tasks - where you add a server to the list of replicas.

The top level cannot be selected for those system folders. Add the replica to the sub folders.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23691370
Thanks for all your help. Getting closer to the mailbox moves now.

I was wondering about the following mailboxes.

-System Attendant
-SMTP
-System Mailbox

I'm assuming it's o.k. to not move these. Also... there are some older mailboxes that aren't being used anymore (i.e. old suspect spam). Will I need to delete this before uninstalling exchange on the old server.

One other thing I noticed on the new server was the default db size (18GB). I had to increase this before starting the mailbox moves.

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by:tpartners
ID: 23692217
Also... we're using a Good Messaging Server (Blackberry Server Equivalent). Any special considerations for Good Messaging Server other than what you have already documented for BES?

Thanks,
Mike
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by:Mestha
ID: 23693540
I haven't used Good, so I would hope they may have instructions on anything to consider. I would expect it is the same - permissions etc. However I don't know how the application is setup to know any more.

-M
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by:Mestha
ID: 23693640
Missed the earlier bit - the system mailboxes can be left. You should find equivalent on the new server. Mailboxes of users that you don't want need to be removed. You need to remove the Exchange attributes from the user accounts first, then purge the mailboxes. The uninstall will not allow you to continue if they are present.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23705864
I did the mailbox migration this weekend. All seems to have gone well except I have one mailbox that exists on both the new and old server. Not sure how that happened.  How should I handle that?

If I don another migration will it overwrite the data that it already sent?
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by:Mestha
ID: 23705989
You cannot have two mailboxes. What has probably happened is one of those mailboxes hasn't been orphaned yet. If you right click on the mailbox list and choose Run Cleanup Agent then it should get a red cross over it allowing you to purge the mailbox. If that happens on the old server then you are fine. If that happens on the new server then you will need to move the mailbox again.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23706084
Thanks for the quick response. The new server has most of the data (over 1GB) and it stated that the migration completed successfully. The old server only has 38KB on it. It must have been accessed during the migration?

I'll try running running the cleanup agent. Will this delete any data? not sure what the 38KB is.
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by:tpartners
ID: 23706113
I ran the clean up agent. This put the red cross on it as you indicated. However, when I tried to purge it from the old server it comes up with a messages stating:
"The operation can not be performed because this mailbox was already reconnected to an existing user"
Any ideas?
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by:Mestha
ID: 23706887
If it is on the old server, then restart the Exchange services and see if that sorts it out.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23749644
It was cleaned out as part of the maintenance activity.

One thing that's a liittle strange is when accessing email through OWA. Users were never required to login in with: domain\user. Once we migrated the mailboxes to the new server, everyone must authenticate with domain\user in order to log in. Any idea why?
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by:tpartners
ID: 23749706
Also... doesn't look like there is a routing group master. Is that normal?

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by:Mestha
ID: 23750373
Have you got routing groups display enabled? If not then you need to. You cannot have an Exchange environment without routing group master.

The behaviour you are seeing with OWA login is the default behaviour. Are you not using forms based authentication then? That is the preferred OWA login method as it is more secure.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23755313
o.k. great. I was able to find that. For the system folders... I removed the old server from the replication list. Some underlying system folders such as Events Root, schema-root, and others... are only showing the old email server in the replication list. I never replicated any of these. I only did the 3 you mentioned.
OAB
Schedule + Free Busy
EFORMS Registry

Do I need to worry about the others even though it only shows only the old server?
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by:Mestha
ID: 23757426
Some system folders are unique to each server, so do not need to be replicated.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23757502
Although... the ones I mentioned (Event Root, schema-root) do not appear to be unique but maybe they are. How can I find out for sure?

Thanks
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by:Mestha
ID: 23757675
They should be listed on the new server's public folders as well. Although some of them only get created when Exchange actually requires them.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23758304
o.k. then I'm guessing that once I uninstall exchange from the old server... it will create them.
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by:tpartners
ID: 23910717
Everything has run pretty smooth so far. I will be uninstalling exchange and once this is done. I plan on doing the following.

- Run DCPromo and remove server from the domain.
- Rename the computer
- Run DCPromo and promote as secondary domain controller.

Does this sound right?
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by:Mestha
ID: 23913867
I wouldn't rename a machine that was a domain controller. I would be looking to drop it from the domain and then wipe it. Build it fresh to ensure the security is correct.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 23913948
o.k. that makes sense. I'll give that a try. Hopefully I am able to remove it from the domain without issues.
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by:tpartners
ID: 23932907
Hi,

There are a 3 system mailboxes on the old server. It won't let me uninstall exchange without removing those. However, I don't have any options under exchange tasks for these mailboxes. How do I get rid of them?

Thanks
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by:Mestha
ID: 23933200
It is not those system mailboxes that is generating the error that is stopping you from removing Exchange. It will be an account that has been mail enabled but has not used.

At the end of my migration guide which was the first post on this question I have a technique to find those types of accounts, which then either need to be moved using Move Mailbox (even though there is nothing to move) or the account needs to be mail disabled.

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 24297111
Bit of a delay on this but... I finally got around to it. I went through the process of searching for the hidden mailboxes. In the "value" field, I put in the name for the old server. When the query runs, it returns all the mailboxes that are already on the new server. Shouldn't it just return the mailboxes for the old server?

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by:Mestha
ID: 24299940
Which value did you populate? And did you use the ends with if following the guide on my site?

-M
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by:tpartners
ID: 24304839
I used the following steps you outlined in the Q&A section. In the value field I populated the name of the old email server (email) and yes I did use the "ends with" option.

Q: When I try to remove the old Exchange server I get an error about mailboxes being on the machine:
"One or more users currently use a mailbox store on this server. These users must be moved to a mailbox store on a different server or be mail disable before uninstalling this server"
I am sure that I have moved all of the mailboxes, but how can I check?
A: You may have a hidden mailbox. To find any outstanding mailboxes you can use "Active Directory Users and Computers".

Start ADUC on the Exchange server.
Right click on your domain at the top and choose "Find".
Click on the "Advanced" tab.
Under "Field", select User, then "Exchange Home Server".
Change the "Condition" from "Starts With" to "Ends With".
In the "Value" field, type in the old Exchange server name and then click add to set the value.
Click find to start a search.
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by:Mestha
ID: 24306689
It shouldn't come up with all of the mailboxes, that would indicate something is wrong.
That may well be why the uninstall is failing - it is seeing all of the mailboxes as still being located there. That would tend to indicate the change of location hasn't replicated correctly.

Simon.
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by:tpartners
ID: 24306840
Yes but I can see that all the mailboxes are actually owned by the new exchange server and all mail is being recieved on the new server. Is there a way to validate that the chance of location has replicated correctly?

Thanks
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by:tpartners
ID: 24306880
One other thing... If I run the query with the new exchange server name, it comes up with all the mailboxes also. Not sure what that means. Is there a different way to run the search to see if there are any other hidden mailboxes?
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by:tpartners
ID: 24307005
Another clue.... when running a query using the old email server, all the mailboxes show up but when I go to Exchange Tasks and then move... the mailboxes are indeed located on the new server. The only option I have is to move them back to the old server.

Thanks
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by:tpartners
ID: 24307890
o.k. I think they are showing up under both queries because the new exchange server is called "sbi-email" the old exchange server is called "email" so... they both technically end with email.

Problem is nothing but the "SystemMailbox" is showing up on the old server.  
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by:Mestha
ID: 24309478
That means that method isn't going to work, because it is finding it.
There are other ways to find the mailboxes...
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/279202

Simon.
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by:tpartners
ID: 24356681
Hi,
I used the methods in the link you sent but... there aren't any mailboxes showing up on the old server. One thing we noticed though is evertime we create a new AD user, it's always putting the mailbox on the old server.
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by:Mestha
ID: 24356707
ADUC puts the mailbox where you tell it. The list will default to the first one listed alphabetically. You can just choose another server to create the mailbox on.

Simon.
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by:tpartners
ID: 24357133
In your article you mention the System Attendant mailbox as a probable cause of not being able to uninstall Exchange. Should I go through this process?

Thanks,
Mike
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by:Mestha
ID: 24359409
The only thing I would have said about the System Attendant is that it is NOT the cause of the problem, because it is a server specific mailbox. The error about mailboxes being located is caused by real user accounts - not the system mailboxes.

Simon.
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by:tpartners
ID: 24363122
ok. well... not sure then because I did use one of the methods recommended by one of the microsoft links and it didn't show any user mailboxes on the old exchange server. Could it somehow be a public folder or something? Is there a cleanup agent that needs to be run? Any recommendations on what I should try next?
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by:Mestha
ID: 24363891
If it was public folders it would give you a different error, not a mailbox error. I don't know what else to suggest, because what I have outlined in my article and the KB articles has always worked for me in the past. There is almost certainly a single reference somewhere to that server in the domain.

Simon.
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by:tpartners
ID: 24368009
o.k. here is what I found. I went through every user in AD and looked in the "Exchange General" tab. There is 1 user in there that has the old exchange server listed as the home server but. It doesn't have a mailbox. The only option that I have under exchange task is "Remove Exchange Attributes". Is it o.k. to do this? Also, does it matter which AD server I use to do it from.

Also there are several groups and contacts set up within AD but none of them have an Exchange mailbox and none have a home server setup.

Thanks
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by:Mestha
ID: 24370382
Remove Exchange attributes is fine. Doesn't matter what server you use as it will replicate.
Check the groups expansion server is set to any, as that can also cause issues.

Simon.
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by:tpartners
ID: 24485878
Hi Simon,

Once I removed the Exchange Attributes for that one user it finally let me uninstall exchange. The last step as you recommended on 3/17 is to drop the old exchange/domain controller from the domain. Are there any special considerations here?

Thanks,

Mike
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Accepted Solution

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Mestha earned 2000 total points
ID: 24487121
After removing Exchange and running DCPROMO, reboot as prompted. Then drop the machine in to a workgroup and reboot. Then wipe and rebuild with a new domain.

Simon.
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Author Closing Comment

by:tpartners
ID: 31586690
Thanks for your help with this. I know it took a while but it worked perfectly. Thanks
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