Moving Exchange 2003 from one forest to another forest's existing exchange


Our company is in the middle of an acquisition.

Due to the number of people in one of the offices we are acquiring want to keep their exchange server intact for mail flow and mail storage but still move them from their domain/forest into ours. This includes their exchange server and client machines.

We are running Exchange 2007 in compatibility mode with Exchange 2000/2003 in our main office.
The company we purchased is running Exchange 2003 on its own domain.

We are looking to:

" Move their server/clients onto our domain
" Leave their Information Stores on their existing Exchange 2003 server but somehow bring that server into our existing exchange environment.
" We would like to avoid re-installing exchange on their server.

We are NOT looking to:
" Move their mailboxes onto our servers
" Rebuild their server or migrate their mailboxes to another server.

We can assume that:
" All clients account names will change and need to be re-mapped to their mailbox

I'm looking for some direction, white papers and any ideas on how to go about this.

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Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

> " We would like to avoid re-installing exchange on their server.

Sorry, but you cannot avoid this.

Exchange cannot be picked up and moved between domains. It stores it's configuration within Active Directory, it is utterly dependent on the domain to function.

You would need 3rd party tools to pick up the information stores and read them outside of their current environment.

As unpleasant as it may be, you have little choice but to migrate here.


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ccatarellaAuthor Commented:
Would something along the lines of re-installing Exchange 2003 on the existing server once moving it into our domain do the trick or would this kill the ability to load the Information Stores? (without 3rd party software)
Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
Not poassible as they are 2 different AD forests.
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Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

Afraid not. To do that the organisation name, and much of the rest would have to be identical to the current deployment. Exchange 2003's stores just aren't portable at all.  It's under Alternate Forest Recovery, if I can find the documentation for it.

Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

Ahh here it is:

Under Method 3. Not exactly helpful, but it's always good to make sure I'm not making things up :)

It just makes the entire thing rather inappropriate for this move I'm afraid.

ccatarellaAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the information guys.

One more scenario I'd like to run across you...

Say for instance we go with a new server in the location built on our domain is it possible to migrate the stores from their exchange server in their forest to our new server (Exchange 2003) in our domain and forest using tools such as Exmerge?

Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

ExMerge is fine in pretty much every scenario, you export the contents of the store so lose all ties to the current organisation / server.

It's just store portability that's out of the window due to the requirements of alternative forest recovery.

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