Upgrading to Exchange 2010 with Blackberry Server

Currently I have an Exchange 2003 install on a Server 2003 R2 Dell server that is getting on a bit.  On top of that we want to install a new exchange server and a Blackberry server.

1) Is it worth migrating the 2003 data to 2010 on new hardware (users all have Outlook 2003)?

2) I believe that with Exchange 2003, with more than one data server it was necessary/useful to utilise a front-end server for webmail/RPC/etc.  Is this still the case with 2010?  So ultimately am I going to be running x3 Exchange servers - 2 for mailboxes and 1 front end?  

3) Could I keep the existing 2003 server and once all the data has been removed convert it to a front end server?  This would seem to be helpful as all client installs reference the server by name, if it's FE then it'll just redirect to the appropriate BE xch server?

4) Any comments on the Blackberry server working with 2010?  Ideally I think we'd prefer it to be on a different server to the actual exchange OS, but would a virtual machine do the job?  Note that because of mailbox organisation the Blackberry server would only ever be referencing one of the exchange servers.

Trying to get my head round what could be a fairly significant change in the systems.  Any advice comments welcome.

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Glen KnightConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1> You would normally install 2010 as part of your existing organisation and then migrate the mailboxes etc over to the new server and decomission the 2003 server.

2> With more than one mailbox server in Exchange 2003 you would configure whats known as a Front-End/Back-End configuration.  The Front-End server providing the proxy for both mailservers that hold mailboxes.

3> No, if your migrating to Exchange 2010 a Exchange 2003 Front End server cannot proxy for Exchange 2010, if you currently have a front end server you will need to replace this with an Exchange 2010 Client Access (CAS) server first before you transition the other servers to 2010.

4> I am not overly familiar with Blackberry but the latest version has had a patch released by both Microsoft and Blackberry to support Exchange 2010
1) You can directly migrate from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010
2) There no concept as Cluster with exchange 2010, which we in 2003 where in we had 2 mailbox server and one front end server. Now in Exchange 2010 we have a system called DAG (Database Availability group) and you can have 2 exchange servers running All the roles which can be part of the DAG. Secondly its up to your organization and how many mailboxes you have which will decide on the number of exchange server.
3)Yes you can keep you exchange 2003 server as a co-exisiting even after you have migrated to exchange 2010
4) There were some blackberry issuses with the Exchange 2010 server, but most of them were fixes with Roll-up update 1. but still if you have exchange 2003 server then you can configure the blackberry to communicate via the exchange 2003 server to exchange 2010.

Planning and Deployment: Exchange 2010 Help
Demazter is correct on Point number 3
I misread it.
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Glen KnightCommented:
Illusionist, I am correct on all points.

You would still need a CAS server if you had more than one MBX server regardless, the CAS server replaces the old front end server.

Author > Please also note there is no inplace upgrade for Exchange 2010 from any version of Exchange so new physical or virtual servers will be required.

this link will help you.
TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Upgrade and Deployment (Level 300)

dchoxfordAuthor Commented:
Hi Demazter,
Thanks for the input, your answers seem to confirm what I was thinking.

Since our clients using Outlook 2003 all look for "exchangeserver.domain.local" it seems to me that we'd need to install a new 2010 server (name "xch2010") migrate the data over, decomission the existing 2003 server ("exchangeserver") then install a new 2010 CAS server with the name "exchangeserver".  This way our Outlook clients will still be looking for the correct server.

Then we can add in a second 2010 server for the additional mailboxes we want to deploy.

Any thoughts on using virtual machines for the 2010 CAS server and Blackberry?
Glen KnightCommented:
I have a large deployment with CAS, MBX & HT all on Virtual Machines, so it shouldn't be a problem as long as you have the resources.

"Since our clients using Outlook 2003 all look for "exchangeserver.domain.local" it seems to me that we'd need to install a new 2010 server (name "xch2010") migrate the data over, decomission the existing 2003 server ("exchangeserver") then install a new 2010 CAS server with the name "exchangeserver".  This way our Outlook clients will still be looking for the correct server."

Presumably your talking about outside users?

With Exchange 2003 the Outlook Client uses the Mailbox Server.  With Exchange 2010 the clients would use the CAS server (assuming you don't have CAS installed on your mailbox servers)
So the correct way to do it would be:

> Install Exchange 2010 CAS/HT
> Reconfigure all Firewall rules to point to new CAS/HT server for OWA and port 25.
> Remove Exchange 2003 Front End
> Install Exchange 2010 Mailbox server
> Migrate Mailboxes/public folders/OAB etc
> Leave running for a few days so clients update themselves to CAS server.
> Remove Exchange 2003 Mailbox Server as per: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb288905(EXCHG.80).aspx
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