What is the Best Practice for Combining Two Domains

Our parent company is in Chicago and we are in Atlanta.  We need to combine our Windows systems into one Forest with Atlanta as a child domain.  We are currently running Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 servers in a 2003 Domain; we are also running Exchange 2003. We plan to upgrade before the migration to our corporate domain to Exchange 2007 and to 2008 Domain.
Our corporate offices are using a Windows 2003 Domain and Exchange 2003—however they are pushing out Windows 7 and Office 2010 to all of their desktops and laptops by August of this year.
I believe some of the changes on both side will cause some problems with combining the two domains with two different types of domains (2003/2008), however I am looking for the best scenario, design and project plan to make sure this migration a success and  not have it  turn out to be a disaster.
One other thing, we both run (for production) Linux Red Hat and we want to keep those domain separate and not have them part of this migration.
 So if anyone can assist in this dilemma I would appreciate your assistance,
Thank you
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Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

I shouldn't worry about the domain types, they're not really relevant if you want to build these into a single forest, simply because you will have to rebuild Atlanta.

How much separation do you actually one? If they're in the same forest they won't be very separate at all.

How does RH fit into that? Samba? Or something else? And a member of the existing domain or standing on its own?

jptech49Author Commented:
RH is our Production and MS is our Backoffice. I don't want Corp controlling the Cash Register business just the Infrastructure.
Corp will install a DC here and a seperate Exchange Server here
Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

RH: Makes perfect sense. If it were mine I would have those on an entirely different, secure, network segment. They may already be.

Back to the corp side. Are they rebuilding your current domain then?

The Exchange server they're giving you won't be separate as such. By that I mean a forest can have one Exchange organisation, there's no real separation there.

It all depends on what you see as the final state of the network.

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jptech49Author Commented:
No, they are just adding our domain to there system
and we are just adding our existing Exchange Cluster to their Exchange Org
I just thought there was some type of best scenario, project plan, design or White paper on how to do this migration
Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:
I'm confused about what you think is going to happen with this migration.

> No, they are just adding our domain to there system

You cannot add an existing domain (existing Forest) as a child of another forest. You would have to build a new domain as a child of theirs and migrate to that.

It is, unfortunately, simply not possible to take a single-domain forest (or any domain of a forest) and move it, or merge it with another existing forest.

If you mean they are forming a trust between your domain and theirs then yes, that can be done.

> and we are just adding our existing Exchange Cluster to their Exchange Org

Not without rebuilding your domain you're not. Exchange lives in AD, an Exchange organisation cannot exist in more than one Forest, and Exchange cannot be moved between Forests. Equally, an AD Forest cannot contain more than on Exchange Organisation.

I realise this contradicts your statements above, as I said, I'm a tad confused. My knowledge of AD / Exchange / MS-stuff and your understanding of how this migration will progress are a little at odds. It would be good to get to the bottom of that so you can get the advice and help you want :)


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jptech49Author Commented:
However, many companies have already completed adding their Branch into the Main Corp all i needed was a project plan
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