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client needs an upgrade - too many users on one server - what is the best way to go? they are using server 2003, exchange

I have a client who is running a server 2003 box (dc) w/ Exchange Ent.  - they have about 100 users on the Exchange box.  Probably about 30+ people use it in office all day long, plus about 30+ for webmail access.  The network is crawling slow.  It is on a 32bit server 03 box.  The hardware is newish - maybe 1 year or so.  Raid 5 on consumer grade drives.

They have really grown and its time to add something to relieve the DC of being their all in one box.

We can add a box - ideally i think Exchange should be taken off and thrown on its own box.  Can I get a server 2008 in their domain and load Exchange, then migrate the mailboxes into Exchange 2010?  

Is there a painless process to do this?  Can a server 08 box exist if the DC is 2003 server?

I think if Exchange was off the DC then the issue of slowness on the DC will be less.  Is there a better idea?

The also have a basic BESX server, and a term server, and an acct server - and these are new as well.  Server 2003 for the acct, Server 08 for the BB server.

So which was to go & what is the timeline on how long this process should take ?

Thank so much all your smart guys!

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jeremycushing
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jeremycushing
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eugene20022002Commented:
Instead of 2008 I recommend 2008 R2. Your DC's should be running atleast 2003 SP1 or higher and your domain functional level should be atleast 2003 or higher
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa996719.aspx

proper planning will make the process less painless but its not a simple process.

Its definitely recommended that you take Exchange off from the DC however I would setup another server with 2008 R2 first and exchange 2010. They can work together and then migrate all the functions from 2003 the 2010. Your 2010 can have a default install with all 3 roles on it because for the amount of users you have it doesn't warrant having separate servers for the mailbox,CAS and Transport roles.

Read this article that discusses how to transition to exchange 2010.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124008(EXCHG.140).aspx
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jeremycushingAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the post. I was planning on keeping the 2003 server the dc and the 2008 r2 box for exchange only. Is that the way to do it?
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eugene20022002Commented:
Before touching exchange I would first setup another machine as a 2008 R2 DC.  You will need to prepare the domain first by running adpred /forestprep and adprep /domainprep before you are allowed to install 2008 R2 DC in your environment. Check here for how:
 Then transfer the roles on the old 2003 Dc to the 2008 R2 DC. Here how

Once that is done and all is working fine then I would recommend you setup a test environment to test your 2003 exchange to 2010 migration. Only once you have succeeded there and comfortable with the procedure do you then do it in the production.
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jeremycushingAuthor Commented:
eugene200

do i need to have the 2008 as the dc?

if it makes my life easier the exchange ver doesnt need to be 2010.

my research shows that this is going to be a PITA.
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eugene20022002Commented:
Yeah , its not going to be easy. It will be much easier to move exchange2003 to another exchange 2003 machine.
No you don't have to go 2008 as a DC. 2003 with latest SP and functional level on 2003 should suffice.
I think it would be much easier if you then setup another machine with 2003 , exchange 2003 and then simply move the mailboxes to the new server. Once you happy everything is working you uninstall it from the original.
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jeremycushingAuthor Commented:
i think that is the approach we should take... 2003.
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eugene20022002Commented:
I agree , focusing on your current , immediate needs to seperate the DC and exchange should be focused on.
You will then have enough time to properly plan ,reaserch and test your migration to exchange 2010 at a later stage.
Make sure you perform enough backups and have tested those backups before you start.
Hope all goes well.
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jeremycushingAuthor Commented:
I will update and accept
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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