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Exchange 2010 test migration - test out sending + receiving email

Posted on 2012-08-23
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Last Modified: 2012-08-29
Hi Experts,

We are testing out the migration from SBS 2003 to Exchange 2010 and a separate domain controller and have been using this brilliant guide on EE: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/A_2881-Migrate-Small-Business-Server-2003-to-Exchange-2010-and-Windows-2008-R2.html
We have been testing this out using virtual machine in an isolated network in VMware Vsphere using an imaged replica of the Live SBS 2003 server and have successfully migrated mailboxes over to Exchange 2010 and setup the SMTP sender connector. So… so far the test is going well.

However we would ideally like a way of testing out the sending and receiving email on the test Exchange 2010 virtual server before we do the migration for real live if possible.

Is there any way of testing sending and receiving email? None of the test VM’s are connected to the internet. I thought maybe an option could be to send an email to another test VM that’s part of the isolated test network but not sure how to do this. Any suggestions please?
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Question by:kevin1983
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Expert Comment

by:Z4mfi
ID: 38324243
You can configure another exchange environment ( maybe one server with all the required roles installed on it - MB,HT,CA , a DC+DNS ) and maybe another DNS server which will link the new domain domain that is already configured ( you can also configure the existent domain to use the DNS server from the new one and the new one to interogate the existent one )

I've done the same thing using a linux system who was sending emails to my exchange test environment.
Also you will have to configure MX records on both domains, send/receive connectors ( if you will use exchange on the new domain ).

You can also write a powershell script that will send emails to test the mailflow and how your servers will act )

I hope that you will understand what I'm trying to say, if not please ask and I will give you more details
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38324388
Z4mfi: thanks for your suggestions, just realised we don't have much available ram on VMware Vsphere so maybe a Linux based email server or other operating system to test might be the best option. Which Linux system did you test with? and would we use linux own DNS system instead?. So the 2 email servers would talk to each other using internal MX records?

The powershell script sounds like a good option also. Do you mean something such as this: PS C:\> Send-MailMessage -From "reports@exchangeserverpro.net" -To "administrator@testdomain.com" -Subject "Test email" -Body "This is a test email"
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Z4mfi earned 2000 total points
ID: 38324463
For test purpose I've used ClearOS linux distribution as it is easy to configure, it has also an email server and DNS server and I had to focus on something else, not to configure linux  ( you cannot create MX records using he web interface, you must edit the conf files ).
You are right, they will talk to each other using MX record ( like they do when sending emails to external email addresses )

You can make the script like this, I've used some variables where I keep several email addresses, a variable for several Subjects templates and a function to send random emails from one random email address to another with random subjects.
Also the emails are sent at a random amount of time.

You can find more details about the script here ( I've complicated it a little bit )
http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2012/08/05/weekend-scripter-introducing-the-scripting-guys-powershell-loveomatic.aspx
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38324586
Ok thanks - ClearOS linux sounds like a good option, we don't really want to spend to much time with Linux either is possible

Do you know if the the ClearOS Community Vmware enterprise version is suitable? from here:  http://www.clearfoundation.com/Software/downloads.html
and are the DNS and email server features already built in?

will try out the scripts also. thanks, nice weblink
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38324620
..im just having a little go on the online demo version and looks like it has an inbuilt DNS server but no email server but has a marketplace so probably an email server app thats downloadable
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38324630
online demo is the pro version
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Expert Comment

by:Z4mfi
ID: 38324748
I've installed in a VMWare virtual machine but I've installed it using the .iso file.
When you install it for the first time you will be asked what do you want to be installed ( in my case I've checked everything ). Don't worry about spending to much memory on this machine ( in my case it is running with 256 Mb without issues ).
When you configure the DNS server using the web interface you can only add A records, there is no MX record option (or I couldn't find it). But you can change in the configuration file and add an MX record for the ClearOS domain.
Another option is to uninstall ( or not install from the begining ) the DNS server from ClearOS and install bind ( which is not very difficult to install & configure )
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38324856
Ok i've downloaded the ISO file so will try installing in Vmware Vspshere with a small amount of memory, the first option regarding setting up as a DNS server and editing the conf files file sounds the best option - sorry I didn't pay enough attention to your previous post about this.

Do you remember where the configuration files are located in clearos?, or better still have any info or weblink on what needs to be amended to add an MX record?
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38324875
Also once the clearos is setup and an email sent to the server, is there a way of viewing the email on the clearos server?
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Expert Comment

by:Z4mfi
ID: 38325157
Yes indeed, it has a Horde webmail interface. It doesn't have so few features as you might think
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38325318
ok, yes does look like it has a fair amount of features. any ideas about location of config files?, or info on amending for mx record
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Expert Comment

by:Z4mfi
ID: 38325422
http://www.thekelleys.org.uk/dnsmasq/docs/dnsmasq.conf.example

Here you can find an example of the config file.
You must change the #mx-host=maildomain.com,servermachine.com,50 field
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Author Closing Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38344545
Thanks a lot for all your suggestions, some great help here.
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Expert Comment

by:Z4mfi
ID: 38344822
I hope that everything will work fine when going to production environment. Good luck with that.
Cheers
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