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Manually transfer SBS 2003 mailboxes onto Exchange2010 - suitable idea?

Posted on 2012-09-19
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Last Modified: 2012-09-24
Hi Experts,

We recently tried to migrate our physical SBS 2003 server to a virtual DC running server 2008 and a virtual Exchange 2010 server, but unfortunately it didn’t quite go to plan towards the final steps of decommissioning the SBS 2003 server because some user mailboxes disappeared and we ended up going back to restoring the SBS 2003 server from a Symantec system recovery image and have since had on-going issues as the mailbox database appears to have had some corruption (even though we have used tools to try and repair). So now we want to have another go at doing the migration but are considering trying a different approach (especially as our current mail database possibly can’t be fully trusted now as being reliable) but not sure if below idea will work? or likely cause any issues?

…So we are thinking about doing the following method instead to ensure users have new/reliable mailboxes. 1) On Wednesday evening dismounting the mailbox stores on our SBS 2003 server and then 2) creating a Symantec system recovery backup image of the whole server. 3) And then converting this image to a virtual machine image to use in Vmware Vsphere.

Then on Thursday within an isolated virtual environment (not on live network) join a server 2008 server to the same domain as the virtual replica SBS server and promote this to a DC. Then on a separate virtual machine running server 2008 install Exchange 2010, create brand new mailboxes for each user and attaché to there user accounts.
And then at the weekend (when no users are on the live network) use Microsoft Mailbox merge Wizard to export all the mailboxes from the virtual SBS 2003 server to PST files and then use PST capture to import the mail into each of the users mailboxes.

And finally power of the live Physical SBS 2003 server and disconnect from the network and put the isolated virtual DC and virtual Exchange 2010 servers onto the live network and check client computers can connect to the new DC and access there mailboxes.

Some advise would be appreciated please if this idea is suitable?
Thanks
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Question by:kevin1983
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Expert Comment

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38413162
I feel its a good idea to Export the PST from the Old SBS 2003 mailboxes and have a new setup with E2k10 and new mailbox and Import the PST.

One thing you have to make sure is that the LegacyExchangeDN of the SBS2003 account should be added as X500 on the E2k10 Mailbox or else replying\forwarding to emails from PST will NDR.

Your plan is good just one Q is this going to be a different Domain and IP or hows the plan for that ??

- Rancy
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38413318
Its going to be on the existing Domain, the new Virtual DC and virtual exchange 2010 server will join the existing domain and have new private IP addresses. Initially if we do the suggested plan the virtual servers will be given separate isolated IP address then at the weekend the IP addresses will be changed to live ones on the network.

I just hope our existing Active directory and DNS is still ok as we have had some issues since the migration attempt went wrong (such as a few users not receiving internal email when another user users there name on the global address list and a client computer time getting out of sync but that’s another story)


Do you think its a good idea for us to make a start doing this a bit ahead of time as suggested? ie using a backup of SBS from tonight to get the Active directory data replicated over to the new Virtual DC?, will it have any issue's with active directory doing this setup advance even though the new DC won’t be put live on the network until the weekend. Or wait to do all the steps at the weekend?

We could export the mailboxes from the physical live SBS 2003 at the weekend to get the most up to date data.

Thanks for the advice about the X500 wasn’t aware of that. Do we need to manually add this to each account on Exchange 2010? any other settings that will need to be added?
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38414396
any ideas on above?, should we be safe doing as suggested in advance and safe to join to existing Domain rather than creating a new domain. I think it could be to much work and potential for more problems if we create a new domain.
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38414440
How taking a backup and restore would work different to what its now ?
Thanks for the advice about the X500 wasn’t aware of that. Do we need to manually add this to each account on Exchange 2010? any other settings that will need to be added?  - This can be added if the Alias is the same by adding it to the Email policy in Exchange 2010.

Look if you are planning to get the server into the same domain why not have a In-place migration rather than a PST Export\Import ?

Look it depends on more as to how you want to proceed as i have seen SBS to SBS migration with some Temp installation into the same Domain.

- Rancy
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38415888
The backup we used before had the mailbox stores mounted so i'm thinking maybe when we restored the image it caused the issues we have been having even though the symantec system recovery software is meant to cope with exchange database being online during backup.

So this time I thought if we dismount the mailstores first then create a system recovery backup of SBS and then convert this into a Virtual server so that we dont touch the physical SBS server (Just in case something goes wrong again and we need to revert back to it its not affected in any way & will be disconnected from the network)

I think the alias names will remain the same as using same domain. Can it be added as once as a global setting email policy is exchange 2010?

By in place migration - do you mean the same as transition? as this is what we orginally tried but concerned about doing this again due to the issues we have had with SBS and think there is still some corruption in the mailbox databases (we have tried running tools when mailstores are offline to fix but don't seem to of fully fixed) that's why we were thinking of the new strategy to move to exchange 2010 to give users new / clean / reliable mailboxes...well that the idea we thought would work anyway.

Just not sure on potential issues doing this idea or whether its best to still stick with the regular mailbox move tool in case it needs to transfers some mail settings from SBS that we dont think of.
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Expert Comment

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38416924
So this time I thought if we dismount the mailstores first then create a system recovery backup of SBS and then convert this into a Virtual server so that we dont touch the physical SBS server (Just in case something goes wrong again and we need to revert back to it its not affected in any way & will be disconnected from the network) - Sounds like a good plan :)

I think the alias names will remain the same as using same domain. Can it be added as once as a global setting email policy is exchange 2010? - Yes if they remain the same it should be fine

By in place migration - do you mean the same as transition? - Yes .... but if you ha e gone through and had many a issues we can do the other way around

Just not sure on potential issues doing this idea or whether its best to still stick with the regular mailbox move tool in case it needs to transfers some mail settings from SBS that we dont think of - I do agree

- Rancy
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38417769
Thanks Rancy, please can you clarify what you mean to "I do agree" to the last part?

..Do you mean you agree there might be some other issues if we don't use the regular mailbox move IE using the normal transition procedure, or do you mean you agree the suggested new procedure should work fine apart from needing to manually add the email policy?

I guess the suggested method when we create a new mailbox on Exchange 2010 we just need to attach it to the relevant user and then import the pst file with the email?.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38417967
On the last post i havent worked much with SBS migrations so dont know if migrating manually by PST hampers something ..... i dont think so but as i dont have a brief experience prefer not to speak much on it.

I have seen people face issues with SBS migration and have moved with PST but not sure if they faced any issues afterwards .... and there isnt an option to try as well as its too much work

I guess the suggested method when we create a new mailbox on Exchange 2010 we just need to attach it to the relevant user and then import the pst file with the email?. - Yes sir thats it !!

- Rancy
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38418072
Ok we will probably go with the suggested method. Saying that I just thought even if our information store database on SBS 2003 still has some corruption (which seems to be the case with the issues) then using the regular mailbox move method is going to move the mailboxes into a new/clean database on the new exchange 2010 VM. Thats assuming there isnt any corruption within users individual mailboxes

Is corruption more likely to be within the information store or individual mailboxes..or is this tricky to know?.. For example we are getting some mail held in the local queue on SBS still and some exchange related errors in the application log related to the local queue
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LVL 52

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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38418200
When you do a Move mailbox between Databases on the same server or different servers it will never copy any Corruption :)

But yes if we work with PST from Outlook then it will have the Corruption compared to Exmerge :)

Can be within Mailbox and Database both cases are possible. Yes a lot tricky or can say you cant find :(

If there is issues with local queue i guess 357 Warning or something of that sort its a Database corruption issue

- Rancy
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38418427
Ok final queries (I think)....

Sounds like its probably more likely database corruption we have. its event 327, we have tried running tools such as isinteg and esutil, a recreating queue but so far still getting error, and email distribution lists dont seem to work reliably (some users on list no longer getting the mail sent to the distribution lists)

hm if it doesnt copy any mailbox  corruption using the Exchange 2010 mailbox move then sounds like maybe it is worth another try with it?. Do you mean if using the Exmerge method it might copy some of the mailbox corruption into the pst file? (if the a mailbox has corruption) and therefore corrupt the exchange 2010 mailbox once imported into a new exchange 2010 mailbox?


in the event that we have only database corruption which migration method would you suggest?.

If on the other hand we have both mailbox and database corruption which method would you suggest?

Thanks
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Accepted Solution

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Manpreet SIngh Khatra earned 2000 total points
ID: 38418474
Ok final queries (I think).... No worries really :0

Warning 327 is ideally for Mailbox Database corruption :(

hm if it doesnt copy any mailbox  corruption using the Exchange 2010 mailbox move then sounds like maybe it is worth another try with it? - Yes its worth :)

Do you mean if using the Exmerge method it might copy some of the mailbox corruption into the pst file? - What i said was Exmerge will never copy any Corruption to the PST ...... only time the Mailbox corruption can be moved to a PST is if you Create a PST from Outlook.

Exchange 2010 even with SBS or Standard can have 5 Databases in total so you can always create a new Database and move mailboxes across :) Isnt that wonderful :)

in the event that we have only database corruption which migration method would you suggest? - Any as i can have more databases in E2k10 and move mailboxes to remove corruption in any case.

Its always better if we can have the new server and do a Migration by move mailbox but we always have a option with the newer version.

- Rancy
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Author Closing Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 38428151
Thanks a lot for your advise. We tried the suggested method by exporting to PST and importing from PST using the tools. All went fine until we got to the stage of demoting the Virtual copy of SBS server (using DCpromo) and when the new Server 2008 domain controller was rebooted & came back on-line DNS didn't appear to be working correctly so we aborted the migration, disconnected the VM's and made the physical SBS server live again.

However today looking at the VM's in an isolated network (Exchange 2010, and DC) all seem to be working fine!..very annoying and not sure what's best to do next as would like to get them live on the network this week & disconnect the SBS server if its safe. Anyway I know this is another question so I might put another post on here soon for some advise on this.
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