Looking for a bit of input for the best course of action.
As of right now:
Windows 2003 Server - DC
Windows 2003 Server - Exchange
First: Is it best from exchange 2003 -> 2007 -> 2013? or should i go from 2003 -> 2010 -> 2013?
Second: I also plan to upgrade my DC to Windows 2012. Should i do this before or after exchange migration?
With all these changes, I really want to do a test run beforehand. After 4pm, no one is on location.
I have 3 new servers running Windows 2012.
1 server is running Standard version of windows 2012 with AppAssure 5, so i have a base image of the DC and Exchange Server.
1 Server is running Datacenter version of Windows 2012. (would eventually be my DC)
1 server is running DataCenter version of Windows 2012. (would eventually be my exchange server)
I installed Hyper-V on DataCenter versions of Windows 2012.
Since no one will be onsite, is it best to just shutdown the current production servers then load up VMs of my current DC and Exchange and test out the process? This seems it would give me a true 1:1 working environment. Or should i load the DC/Exchange VMs on a different subnet and not have to shutdown the production servers at all. My only concern here is, they won't be able to access the internet and i currently don't have any VLANs setup on my switches.
Lastly,: Am i thinking too much into this and should just go straight into the upgrade process? i'm just afraid of what bumps i might run into. I want to make this upgrade as smooth as possible with minimal downtime during work hours.