An alternative way to migrate to new exchange server....bear with me?

OK...I am grasping at straws here, but please tell me if this is possible without too much laughing.

I am about to deploy a ROCK solid beautifully running SBS 2011 Std Server into a law firm so they can actually take full advantage of things like Sharepoint, paperless fax, etc...yada yada.

But ...

Their OLD system was SBS 2008 R2....But the ONLY thing it was used for was to connect to Exchange, no domain, no AD, no sharepoint, no fax, no NOTHING....All the client pc's are still on a workgroup.

After spending time looking at the event logs, they are a WRECK.....I've got a failing drive in a RAID 1 array (How data isn't falling apart every day I'll never know)...the Event logs are just littered with RED X's on every level...

............Bear with me........

I know that in order to migrate SBS 2008 to SBS 2011 I have to have at least a healthy source server, so this just seems like a waste at this point because the ONLY thing they're using this old box for is EMAIL.  (That i've since moved to godaddy unlimited pop3 accounts just because the old email host shut his doors)  They have OLD email ost files from exchange also, but they're just some internal chatter emails, nothing important at all compared to client emails they get to their pop3 accounts.  All the important data is on a .pst file which is stored on the local client.  

Honestly, the ONLY thing left that they are using Exchange for is the shared Calendar now that I think of it.

So here's my thoughts:  I want to keep my NEW SBS 2011 install nice and shiny, and I would rather not touch the old 2008 box.

My big question...

Can I REVERSE sync the data from each client's PST file BACK into the new exchange server once they connect?
(There aren't that many users, but they do have alot of email, so time is not my concern as much as staying away from that old box)

My example scenerio...
I bring the new domain online, and do the \\connect wizards to connect the users to SBS...Now SBS 2011 is supposed to import ALL the user data into the user profile (I don't know if it imports the Outlook data files as well, but I'd like to think it does?)

At that point wouldn't the server back sync from each person's PST file?  Or is there a way to toggle it to sync the data from the client back to Exchange?

Does this make sense?

I know it's NOT the way it's supposed to be done, but could it be done so as to just turn off that old server and let it die rather than try and spend God knows how long trying to get it ready for data migration.

Who's with me!?!?!?!    

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You should be able to either import from the .PST files or just copy from them.  To do the latter, add the .PST as another data file and it will show up under another name in Outlook.  From there you can copy.  If all that you are trying to get is email, it should work fine.

My preference would be to do an import.

Just ask if that is not enough detail.

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yep - setup all the new network, and join the workstations to the new domain.
then once you have the accounts setup you can import each pst file without any problem.
 as you import it  - it will put the data onto the exchange server - so long as outlook is setup correctly as an exchange client - with ost file, not pop.
Kyle GreenCommented:
Here are more alternatives for you. Very first step, make a backup of the source server!

1. New hard drive, rebuild array. Doesn't have to fancy or pretty just same size or larger as the bad drive you're replacing. Move on to any following step.

2. Collect all the PSTs onto the new server and use Exchange PowerShell to import the PST contents into mailboxes, you'll have to do this for each mailbox unless you're more Exchange Powershell educated than I.

3. Read this: it's about migrating Exchange from one server to another with same name

Can't think of anything else for you but I think reverse-sync of PST is a bad idea for risk of corruption.
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also - after you have setup and imported a mailbox - you will be able to confirm it has synced back to the new server by using outlook web access which should then see all the old emails.
cpmcomputersManaging DirectorCommented:
Just a heads up if you are importing pst's
To exchange on sbs2011
The default mailbox limits are set to 2gb
Depending on the current pst sizes you may need to alter this for some or all users
cpmcomputersManaging DirectorCommented:
I also note your users are in a workgroup at present
You might want to look at the tool below
To move their local user profiles to their new domain account

I used it recently on a migration  it saved hours of transposing the profiles
FaxxerAuthor Commented:
I will be trying this November 1st on a couple test machines, then I'll close the question if successful! lol

ty for your patience.
FaxxerAuthor Commented:
Well...I learned A TON on this one...

First of all...I exported each account into a save folder on the user's machine..
So they had their pop3 datafile which was already .pst...easy
And they have their old exchange .ost file which as long as you can open outlook is EASY to export to a .pst file...

Then I did the join to new domain.

(Depending on if SBS 2011 let me keep their profile files and settings, it's an issue for some machines)
I would have to go into "MAIL" in control panel and remove all their email accounts first or outlook would break upon open attempt.

Then in outlook I first make sure they're connected to exchange and show ONE SINGLE INBOX and ONE SINGLE CALENDAR...etc...

Then when I import EACH of the pst files I tell it to go into the new ost file...As soon as it's pointed into the right merges them into the new .ost flawlessly...and yes i've hit the larger than 2GB already on some users...big RED BLOCK announcing it...

But the REAL important issue....It sync'd right back into Exchange without a single hiccup!!!

P.s.....Sometimes machines would not show that their profile could be saved upon connection to Domain....And a blank new profile would be created....

To work around this... Use W.E.T. FIRST to save the profile to an external drive...then as soon as new profile is created and W.E.T. again to reinstall their everything...
Found that somewhere as a workaround to the glitch for sbs2011....
Just remember to click advanced options in W.E.T. to point their old profile location to the new domain profile location...perfect fix.

Thank you all, I wish I could award more points!

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