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Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 (with a stop at Exch 2010)

Posted on 2013-11-28
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Last Modified: 2014-04-23
I have a network with 250 users, all on one Exchange 2003 server, and AD 2003.

I want to purchase new hardware and upgrade our AD to 2012 and Exchange to 2013.  I realize the Exchange portion cannot be updated directly and bumping to Exchange 2010 is the preferred method.  I'm unsure of the steps for upgrading AD to 2012.

Can I install 2012 server on our new boxes and upgrade AD to 2008 native mode, then install Exch 2010 on an interim server and migrate our Exchange environment over?  I would run this way for a few weeks, then update AD to 2012 mode and install Exchange 2013 on a new server, and migrate the mailboxes again.

Does this solution make sense?  I assume the best method would be to have two separate servers for Exchange, one as a temp 2010 box and one for the final 2013 installation?  Can I start with Windows 2012 server, or do I need to install Windows 2008 server first and also migrate my AD?

Any suggestions and guidelines would be appreciated.
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Question by:DrakeCA
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Mahesh
ID: 39684235
1st you need to raise your active directory DFL and FFL to windows 2003
Then you can upgrade to windows 2012 active directory directly which allows you to deploy 2008 R2 \ 2012 Dcs at a time.
http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/archive/2013/05/05/step-by-step-adding-a-windows-server-2012-domain-controller-to-an-existing-windows-2003-network.aspx

Also Exchange 2003 is not supported as co-existence version for 2013, hence you must introduce 2010 exchange 1st, then establish co-existence between 2003 and 2010 SP3 exchange, Migrate all 2003 stuff to 2010 and then remove exchnage 2003 from infrastructure.
Then you need to introduce 2013 exchange in co-existence
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa996719(v=exchg.150).aspx

You can check below options.
you can install Exchange 2010 SP3 infrastructure in virtual environment on 2008 R2 SP1 since this also will get replaced by exchnage 2013
Exchange 2013 infra also can be installed in virtual environment on 2012 servers, you need to design server sizing properly and if you may have dedicated servers for exchange 2013

Mahesh
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Author Comment

by:DrakeCA
ID: 39685950
Thanks for this info.  So it looks like going directly to Server 2012 is possible.  

Just to clarify, I need to leave AD in 2008R2 mode while migrating from Exchange 2003 to 2010, then I can upgrade AD as part of the migration to the final Exchange 2013 platform?
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LVL 37

Accepted Solution

by:
Mahesh earned 2000 total points
ID: 39685996
What I suggest you, upgrade AD schema with windows 2012 active directory, so that it will cover all previous versions from 2008 \ 2008 R2 automatically.
Upgrading schema will not raise ur AD functional levels automatically.
Then you can deploy 2008 R2 domain controllers if wanted to
Later you can deploy 2012 DCs as well without any problem.

If you want to upgrade AD to 2008 R2 and then to 2012, step by step is also possible
What I suggested you is shotgun.

Mahesh
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