Best way to migrate from SBS 2003 to SBS 2011, primarily mail?

Posted on 2014-01-27
Last Modified: 2014-02-13
We are going to migrate from our SBS 2003 server to a newer SBS 2011 server and we are trying to determine the best way to move the mail.  We only have a couple of specific applications that are no problem to move. But we are curious about methods for moving the users email, or the email database?
Question by:holcomb_frank
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Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 334 total points
ID: 39813696
If you follow the standard migration articles then it is a simple case of selecting the mailboxes and moving them to the SBS 2011 server from the SBS 2003 server.

This is the one I always use:

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Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 166 total points
ID: 39813705
The "best" way to make the move is to follow Microsoft's migration strategy. That includes installing the new server in migration so that AD is preserved. Several other guides and processes have built on this basic premise and added their own flare or value-added features, such as, but at the core, it is still about using the migration mode of SBS.

When installed in this manner, the two exchange servers can see each other and communicate directly. Exchange has tools and processes in place for moving mailboxes from the old server to the new and is nearly seamless. It is both the most convenient and safest method to upgrade email....ESPECIALLY when the old server is 2003 where exmerge has significant limitations.

If possible look at a full SBS migration scenario. Microsoft's official migration documentation can be found on technet. And as I've mentioned, other guides and kits exist that build on that basic solution, so as Philip Elder's blog, DeMazter's guide, and my personal favorite, an swing kit.


Author Comment

ID: 39813736
Reading/studying  your suggestions.....   i'm curious, the question came up,  if the number of users is small, and you know there are issues with the user accounts and other things on the old server....  what is the opinion on just exporting individual mailboxes to a portable drive. Setup the new server and add the workstations, and then just import the mail into their new mailbox. We would have a clean active directory then, none of the issues from the old server or profiles, and just a clean basic install of SBS 2011....  thoughts?
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Accepted Solution

Alan Hardisty earned 334 total points
ID: 39813758
You can do that but you will have to add the existing X500 address from the old SBS 2003 server to the SBS 2011 server or there will be issues replying / responding to internal emails / calendar appointments etc.

Did-joining the workstations from the old domain and re-joining them to the new domain will mean new profiles on the workstations, so depending on the disk space, you might be able to copy most of the data, but some info will be unable to be copied.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39857219
We found out that there were some issues with the AD on the old server and didn't want to have to troubleshoot those our bring them forward onto the new server , and a few other issues on the existing network that made new workstation profiles a desireable thing - So we backed up each workstation and export mailboxes to a pst file for each, joined the new network and put everything back. We had some issues with older systems needing updates to connect to the new server, but it went fairly well and time consuming. The new network is up and running good now. I'm sure the migration wizards would have worked fine as well.Sorry for the delay.

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