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Exchange 2013 removal form Ex2007 environment

Posted on 2014-04-21
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Last Modified: 2014-05-07
Hello all -

We have a client with an existing Exchange 2007 system and we introduced Exchange 2013 into the mix.  Since then, we have had nothing but issues with the coexistence of Ex2007 and Ex2013.  I just got off yet another call with MS and their final recommendation was to uninstall ex2013 and reinstall it.  I am of the mindset at this point to simply remove 2013 and not go back to it right now.  Rather, I am thinking of putting 2007 (or 2010) in its place.

Note - Upgrading the existing 2007 server is not an option right now so Ex2007 will continue to exist in this environment for another year or two.

Since this Ex2007-Ex2013 coexistence has been so troublesome, my question is how difficult will it be to just remove Ex2013 and replace it with Ex2007 (or 2010)?  I can do the add\remove programs thing easily enough (I hope) but will there be left over pieces of 2013 that will hamper me moving forward?

If you have any thoughts\comments, please hit me with them.

Thanks,

Brad
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Question by:dasmail2000
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by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 40013695
I know you are looking to remove 2013 from the environment, but what sort of problems were you having?
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by:dasmail2000
ID: 40013707
They are many -

As of right now we are unable to move mailboxes from 2007 to 2010.  We could do it a week ago but some Outlook clients could not connect to the 2013 server.  That was the last two days of calls and now we can no longer move mailboxes.  Whatever MS changed messed it up (not pointing fingers just stating that things got changed and that broke).  They are unable to correct it and recommended a reinstall.

New mailboxes on the 2013 server now fail to appear in the EMC on the 2007 server.  

If we create a new mailbox on the 2013 server, from some reason AD fails to recgnoize that it exists.  What I mean here is that out anti-spam appliance queries AD for good email addresses and now when we create a new user on Ex2013 a query for that user's email always fails.  It did work for quite a while....then it didn't...then it did...now it doesn't.  

Just a bunch of odd stuff like this - it has never worked perfectly.  I know we trying to get the old to work with the new...not a great idea...and it is just not flying in this environment.
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by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 40013714
Was it a specific version of the Outlook client? I only ask because Outlook 2003 and earlier is incompatible with Exchange 2013.
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by:dasmail2000
ID: 40013719
Most Outlook clients are 2010 - some 2007.
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hecgomrec earned 167 total points
ID: 40015349
I have had issues like this with some customers without patience forcing us to speed up things that should not be speed up.

My recommendation will be not to uninstall the 2013 as 2010 installations is quite similar as to migration progress, you might end-up in the same spot you are right now.

Try to move back all previously moved mailboxes, make sure all stations can open their mailboxes and they mail flow is ok within the organization and from the outside.

Regardless your decision to remove or not the 2013 make sure all outlook clients are fully updated and there is no 2003 versions on the organization.  If the clients are not fully updated they might not be able to open their mailboxes due to 2 possible causes, they are not able to handle the autodiscover feature 2013 uses by default or DNS A and MX records are not updated to reflect the change to the new server.

Create a test user, if you don't have one and put its mailbox on the 2013 server and make sure it gets and send mail from OWA and that you are able to open the mailbox from a client (outlook).
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by:dasmail2000
ID: 40015399
We are in a tough spot right now as before the latest MS call, many clients (Outlook 2007 and 2010) could not connect to their mailboxes.  MS did their thing and that is now fixed.

However, now we are unable to move mailboxes between the servers.  The migration runs and then 'completes' with zero mailboxes moved and no error - just nuttin.

I am not happy with the idea of killing Ex2013 as I agree we might open a whole new can of worms.  However, 2013 is just not cutting it and we have to do something soon.  The ineffectiveness of MS to correct the issues is very worrisome and that is why I am thinking of dropping back and punting.

I am open to any other ideas or thoughts.
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by:hecgomrec
ID: 40015434
Could you please confirm if they are able to work using OWA?
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by:dasmail2000
ID: 40015446
Yes - OWA is fully functional on both servers.
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by:hecgomrec
ID: 40015787
Both Servers?... I will leave only one but it's ok I... guess!!

I know it's not the first mailbox move you have performed since you moved some already but Exchange 2013 will not give a full detail explanation of any error unless you open the migration batch and click on details.

Maybe you can do a set and post the details of that screen.  

Just make sure the user still on the other server's database by on recipients, mailboxes, Add/Remove columns( ...), select DATABASE, then OK.

Also, make sure there are no size limitations on the target database preventing the move.
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 167 total points
ID: 40015795
If you didn't have Exchange 2010 on the domain in the past, then you are going to be unable to install Exchange 2010 now. You are basically stuck between Exchange 2007 and 2013 as choices - 2010 is not an option.

I am very surprised that Microsoft Support were not able to resolve the issues. Did you ask for the call to be escalated?

Simon.
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by:Gareth Gudger
Gareth Gudger earned 166 total points
ID: 40016321
So right now the only symptom is you can't move users? What do the Event Logs say?
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by:dasmail2000
ID: 40047714
Sorry for the long delay here.

On 4/23 we started phone call #5 with MS Support.  After another six calls things seem to be ok.  

The root issue was never really determined and to be honest, after call #2 I stopped listening - or even watching.  The last thing that they did was to move the FSMO roles from one of the Win2K8 DCs and onto the Win2012 DC.  Then move them back to the same Win2K8 DC.  I cannot say if that alone did the trick as they were throwing everything at this issue and it became obvious that the whole scientific method got tossed out the window(s).

Anyway, once the FSMO roles were moved and moved back - a lot of things started to work nicely.  Even some issues I did not notice but they did (for example, group memberships were not being replicated between the sites,  Users and groups were fine, but not the members of those groups - just odd.)

AD may have been a culprit - as could the ever present one of DNS....but no real determination was ever made.
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