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Best way to upgrade to Exchange 2013 and change domain name

Ok first here is our systems background:
-Active Directory with server 2012 DCs running in server 2003 domain and forest functional levels because we have a flat domain name with no TLD. We are also running Exchange 2003

Questions:
We are wanting to upgrade Exchange 2003 and change domain name to include a TLD as required by windows server starting with 2008 r2. What is the simplest way of doing these 2 things?

thanks
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aackar
Asked:
aackar
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1 Solution
 
Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
Simple? There is no such thing for this scenario.
Changing the domain name isn't supported with later versions of Exchange, and under Exchange 2003 it usually meant that Exchange didn't work correctly.
Therefore the only option I would consider is a new Forest and domain and migrate all resources across to it. Options to do that vary, depending on the number of users either manual or third party software.
That will also allow you to do the migration in a controlled manner, using trusts etc to ensure it is done with as little disruption to the business as possible.

Simon.
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aackarAuthor Commented:
How about this:
I export all the Exchange 2003 mailboxes to network share, then I completely remove Exchange 2003 from AD, change the domain name, raise the domain/forest functional level to 2012 and then install Exchange 2013 and move all the boxes to the new Exchange install from the network share. I don't think that all the various versions of Outlook would "break".
What do you think about that?
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
The data is only a small part of Exchange.
The method you have outlined will mean the loss of all settings.

- Email addresses
- Permissions within mailboxes

The method you have outlined will cause significant business disruption - a day, maybe more and you still have a domain that is badly configured in place. What does it gain you? A little less work?
It isn't something I would do - the method I have outlined can be done with very little business disruption.

SImon.
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aackarAuthor Commented:
So going your way, would it be better to do the migration first and then upgrade from Exchange 2003 to 2013 or would it be better to upgrade to Exchange 2013 in the existing scenario and then do the migration to the new forest?
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
If you are building a new forest then deploy the latest and greatest straight in to the new forest.
Then migrate the resources to the new forest going to the latest version. I don't see any point in deploying an older version of something simply to upgrade shortly afterwards.

Simon.
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aackarAuthor Commented:
I appreciate your help. Can you recommend any good guides on the internet that explains the process and any gotchas that might be part of this process?
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
Cross Forest migrations are documented on TechNet - I think the Exchange team blog has outlined what is involved. You will not find anything that completely tells you what to do, because each one is unique. You will have to look at a number of resources.

The main problem that catches people out is the account creation. Trying to create the new accounts first doesn't work well.

Simon.
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