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Exchange 2012 on SBS 2003 Domain

Posted on 2014-09-16
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My customer is running an SBS 2003 domain with Exchange Server 2003 on the server as well.  Their applications are not ready for the 64-bit world and have been so highly customized with no documentation such that I don't want to break that which is not broken by moving them to a new server.  We do need to move them to Exchange 2012 so I am wondering if I can install Server 2012 (not R2) with Exchange 2012 , move all mailboxes from their current Exchange 2003 to the new Exchange server, decommission the old Exchange, and have Exchange 2012 running on the domain.
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Question by:Dave Kiewra
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by:Cliff Galiher
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Exchange 2013 is only available as am64-bit product, which you say you can't use. So you've created a contradiction.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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There is no direct migration path to Exchange 2013 (which is what I assume you mean) without first going through Exchange 2007 or 2010 first.

You can Export all mailboxes to .PST files if there aren't many users and then kill Exchange 2003, install Windows 2012 and Exchange 2013, configure that, then create the user mailboxes and import the .PST files to the new accounts, but there will be issues with the Autocomplete addresses remembering the old 2003 internal Exchange account details and replying to 'old' imported emails will also result in non-delivery errors.

How many users are you talking about?

Alan
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by:Dave Kiewra
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Sorry, yes Exchange 2013 (oops).  The migration is not the issue as I've done others previously.  I was wondering if I can leave the SBS 2003 domain with the SBS 2003 server as the DC and kept running but have Exchange 2013 installed on a 2012 Standard Server in the domain.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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@Cliff,  Exchange 2013 would be installed on 2012 Server, leaving everything except Exchange running on SBS 2003.
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by:Cliff Galiher
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It isn't officially supported, and SBS wizards will no longer work. But it can be done with a lot of diligence. It isn't ever a topology I'd recommend though. IT maintenance costs are too high for the minimal benefit.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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How many users do you have?
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by:Dave Kiewra
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@Alan - Small number of users: 10<
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by:Dave Kiewra
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@Cliff - I figured the SBS Wizards wouldn't function afterwards.  My concerns were AD structure, etc. - making sure all the pieces would play nicely.
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by:Cliff Galiher
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As long as you've planned your migration properly, yes. SBS does very little to AD itself so won't interfere there.
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Alan Hardisty earned 500 total points
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Have you considered Office 365 as you only have a handful of users?

Easy to migrate away from Exchange 2003 and minimises your outlay.  Costing as little as $4 / mailbox / month, you are looking at $40 for 10 users ($480 / year).  5 years down the road and you have spent $2,400 compared to the cost of the new server hardware, Windows Server Software, Exchange Server software and relevant CAL's, plus maintenance, setup, backup costs etc.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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@Alan, yes we did look at 365.  The client is using features on Exchange such as sending all email to a central audit account.  I was going to investigate if that was supported in 365.  Other than that, not sure of their comfort level of their email being cloud-based.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Do you mean a Journalling account?

If so - it is supported on Enterprise Accounts.

We've switched about 70 companies to Office 365 and some were initially a little wary, but they have all been satisfied since the switch as they have improved uptime, huge 50Gb mailboxes and it works and means less admin for them.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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@Alan - yes, a journalling account.  I switched one of my clients to 365 and they are very happy with it.  I'll give it a shot here.  Thanks for the reminder that it is an option.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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No problems - just wanted to throw it in as an alternative.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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@Alan - sometimes I get so buried in the trees that I can't see the whole forest...
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Don't worry - you're not alone there.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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@Alan - I'm checking with MS now to see exactly which plan offers the journalling and will propose to my client.  If they take it, you'll get the credit for the solution.  

But I am also interested if we can integrate Exchange 2012 / Server 2012 into the SBS 2003 domain.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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oops Exchange 2013.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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As long as you have SBS on the domain - it MUST hold all the FSMO roles, other than that it will work, but it isn't ideal.

You can add a Window 2012 server to the domain and run Exchange 2013 on the 2012 server, but migrating emails to Exchange 2013 from Exchange 2003 isn't an option unless you remove Exchange 2003 from the SBS server and then install Exchange 2013 as per my initial comment, exporting / importing .PST files.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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OK, thanks.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Bear in mind that Extended support for Windows 2003 ends on the 14th July 2015 (and Exchange 2003 ended this year).

That's not to say that the world is going to end the day after, but your customers will need to think about migrating away from 2003 if possible.

What LOB applications are they running that haven't made it to 64-bit processing yet?

You could always virtualise SBS and run it on a Windows Server 2012 server running Hyper-V (or any other hypervisor server of your choice).
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by:Dave Kiewra
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Yes, I made them aware of the end of support on SBS 2003 and Exchange 2003. Their LOB app is S2000, a Field Maintenance app.  It runs on Pervasive SQL 2000i.  The issue is that it has many customizations that would cost them a lot of $$$ if they were to have them redone.  They were done by a single consultant (not me) and unfortunately, there is no documentation on what was done and where so if we install a new version of the application, they lose all the custom stuff.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Gotta love those highly customised applications that didn't have accompanying documentation.

Is the SBS 2003 server highly backed up / ready to be recovered easily (image-based backups etc) should the worst happen?

Does the hardware have redundancy built-in?  Are spare parts available should something keel over in the server?
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by:Dave Kiewra
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The backups are good, HDDs are RAID, no backup for the motherboard.  Does SBS run OK in a VM?  I remember when I tried to virtualize PDCs in the past things did not work well and it wasn't a supported config by MS.

Also, you mentioned a client of yours uses journaling.  Wher is it turned on in the admin interface?

I found this article on journalilng article, which sort of says MS will not sanction a cloud-based journal mail box.  http://windowsitpro.com/blog/why-exchange-online-hates-journal-mailboxes
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by:Alan Hardisty
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SBS 2003 isn't supported by MS in a virtual environment, but plenty have it running that way.  At least it could be an option of last resort if the hardware dies and you have a backup that can be converted to a VM image.

We have a client on Exchange 2010 using Journalling - none in Office 365 yet, but there are journalling options available.

Well that kind of spells it out doesn't it!  He's a very respected Exchange guru, so sounds like Journalling is a no-go option!  Always good to find these things out!
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by:Dave Kiewra
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I'll see if journaling is a show stopper for my client as I know they are not under any regulations to do so, like Sarbanes-oxley.

Thanks much!
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by:Alan Hardisty
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No problems - seems that you can Journal, just not to an Office 365 mailbox, so you would have to setup another mailbox outside of 365!
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by:Dave Kiewra
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Yes, but if that mailbox becomes full / exceeds quota or becomes unavailable, it would be disastrous.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Yep - just a little bit.
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by:Dave Kiewra
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I'm wrapping it up for the night.  Recommending Hosted 365 without journaling.  Let's see what they say.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Sleep well ;)
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by:Dave Kiewra
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Great product and overall knowledge. Very responsive and helpful.
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