can Exchange 2013 run in server 2003 domain and forest functional levels?

I was sent a document from an MSP that wants to install Exchange 2013 into our server 2003 forest and domain functional level (most servers are server 2012). We can't raise our domain/forest functional level past 2008 due to our single label domain. i've seen the Microsoft document but I'm hoping there is a caveat somewhere that I've missed that says that it's not possible otherwise we'll end up running server 2012 in server 2003 functional levels and the decision will not be mine in the end to stop it.

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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
Exchange 2013 will not run with a single label domain.
The latest version you can go to is Exchange 2010. Otherwise it is a new forest.

Personally if you want to get to Exchange 2013, then upgrade to Exchange 2010, then cross forest to Exchange 2013.


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Gareth GudgerSolution ArchitectCommented:
If you feel brave enough you could attempt a domain rename. Lots and lots of info on all the pitfalls of that here. Simon's route is the safer route.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
can Exchange 2013 run in server 2003 domain and forest functional levels?

yes, it is supported in a 2003 domain/forest functional level

Exchange Server Supportability Matrix
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
I have never seen a domain rename with Exchange involved work successfully.
It is a huge risk, and usually ends up in a lot of problems requiring a rapid migration to a new forest and all of the headaches that involves.

Gareth GudgerSolution ArchitectCommented:
Ah I didn't see that he was on a previous version of Exchange in the question. Assumed this was greenfield.
aackarAuthor Commented:
I should have added that we do have an existing Exchange 2003 server.
What I'm hearing here is pretty much what I thought was true that you can't upgrade Exchange 2003 to
Exchange 2013 in a server 2003 domain/forest functional level and that you can't run Exchange 2013 in a single label domain but check out this document:

Check under Network and Directory Servers, it says that you can run Exchange 2013 in a single label domain and it supports Server 2003 domain/forest functional level. Am I misunderstanding something here?
If not it would appear that you can upgrade from Exchange 2003 to 2013 while keeping server 2003 domain/forest functional level and keeping the domain as a single label domain.
Gareth GudgerSolution ArchitectCommented:
There is no direct upgrade path from 2003 to 2013. You have to go to 2010 first.

Not sure on the TechNet article. But definitely an interesting contradiction to what has already been said here. I'll do some digging.
Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
You cannot upgrade to Exchange 2013 from Exchange 2003.
The only thing you can do is go to Exchange 2010, then migrate to Exchange 2013.

It would appear that Microsoft have changed their support guidelines to support single label domains, but it is something you should start planning to correct.

aackarAuthor Commented:
If nobody has anything else I'll wrap this up.
RobOwner (Aidellio)Commented:
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 500 points for Sembee2's comment #a40369457

for the following reason:

No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned.

I have recommended this question be closed as follows:

Accept: Simon Butler (Sembee) (https:#a40369457)

If you feel this question should be closed differently, post an objection and the moderators will review all objections and close it as they feel fit. If no one objects, this question will be closed automatically the way described above.

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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
points should be split between simon and myself.  Simon refuted ideas in the first post that were technically incorrect or impossible while my comment directly answers the question in the subject.
However the points need to be split or assigned, I would like to summarize/add the following:

Exchange 2013 can run at a domain/forest functional level of 2003.
The upgrade path is indeed from 2003>>2010>>2013.
You can actually have a single label domain in Exchange 2013, we are living proof (though it pains me to have a single label domain... I inherited this).
Seth did have the best answer to the original question IMO.
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