Which Server to upgrade first from 2003 : Exchange Server or AD Windows Server 2003

Hello,

I am currently running an Active Directory Windows Server 2003 R2 environment (3 Servers)  with an Exchange 2003 server on one of the windows 2003 server. The goal is to migrate to an Active Directory Windows server  2008R2 and to Exchange server 2010 or 2013 environment. All new servers will be virtual servers.
Any best practice recommendation to which one should be done first : Exchange or Active Directory?
TCPIPNetAsked:
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
If you do Exchange first, make sure the servers have SP2 as Exchange 2010/2013 doesn't support anything older.  Also, you will need to go to Exchange 2010 first since Exchange 2013 can't co-exist with 2003.  The only other way around that is to export all mailboxes to pst files, delete the mailboxes, completely remove Exchange 2003, install Exchange 2013, create new mailboxes and import the pst files - which may not be practical with your environment size and associated downtime.

If you do the domain controller(s) first, if the 2003 servers are removed, don't raise the forest/domain functional level until after your Exchange migration as Exchange 2003 will break if the functional level is higher than 2003.

Exchange Server Supportability Matrix
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff728623%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
As long as exchange isn't installed on a DC, either is fine. I'd probably do exchange first, but that is just a preference based on workload and similar non-DR concerns.
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TCPIPNetAuthor Commented:
Exchange is indeed install on a DC which does not hold any FSMO role.
What is the particulary of Exchange being installed on a DC ? What are my opions in this case?
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
Exchange doesn't support promotion/demotion events so you would need to get Exchange off that server before removing as a domain controller.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
As suggested, with Exchange on your DC, you would want to migrate exchange off the DC to a non-DC first, then, uninstall Exchange from the 2003 server and then demote it.  You can ADD a 2012 server as a DC before you do any of this but you cannot change the domain or forest functional levels to newer than 2003 until you get rid of your 2003 DCs.
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TCPIPNetAuthor Commented:
Thank you experts for your answers.
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