SBS 2003 (Domain and Exchange) migration to 2012 Standard with VMware

I am needing some guidance on the best approach for our migration. We currently have SBS 2003 running exhange 2003, Domain, and DNS. We also have a 2008 standard server with files and a database. Our corporate office has approved an upgrade and wants to virtualize using VMware 5.1 or 5.5 and 2012 Standard (single server). We are supposed to migrate the domain controller and dns to 1 VM, 2003 to 2013 using a 2nd VM, and the file share and database to a 3rd VM, a 4th VM could split the files and database or be used for future needs. I have already gotten pricing for the hardware and software to support these 4 VMs. My question is, What is the best way to approach this to have little down time. I know it is critical we do this in a particular order, and I am also aware a migration from 2003 to 2013 directly is not possible. Just looking for advice and feedback. Thank you for any advice you can lend.
ckleavitt2Asked:
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
little down time?
unless you migrate to 2010 first, not really possible

the only other option is to export all mailboxes to pst files, delete the mailboxes, remove exchange, then install 2013, create new mailboxes and import everything.  that will have downtime
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
It can be done with no downtime, but you will need an interim system to hold Exchange 2010.
The route I would take is to find another system (a workstation will be fine), build a Windows 2008 R2 domain controller.
Then build a Windows 2008 R2 member server (high end workstation) and install Exchange 2010 on to it. (Exchange 2010 SP3 is the complete product, comes up in 120 day trial). Do the migration, removing all trace of SBS 2003 from the network. Don't forget the group policy objects!

Then build your live platform, Windows 2012 R2 DC and Windows 2012 E2013 CU7 and migrate again.
With care, no downtime involved. If you can remove public folders once you have removed SBS 2003 but before the Exchange 2013 server is introduced, then you will make life a lot easier.

Take your time though. Don't think it can be done in a weekend or anything like that.

Simon.
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