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Migrating to new Exchange server

Posted on 2015-01-12
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Hi guys,

I walked in to a very disorganized configuration/setup of Exchange have a question regarding a migration to a new Exchange server. Here is my scenario:

- I have a DAG with 3 nodes (however, there are 5 Exchange servers in total, and there does not need to be)
- Exchange logs and databases (for active and passive nodes) are on a drive (LUN) that is attached to a SAN
- 3rd Node is our office in China (which will be evicted soon, leaving only my active and passive nodes)
- There is a server (we'll call it EXC02) that is part of the Exchange forest, but does not show up in my EMC. However, if  
   this server is down, our China office is affected for some reason???
- EXC01 is my Active Node, and EXC03 is my passive node. There are database copies maintained on both these servers.

What I want to do:

- Move primary Exchange server from EXC01 to a new EXC01 (already built, but not yet on the network)
- There are currently 16 databases for just one office, so I want to consolidate those databases into about 4 and move them off the SAN on to the new EXC01 box. However, I would like to minimize impact by doing this (was thinking building 4 databases on new server, then performing local move requests of users to that box? Or should I just dismount the databases and move the database path location to the new server? One is much more impactful than the other). Also, would I have to bring down the primary Exchange server to bring up the new one?
- Create a new certificate that fixes the issues with the current certificate in the subject alternative names.


I'm moving the company to a new Exchange server because of this setup. I'd like to just rebuild the setup with 2 Exchange servers (keeping the existing passive node). We are also going to a hybrid deployment of Office 365. I've got the ADFS and all the things I need for this in place. That being said, is it still necessary to keep the DAG? Or can I just get away from that altogether? I'd really be interested in hearing suggestions. Thanks!!

-Roy
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Question by:roycbene
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
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Before you think about the DAG - do you have a CAS Array?
That could be the server you are seeing in the forest that you cannot see in EMC.

get-clientaccessarray

If you don't have a CAS Array, then I would create one. Then start getting people to repair their Outlook profile to use the CAS Array address instead. Without a CAS Array you are looking at problems with Outlook using the new server. In Exchange 2010 the clients connect to the CAS role, not the mailbox role, so if the CAS role is still valid, they still connect, even if you have moved the mailbox to another database.
See my blog here: http://semb.ee/casarray

As for whether you need a DAG - do you need high availability? Do you need to have the data off site (I don't mean another location with active users on it). I have sites as slow as 30 users with a DAG so we can have the data off site.
If your plan is to go to Office365 though, then you could probably get away without one, depends on how quick that move is going to go through.

To be honest, not really enough information to say whether you need a DAG or not.

Simon.
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by:Manoj Bojewar
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I would suggest to create new DAG group and add two new mailbox servers to this DAG group. After that, you can start moving mailboxes from old DAG members to new DAG group members. once done, decommission old servers and DAG group.
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by:roycbene
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Simon,

I thought (regarding Outlook having issues using the new server) that's one of the things Autodiscover is for? Or do you mean automatically switching over to the new server without having to manually touch every machine? Please clarify. I sincerely appreciate the feedback (keep in mind I've not read the blog yet. I'll do that this evening :). Again, thank you).

The get-clientaccessarray cmdlet did not return any results (likely meaning I do not have one). I'll look at your blog and look at setting that up. I think you're right; that will make life a lot easier.

Now, regarding bringing my new server on the network, how do you recommend I do that? In the past, a CAS-Hub builds a database and immediately starts trying to route mail to that server. I need to avoid that.

Please let me know whatever info you require, otherwise. Thanks so much!
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
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Autodiscover will not change anything unless the old server gone away. Therefore you are effectively crossing your fingers and hoping it works. It cannot be tested in advance, because the process only kicks in when the server has gone - uninstalled. Disabling services etc is not enough.

My blog does explain things, so you should read that. But you are looking at either touching every machine yourself or asking users to do it (it isn't hard and most sites will have a percentage of users who can do it themselves).

There isn't much you can do about Exchange using the new server. As soon as the server comes online it will be used. Therefore your only option is to build it out of hours and know what you need to configure immediately to limit how much the clients use it. You cannot stop it being used completely - a new Exchange server goes in to production immediately.

Simon.
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by:roycbene
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Hi, Simon. I read your blog. Very good information. I will definitely consider building a CAS array and getting the current Outlook profiles there.

Actually, I need to start at the beginning. The first part of this migration/deployment is migrating to a new Exchange server. I'm going 2010 to 2010 and simply moving from one server to another. I have 16 databases for my HQ office, 4 for my China office and 2 for my Amsterdam office. I will be consolidating my 16 databases to 4 and leaving the rest alone. How would you recommend I go about moving all the user's information to the new server? Currently, it is all on a LUN on a SAN and this SAN has caused me nothing but problems. I'd like to get the databases local and then keep the current DAG in tact, as the passive node is solid. I have a couple options I am considering. Should I:

1. Dismount the current databases and just move the database path to the new server, then register the new certificate and make my firewall changes?

2. Destroy the DAG, create new databases on the new machine, then move all the users locally from the old DB's to the new, register the new certificate and make my firewall changes?

How would you proceed? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
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I wouldn't move the database files around.
Move the mailboxes above - no downtime, no risk.
I would also have the CAS array configured right now, so if you are moving users between sites they will start to use the CAS array address.

When it comes to a DAG, my preferred method now is to create new databases, add the empty databases to the DAG and let it replicate. Then move the mailboxes in to the new databases over time. This allows the replication system to keep up.

Simon.
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by:roycbene
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So how would you go about 'adding' a CAS array without disrupting current operations? I really value your opinion and would like to know how you personally would go about doing it. Also, there is currently a DAG in place and I am very reticent to destroy that. My biggest concern is down time. I'll be purchasing the certificate today and installing that in the existing environment this weekend. That I've done enough times - so no worry there. My concern is:

- The new box is a CAS Hub and is offline. So if I turn it on, our mail goes down because it's trying to use that server.
- Should I uninstall Exchange on that server and just rebuild it as a regular mailbox server, then add it to the DAG until I get the new mailboxes replicated over to it?
- The firewall switch (changing IP address of internal server where the MX Record points to) is quite simple enough. Again, I've migrated Exchange 100 times; just never in this type of environment. However, when the new CAS array takes effect, what impact will that have on my current environment? Do I have to touch every machine in order to get that set up properly?

Again, Thanks so much, Simon. I greatly appreciate your help.

-Roy
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 500 total points
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The CAS array can be added at any time, and it has no affect on anything existing.
Clients will not use the CAS array address automatically, they will continue to use the existing real server address.

Clients will only switch to the CAS Array address if one of the following happens:

a. They get a new Outlook profile.
b. Their existing Outlook profile is repaired.
c. Their mailbox is moved to another Exchange server **in a different AD site**.

Simply moving the mailbox to another server in the same AD site will not trigger the client moving to the CAS array, they will continue to use the old server.
Therefore most people will need to use do option b to get the clients to move to the CAS array. That does mean touching every machine (or getting the users to do it).

The CAS Array address must NOT resolve on the internet and is only used for the CAS Array, nothing else. Therefore it does not have to be on the SSL certificate.

Simon.
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by:roycbene
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Simon,

Thank you so much. I appreciate the clarification. Can you address this portion?

- Should I uninstall Exchange on that server and just rebuild it as a regular mailbox server, then add it to the DAG until I get the new mailboxes replicated over to it?
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Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 500 total points
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You will need to start the server up, then remove Exchange correctly using add/remove programs.
I would then wipe the machine and do a fresh installation of Windows on it, new name etc. Then install Exchange on to that new build.

Simon.
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