Migration from server 2003 and exchange 2003 to server 2012R2 and Exchange 2013

Hi All

I have a client which is running 2 windows server 2003 domain controllers, one of these also runs exchange 2003, I would like to ask if someone can let me know do I need to stage my upgrade path with Windows server 2008R2 before going to Server 2012R2? I will also be going to Exchange 2010 before I go to Exchange 2013 as I understand this is the best practice and that there is no upgrade path from Exchange 2003>2013 without first going to 2010?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
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MacleanSystem EngineerCommented:
How many user/shared/room/resource mailboxes, do they use public folders?

if small you might be easier off simply building a clean 2013 environment, and export the PST's from 2003 (Use exmerge to export) then import the PST's to the new mailboxes using powershell (Need a workstation with Exchange 2013 tools deployed)

Naturally all access permissions etc have to be setup again for the new mailboxes.
This would in this scenario be faster than going from Exchange 2003 to 2007/2010/2013

However if you do wish to go the long path, I recommend utilizing the information provided on the below article which explains to the letter what your options are.

Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
I wouldn't recommend the PST method unless it is very small (sub 10 users). Anything over that and the disruption is huge. Faster is not always best. You have to look at the business requirements.
A double migration is very easy to do, particularly once you get off Exchange 2003. I can do one of those with zero downtime, you cannot say the same for the PST migration method.

If you can eliminate public folders at the Exchange 2010 stage, then you will make life a lot easier.
Otherwise you are correct that you cannot go straight from 2003 to 2013, the version leap is too large.

So migrate to Exchange 2010 (on a member server, not a domain controller), with the latest rollups and remove Exchange 2003.
Then introduce the new domain controllers, removing the 2003 servers. You need to do it that way because you have Exchange 2003 on a domain controller. You always remove Exchange from a domain controller, not the other way round.
Once complete, migrate to Exchange 2013.
No need to double migrate the domain controllers - Exchange 2010 can cope with Windows 2003 DCs quite happily.


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mfg1Author Commented:
Hi Thanks for the replies, I do really want to use exchange 2010 as the bridge server and then move to exchange 2013 afterwards, my other question is can I start building a 2012R2 DC and then a separate exchange 2010 server running server 2008R2(not DC) and still have the 2003 DC's running until I move everything off of them, this will essentially mean I have 2 old 2003 DC's 1 new 2012R2 DC and 1 interim exchange 2010 server running on windows server 2008R2.

I have already in the past gone from server 2003 and then upgraded the customer to server 2008R2 with exchange 2010 but just need to see if I can make the leap from a 2003 DC to a 2012R2 DC without an issues and still run the old 2 DC's running 2003 until I am ready to move everything over.
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
Windows 2012 R2 domain controllers are not supported with Exchange 2003.
Therefore you cannot introduce 2012 R2 domain controllers until you have removed Exchange 2003.

You need to it in the order I have listed.

mfg1Author Commented:
OK So I will have to keep everything as below.

2 old DC's (Windows Server 2003)
Add 1 new Windows Server 2008R2 DC
Build Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2008R2 (Not a DC)
Migrate exchange 2003 public folders and mailboxes etc to interim exchange 2010
Once everything is over decom 2003 DC's then start adding server 2012R2 DC's.

is that about right?
Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
"Add 1 new Windows Server 2008R2 DC"

That is unnecessary.

Exchange 2010 can use Windows 2003 domain controllers.
Therefore I would just build a new Windows 2008 R2 member server, install Exchange 2010 on to it. Migrate everything off the Windows 2003/Exchange 2003 server and remove Exchange 2003.
Then install your Windows 2012 R2 domain controllers. After making them global catalogs, demote the former Exchange server DC to a member server and reboot the Exchange 2010 server.

Then continue as before.

mfg1Author Commented:
OK so its exchange 2003 that is stopping me adding the 2012R2 DC's? not server 2003?
Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:

mfg1Author Commented:
You are the man Simon, I appreciate your help and time, this will save me a couple of server builds and let me get the project done a lot faster, full points to you!
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