Advice on rip and replace of Exchange

Have a small environment (<15 mailboxes).  NEED to replace an aging Exchange 2010 server with Exchange 2013.  Problem is E2K10 box is RTM - no service packs, updates, etc.  Have tried in vain for hours to patch / update but I keep getting caught on pre-reqs, some of which don't even seem to be available for download/install anymore.

Seems best option is to backup/export mailboxes, public contacts, etc. and "uninstall" Exchange 2010.  This, in theory, will clean up / remove Exchange from AD, allowing for clean installation of a new Exchange 2013 system.  Downtime not a huge factor as will be done on weekend and have email queue on spam filter provider to hold messages while down.

Seeking advice / lessons learned / etc.
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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
You are correct based on the method. Exporting the mailboxes will be the only method here.

Make sure that you have assigned your account use the following command below...
New-ManagementRoleAssignment –Role "Mailbox Import Export" –User username

Open in new window

You can then use the New-MailboxExportRequest to export all of the mailbox items from the Exchange severs.

Once you have done this you can the decommission the Exchange server, introduce the new Exchange 2013 server. Create the mailboxes and use the New-MailboxImportRequest. You will also need to make sure that you run the above command again on the Exchange 2013 server.


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mlmslexAuthor Commented:
Thanks Will.  From my understanding, I won't even be able to build (begin installing, patching) Exchange 2013 on my new server until I get this Exchange 2010 server out of my environment.
Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
That is correct. You need to be at Exchange SP3 before you can introduce Exchange 2013 in your environment. So with your situation, it is out of the question.

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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
The other option I would consider is standing up a temporary new server. Install Windows 2008 R2 SP1 on to it and patch. Then install Exchange 2010 SP3 on to that server, along with the required rollup.
Do a standard move mailbox and replicate public folders to that server, then remove the old server.
You can then introduce Exchange 2013.

I try to avoid where possible the PST export method, simply because of the huge disruption it causes, even for a small number of users.

Although I have brought RTM up to SP3 in the past, even with requirement downloads. You just have to do it methodically. Microsoft Update first, reboot, then attempt the service pack.

Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
I try to avoid where possible the PST export method, simply because of the huge disruption it causes, even for a small number of users.

In this situation, you have only got 15 mailboxes. Decommissioning Exchange 2010 and spinning up a new Exchange 2013 server would not take long at all. You could have all of this work completed in 1 day over the weekend, if planned properly.

Creating an entirely new Exchange 2010 server would be overkill IMO for this situation.

Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
"You could have all of this work completed in 1 day over the weekend, if planned properly"

It just the work that causes the disruption in my experience.
It is the aftermath.

All the permission changes, email addresses etc.
Who had permission to what folder/mailbox.
A lot of that is lost because you have removed Exchange.

Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
I would completely agree with a  large environment, but with something this small it isn't worth the time IMO. I guess it really comes down to the business, and how they want to approach this.

There is always more then one way of doing things just a matter of pros/cons based on the company's requirements.

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