Moving from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013

we are perfoming a double-hop migration from Exc 2003 to Exc 2010 to Exc 2013.

Current setup:
Location 1: Exchange 2003 on-premise and 2003 DC on-premise.  Exchange 2003 DB is 200GB. Bandwith: 2/2Mbps.
Location 2: Head Quarters - bandwidth: T1
Location 3: New DC (2012 r2) and future Exc 2013 server installed at a COLO.
All 3 locations are interconnected via MPLS/VPNs. They can all talk to each other.

Since we have to do a double-hop migration and the bandwidth is terrible at the office where they physical 2003 exc server is setup, we need to find a solution to migrate smoothly.

My questions:
Would it make more sense to export PST's and import PST's into users' Outlook clients (or server if there is a way).  
If we had to do it this way, would we be able to migrate exchange to the new server WITHOUT the user's databases?  In other words, can they have temporary blank mailboxes meanwhile we import PST's into their accounts locally at Location 2 or 3?

Or should we setup something called legacy server so 2003 and 2010 can co-exist for a while until the migration completes.  Ran some calculations and could take up to 10-15 days at full bandwith.  So that really means 30 days to play it safe.

I really would prefer to do more work upfront and be done with it, then have to wait weeks for it to migrate mailboxes over the WAN.

Thoughts? Ideas?
Anthony H.Asked:
Who is Participating?
 
Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
What you can use to export the mailboxes offline is Kernel Data Recovery For Exchange Server. This will allow you to extract all mailboxes to individual PST's. You are not required to use Exchange to do this, as this program can read the EDB file offline. You simply install the program on a workstation or a member server, point to the EDB file (backup) and then export the PST's.

From there you can then just do a Dial-Tone restore and have the users move the mail items from their PST back into there Outlook client gradually (so it does not kill the VPN pipe).

Kernel Data Recovery Exchange Server
http://www.nucleustechnologies.com/Exchange-Server-Data-Recovery.html

Will.
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Zacharia KurianAdministrator- Data Center & NetworkCommented:
Have you thought of doing it in an easy way using a third party tool? If so have a look on the below link.

http://www.codetwo.com/exchange-migration/

Zac.
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MAS (MVE)EE Solution GuideCommented:
Agree with Zac.
If you have a plan to buy a 3rd party tool it is a good option for you.

If you dont want to buy such. I would prefer use the database portability of Exchange2010/2013 to mount the database.
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ktaczalaCommented:
Can't do a migration and not use the existing mailbox database,  If you export PSTs how are you going to get them to Colorado?  Importing them after the migration at the users location may take just as long.
Here's a link to import directly into exchange from the EMS.
https://www.simple-talk.com/sysadmin/exchange/importing-psts-into-exchange-2010,-the-easy-way/

I would suggest export PSTs (Make Backups) on Friday, have users delete all email content, overnight PSTs to Colorado site. Import when possible during migration.
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Vincent BurtonCommented:
Please have a look on this informative resource: http://msexchangeguru.com/2013/05/10/exchange2013-migration/

Additionally, consider Exchange Server Deployment Assistant which ask you some questions and then gives you step-wise instructions: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn756393.aspx

Hope it helps you!
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Anthony H.Author Commented:
Will,

Could you please explain the entire process?

Do I need to delete all mailbox contents?
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Just use emerge for exporting data from exchange 2003. Once data exported, empty user mailbox and move to exchange 2010 server in new data centre. Ship the exported data to new data centre, import pst back into user mailbox. This way you have least downtime and no need to spend money on any 3rd party tool. Later you can move them to 2013. That doesn't require any downtime for user. Keep in mind to backup before and after merging the data, in case any pst is corrupted you can restore back easy.

Another option, move 2003 physical to new data centre change the ip and bring it online. Rest follow the migration process.
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Anthony H.Author Commented:
Will ExMerge work on 2010 to import the PSTs?
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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
Sorry for the delay this question got lost in the giant list of other notifications.

Will ExMerge work on 2010 to import the PSTs?
Once you have the PST's you just need to use New-MailboxImportRequest cmdlet to import the PST's into the mailbox.

Also if you look at the ExMerge requirements it is only supported on 2000/2003.'http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=2743


Will.
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Anthony H.Author Commented:
What if i create a virtual of the old exch 2003 and bring it up at the colocation? If both servers are on the same switch, I could do the migraiton from 2003 to 2010 to 2013 faster with minimal downtime...

any feedback on this approach?
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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
Using Kernel Data Recovery for Exchange Server you do not even require an Exchange 2003 to be brought up. All you need to have is the EDB file and you use the software to extract the mailboxes from the EDB file.

This way you could export all of the required mailboxes to PST at the site and then just do an import once you have the PST files.

Will.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
If you can bring your old Exchange server back up. That would be the best way to move mailbox to 2013. However, if you already installed Exchange 2013 server in your Domain, then  you cannot install Exchange 2003 again. If not installed, then bring your Exchange 2003 back and move everything to 2010. Decom Exchange 2003 and installed 2013 and perform rest of the migration.
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Anthony H.Author Commented:
what do you mean bring back up? as a virtual server at the colocation?
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
What is the current state for Exchange 2003? Is that still running or not?
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Anthony H.Author Commented:
Yes, it's working fine and I can create a VHD.
my idea is to create the VHD, overnight it to the colo, bring it back online at the colo (before doing so, unplug physical server in Tx), get it in a working state on the WAN, and then focus on the migration from 2003 to 2010.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
I did something similar long back, where we need to migrate or move mailbox from oil rig server and bandwidth was not good. Let me get details and let you know tomorrow.
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Anthony H.Author Commented:
Thanks Amit
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
What we did in our case. So, we use VMware synchronization feature. We synchronized the server from Oil Rig to our datacenter. Once Sync was over, we shutdown the oil rig server. Change IP etc on server in data-center and brought into the environment.  Then we proceed with mailbox move and other migration activities. However, i will still suggest you to use suggestion i gave first.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/Q_28668522.html#a40769736

If I am in  your place, i will just extract everything to PST, remove all data from user mailbox and move the empty mailbox to new server. later merge the data. This solution has not downtime for user and no server risk. Rest you can review and take best route you think.
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Anthony H.Author Commented:
Update:

So I created a VM of the server in Texas, shipped it to Colocation in Irvine, CA.
I was able to create a VM on Hyper-V and bring up the old server online (2003) to do the migration on the local LAN.

However, the exchange services will not start (store, sys attendant, mta stacks...).  I purposely did NOT enable the virtual Network adapater.  Is this happening because it's not on the network/disabled nic or because it can't find active directory due to the lack of network connectivity?
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