Exchange 2007 SP3 RU 13, Moving FSMO roles to Windows 2012 R2 DC's and decommission Windows 2003 DC's.

My research suggests this is possible but I wanted to throw it out there for those that can confirm this in real world use scenarios.

I have Windows 2003 R2 SP2 DC's, 1 Windows 2008 R2 SP1 DC and 2 Windows 2012 R2 DC's.
The Domain Functional Level is Windows Server 2003.  
I am currently running Exchange 2007 SP3 RU13 on separate non-DC servers.

Before I upgrade Exchange from 2007 to Exchange 2013 I would like to move the FSMO roles from the Windows 2003 DC's over the Windows 2012 R2 DC's then decommission the Windows 2003 DC's keeping the Domain Functional Level at Windows Server 2003.
Does anyone see any issues with this so far? Should I move the FSMO roles over to the Windows 2008 DC instead?

Also if someone can confirm that these steps are best practice....
1. After the above is complete I will install Exchange 2013 onto a Windows 2012 R2 Server
2. Move everything over from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013
3. Decommission the last of the Windows 2003 servers that Exchange 2007 was running on.
4. Bump the Domain Functional Level up to Windows 2008 R2 SP1
5. Decommission the Windows 2008 R2 SP1 DC
5. Bump up the Domain Functional Level to Windows 2012 R2

Thank you in advance for your comments!
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preshomesAsked:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I'd probably skip bumping the functional level to 2008 R2. That's just more change and more waiting to verify replication. Keep it at 2003. Remove the 2008 R2 server. Then go strata to that functional level.
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arnoldCommented:
You should transition to 2012.
Make sure dcdiag is clean and there are no replication issues before proceeding.

Transfer of FSMO roles should not affect exchange's functionality.  The decommissioning of the 2003 DC after that should  not affect exchange, one thing you must make sure on each server deals with which name servers it points to for name service/DNS. Often that is the part that gets overlooked. Making sure the name servers point to the 2012 servers since the 2008 are going away.  Make sure the DHCP scope options also include this change.  If you have multiple VLAns, make sure firewalls/access rules are setup to allow the access to the DNS servers.


You can skip step 4 as it is a temporary:transient decom tge 2008 before raising the  domain/functional to 2012 native.
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Blake LongEngineerCommented:
In my experience it is best to move roles to a 2008 r2 server before moving them to a 2012 r2 server. It is a few extra steps, but I have had fewer problems doing it that way. As far as the functional level there is no reason to go to 2008 r2 before 2012 r2. Other than that your steps appear to be right on the money. It is always best to take your time when migrating off of old servers. My last step before decommissioning a server is to either turn it off or unplug the network cable for a day or so and let any issues shake out before completely decommissioning it. It is easy to plug a network cable in or push a power button, but its not easy to recover from a premature dcpromo.
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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
Does anyone see any issues with this so far? Should I move the FSMO roles over to the Windows 2008 DC instead?
FSMO roles should be on the DC that has the most resources (cpu/ram) to handle the additonal roles as this puts more overhead on this DC.

Also just to add to your steps you need to make sure you also have the following done as well...
- make sure your clients (DHCP) and servers are pointing to your 2012R2 DC's for DNS (so that when you decommission your other DC's they they are pointing to a DC that will still be online)
- When you transfer the FSMO roles you will need to set the PDCe role as the external time source server as well
- Post steps would be to configure your Sysvol to use DFS-R for sysvol replication

As for the raising the functional level do it after all of the changes are completed.

Will.
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preshomesAuthor Commented:
I have already moved and configured DHCP to include the new DC's and I have already updated servers and devices with static addresses to point to the new DC's for DNS.

The Windows 2012 R2 DC is a Hyper-V VM where as the Windows 2008 R2 server is not.  The VM is currently setup comparable to the Windows 2008 although the processer is faster than the Window 2008 Server.  I just wasn't sure if there was a best practice.  I personally would like to move them directly to the Windows 2012 DC (VM).

Will S. - Have you worked much with a Windows 2012 DC that is also a VM?  I have disabled the Time Synchronization in Integration Services and assume after moving the FSMO roles and setting the PDC on this machine as the external time source that servers will start looking at this server now for the time versus the old decommissioned Win 2003 DC PDC?
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arnoldCommented:
The point will made deals with making sure the master DC has an external source to synchronize to otherwise, your internal will shift with the PDC.
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preshomesAuthor Commented:
arnold - Understood...Thanks!
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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
Have you worked much with a Windows 2012 DC that is also a VM?  I have disabled the Time Synchronization in Integration Services and assume after moving the FSMO roles and setting the PDC on this machine as the external time source that servers will start looking at this server now for the time versus the old decommissioned Win 2003 DC PDC?

That is correct. Depending on how you configure your clients for pointing to the time source is up to you. Typically it is recommended to use Group Policy and point all of your clients to the PDC. However i personally like to just use the hierical method when pointing clients to the time sources.

Will.
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preshomesAuthor Commented:
Thank you everyone for your comments! It is appreciated.
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