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Steps Upgrading Server 2003 & Exchange 2003 to Server 2012 & Exchange 2016

Posted on 2016-08-03
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Last Modified: 2016-08-11
We currently have 3 servers.  The 1st one is a 2003 PDC and hosts all of our files.  The 2nd is our 2003 BDC and has Exchange 2003 on it. The 3rd one is our 2003 Server that runs a smtp relay and GFI Mail Essentials.  We are replacing the Exchange Server with one running 2012 and Exchange 2016.  I planned on just using exmerge to export our 60 mailboxes to a pst file.  

I just wanted to ask what is the best way to approach this or see if anyone else did something similar and had any problems.
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Question by:sthomas76
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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41740909
You are in for pain. Exmerge is antiquated and has numerous known issues. You won't get exchange 2016 to install at all until all traces of exchange 2003 are gone. So you'll have to export. Uninstall. Interrupt mail delivery. Install. Try to import. And if anything goes wrong... no way back.

As an aside, pet peeve moment..... there is no such thing as PDC and BDC in 20XX servers. That was NT3/4 era terminology. You'll only add confusion when discussing or searching or asking for help.

If it were me, i'd hire a 3rd party migration service so you don't have the high data risk, unsupported tools, service interruption issues.

Or, alternatively, if you want to (theoretically) save a few bucks, introduce an interim exchange 2010 server so native mailbox moves can be done, which (again, bypasses exmerge, and virtually eliminates data risk and service interruption.

Not that backups should be skimped on during every step regardless.
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Author Comment

by:sthomas76
ID: 41740924
Well do you have to any 3rd party migration service providers that you would recommend?
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41740997
Given the complexity and lack of modernity you may be better off trying exporting with ExMerge but TEST all exports to confirm they worked successfully) and starting from scratch...   the network is using 13 year old technology.... it's really hard upgrading 13 year old technology.
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Accepted Solution

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Todd Nelson earned 250 total points
ID: 41741614
Here is my recommendation of how I feel it should be done--at a high level--and avoid the headache of a PST migration.

1) Install Exchange 2010 on a Windows 2008 R2 member server (non-DC) and migrate from Exchange 2003.
2) Decommission Exchange 2003.
3) Install new servers with Windows 2012 R2 and promote to DCs.
4) Migrate/transfer DNS, DHCP, FSMO roles, etc. to new DC(s).
5) Decommission Windows 2003 DC(s).
6) Raise forest functional level to Windows Server 2008 at minimum (required for Exchange 2016).
7) Upgrade Office clients to Office 2010 with latest SP and updates or newer (if you don't already have Office 2010 installed because older clients will not connect to Exchange 2016).
8) Install Exchange 2016 on a Windows 2012 R2 member server and migrate from Exchange 2010.
9) Decommission Exchange 2010.

You can contact PC Connection to perform if you need help with your project.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Tej Pratap Shukla ~Dexter
ID: 41741736
Hi,
There are many third party tools which you can use to export. You can get support facility too with these tools. I am just mentioning some Mailbox Export Tool which will be good for work and will be in your budget too.
First download its demo version and try to export some data. If you think that it is good then go for purchasing the license.
1. SysTools Exchange Export (User based license is available)
2. Recovery Tools for Exchange Server

Hope these tools would help you.
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LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:Kevin k
Kevin k earned 250 total points
ID: 41742416
I hope the above suggestions clarifies your concern to accomplish this task.

However, Exmerge has a 2gb limit, you could split the pst. You need to first give the account running exmerge full rights to the mailbox you want to export, then run exmerge.exe and export the mailbox to a PST file. Excellent explanation here: http://www.petri.co.il/brick_level_backup_of_mailboxes_by_using_exmerge.htm

If the users are already using Outlook with the Exchange portion of SBS you can simply export to PST by going to File then Import.

Moreover, I would like to add few more third party tools which you can use to perform export and import mailboxes between exchange server. Most have free trial version available to try:

Lepide

Codetwo

Kernel

Lucid8

Hope this helps!
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