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Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

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  • Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

    My current Exchange 2003 server has outgrown it's hardware and is showing signs of age. I want to put it on new hardware before it fails (no indication it will fail but don't want to take the chance).

    Domain is Windows 2003 Native with two DCs, both of which are also GCs.

    This is the first and only Exchange 2003 server in my domain.

    I have seen various articles on rebuilding on different hardware, but they all seem to assume you have more than one Exchange box.

    Can anyone give me any advice please on how to go about this.

    I have considered getting another box in on loan to build a second (temporary) Exchange server before rebuilding the first, but I don't think this is going to be possible in the timeframes I have (I have a window coming up where I can down the server without disruption to users).

    Thank you in advance

  • #2
    Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

    IMHO, this is the best way to do it. I've used this method several times with no problems.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l...EXCHG.65).aspx

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

      Thanks

      Am I being a little dumb here but this procedure will restore my information
      stores (private and public) to a new server of the same name. What about
      other settings? Like those for the Mesaage Delivery, Recipient Policies,
      RUS, Connectors etc. And all the settings associated with the actual
      Server in the Admin Group?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

        Those settings are all in the AD database so you will not lose any of it. This is the MS recommended method for moving Exchange to new hardware and keeping the same name. Follow the instructions to the letter and you will be in good shape. As I said, I've used this method a number of times and have had no problems.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

          Thanks for the reply.

          I will follow that and hopefully will not run into any issues. Going to do it next weekend.

          The article doesn't mention whether the backup of the databases should be online or offline. Does it even matter?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

            Personally I trust an offline backup for this procedure more than an online backup. In fact, I recommend to do a full backup and then shut down the Exchange services and copy the DB files to network storage. When you get the new machine online and are ready to restore the DB's, just copy the files to the new server. This is usually quicker than performing a restore.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

              I wouldn't even consider the backup/restore method.

              The risk is too high for zero gain.

              If you are going to new hardware then there is only one method.

              Swing.

              It is risk free. At no point is your data at risk, and you can reverse it at any point, even after you have started to move data.

              http://www.amset.info/exchange/migration.asp

              With backup restore you are putting your data at risk of the data being transferred correctly, you have a period of downtime while the data is moved.

              The only people who do backup/restore are those who don't know about swing, or prefer to scare their customer and tell them it is high risk, will involve downtime, weekend work etc etc so that they can send them a large bill.

              I have done a swing migration completely in production hours. I have done swing in 24/7 shops, I have done swing where the cost of downtime is UKú20k an hour with zero downtime.

              While I appreciate that Joe has used the backup/restore method, it is not the only method, I would go as far as to say it is not the best method, and you have to consider whether the risks are worth it.

              How much is your email worth?
              Can you survive an extended period of downtime?
              Could you rebuild your domain if required? Could you carry out a full DR of your domain controllers and domain if required?

              That may sound alarmist, but that is the real risks of backup/restore. Get it wrong and you have to start restoring other data.

              Swing is risk free.

              Simon.
              --
              Simon Butler
              Exchange MVP

              Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
              More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
              Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
              In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

              Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

                Thanks all

                Unfortunately Sembee I don't have spare hardware to perform swing migration.

                Luckily I have a full weekend of planned downtime when I can take the box out and do the work with no disruption to users so this is not too much a worry for me.

                I will do a full online backup the night before as usual and after stopping all services on the morning of the work I will copy databases off (more than 1 copy obviously!).

                I guess following the MS article on rebuilding the box on new hardware and keeping the same name, and then using these offline copies of the databases for when I mount the stores, I should be OK.

                If the worst comes to the worst, I still have my old box - it will just be shut down.

                Yes there are a lot of risks, but I simply don't have the resources to do it any other way I'm afraid.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

                  You have stated in your original post that you are going to new hardware.
                  Swing does not require a third machine unless you want to retain the original machine name. However there is almost no reason why you need to keep the original machine name - if you have one then post what it is.

                  Simon.
                  --
                  Simon Butler
                  Exchange MVP

                  Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                  More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                  Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                  In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                  Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

                    Original machine is at risk of failure due to age of components and is getting very slow and sluggish.

                    I wish to keep the same computer name because to do a swing (as I understand it) I would have to keep both boxes online, at least until my users had logged on for the first time after the swing otherwise they wouln not automatically find the new server name.

                    Unfortunately the nature of our user base means that many users will not log in for several weeks at a time and I simply do not want to keep both boxes running for this long.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

                      Not a problem.
                      Swing as normal. Once you have all the data moved and most of the users have been moved, remove the old server in the usual way.
                      Once Exchange has been removed, drop the machine from the domain and then shut it down.

                      You then but a NETBIOS alias in to the new machine, and change all DNS entries for the old machine name to point to the new one. The Outlook clients will then update themselves.

                      However, even if the machine is in danger of failure, I personally would swing, then leave it running. If it doesn't host any information then it does no harm to leave it going until it does actually fail. Removing a failed Exchange server is quite straight forward using a few tricks and a virtual machine and it will ensure that everything works as designed.

                      Where there is a move to new piece of hardware, no one has given me a good reason why they cannot use the swing migration method.

                      Simon.
                      --
                      Simon Butler
                      Exchange MVP

                      Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                      More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                      Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                      In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                      Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Rebuilding First and Only Exchange 2003 Server on New Hardware

                        Netbios Alias creation:


                        HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\LanmanServer\Parameters

                        Add Value: OptionalNames REG_SZ String: "Alias"

                        If you make it a type REG_MULTI_SZ, you can add multiple aliases



                        You MUST MUST have the original machine name off the network, gone completely (ie removed from the domain etc) before you make this change.

                        Simon.
                        --
                        Simon Butler
                        Exchange MVP

                        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

                        Comment

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