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#29603 13-Jan-2009 10:56
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Howdy IT pros!

I've been considering the options on how to perform an upgrade from 2003 to 2008 with the least amount of pain possible, and I'd like some other points of view if what I found makes sense.

We have a 30+ users setup on a single PDC that also runs Exchange 2003. The idea is to buy a new server capable of virtualizing two machines and load Server 2008 onto it. The upgrade path looks like this:

a) Install Server 2008 on new server, together with Hyper-V and the second licence as a VM.b) Join the VM to the old domain as BDC, let it replicate.c) Install Exchange 2007 on VM (possibly a different one), migrate mailboxes, etc.d) Turn off old server for a week, test everything, ensure it's all good.e) Turn on old server, decommision and then rename new server to match old server's name.

Does is seem valid? I'm a bit weary of the second step. Are there any easier ways of doing this?




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  #189158 13-Jan-2009 11:14
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Sounds like a reasonable approach testing with VM's.

Seperate VM's for Exchange and the new DC would make sense at long as the server is grunty enough.  30 users should be no problem with a modern/new server.

For step d) when you turn off the existing exchange 2003 server wouldn't you have to rename the vm exchange 2007 server immediately in order to have people start using it.  Unless you can apply a domain policy to change people's exchange server setting in outlook?

Renaming servers is always dicey.

Let us know how it goes.



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  #189160 13-Jan-2009 11:23
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I might go the separate approach and put Exchange on a different server (VM). Since most users are connecting to Exchange using a published subdomain with a valid certificate, it may just be a matter of re-requesting the certificate for the new server and pointing it to the right box.
So it would be [MAIN SERVER - {VM1 - FILE SERVER} - {VM2 - EXCHANGE SERVER}] (great graphics!)

From my calculations, a quad-core HP DL380 G5 with 10Gb of RAM should be enough to run 2 x VMs with 4Gb RAM each, and still be good with the 2Gb RAM left. Disk space is not an issue as well, so hardware-wise I think I'm covered.




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  #189163 13-Jan-2009 11:38
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Good timing, will be doing this myself pretty soon too! Interesting reading.

How much do you think everything will set you back? Hardware/software/licensing?

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  #189613 14-Jan-2009 18:58
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While exchange loves RAM it really loves disk IO as well so if running on the same server I would probably recommend individual RAID arrays for the exchange VM to any other server instance.

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  #190635 19-Jan-2009 21:25
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OK the only thing wrong with your approach is that you cannot rename an exchange server, it is literally impossible, exchange will stop working if you try.

Once you migratre mailboxes to the new Exchange server there is no need to set clients up to use the new server, they will switch automagically once the mailbox has been moved.

other than that your plan looks pretty good, the only thing I would watch out for is demoting the old server from the domain, make sure you follow Microsofts migration guide and demote the old server properly, and if you have any errors, what ever you do, don't force demote the old server, you will see your work go down the crapper.

And finally, everyone should know this but I'm going to say it anyway, make sure you take a pre migration backup.

Good luck

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  #190636 19-Jan-2009 21:28
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Oh yeah, one more thing, anything database driven will run way better on RAID 10 than RAID 5, keep that in mind when speccing your new server

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  #190652 19-Jan-2009 22:14
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Make sure you check the cost of Windows Server Standard versus Windows Server Enterprise.  With enterprise you are entitled to run 4 virtual servers on top of the hyper-v (in case you were thinking about adding more).

As was pointed out already, set aside a Raid-1 specifically for your exchange server.  Further to that, use fixed size VHD files.   They will eat up space initially that you might not use but will give you much better performace.  Remember that you can also increase a fixed size VHD later if you want to, but you need to shut down the VM to do so.  Pass through disks will give you slightly better performance but you will lose the ability to snapshot which is valuable, epecially when applying service packs!

If you are going to run your DC as a virtual machine, don't join the base Hyper-V server to the domain unless you are planning on keeping the other DC.  Bad things happen when you cant log on to Hyper-V because it cant talk to the domain and you cant start the domain cause its hosted on Hyper-V :)  Leave the Hyper-V host as a standalone (non-domain) server.

I would probably suggest sticking 3 RAID-1 arrays in your new server - use one for Parent Partition (Hyper-V host) one for OS Disks and Pagefile Disks and one for Exchange Data/Logs.  I'd recommend that you dont use RAID-5 if you are only going to put in 3 disks as you will get reduced write performance which will impact your exchange server.

When I did my exchange migration I added the exchange 2007 server into the existing exchange 2003 organisation.  Once all the mailboxes were transferred to the new server I went through the MSFT instructions on deleting the last Exchange 2003 server and all went perfectly.  I didn't have a Windows 2008 domain at that stage.

As was pointed out earlier make sure you follow the instructions on removing the old domain controller.  You need to ensure that all the domain master, namiing master and schema master roles etc are transferred before you remove the old DC or, as was pointed out, you will be royally screwed!  Perhaps you could do a P2V (physical to virtual) conversion of your old DC once you have the new one running and keep it as a backup DC - make sure you turn it on once a month to sync if you do though.

One last thing: do you have an Enterprise Certification Authority installed on your existing DC?  (Certificate Server)  If so then you will need to do some extra work.  If you delete it and any files are encrypted you may lose those files.




 
 
 
 




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  #190713 20-Jan-2009 09:34
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Regs: Make sure you check the cost of Windows Server Standard versus Windows Server Enterprise.  With enterprise you are entitled to run 4 virtual servers on top of the hyper-v (in case you were thinking about adding more).


We'll be getting the Standard licence with the Microsoft Action Pack, so it will definitely be more cost effective to stick with it. If we need additional licences, then I'll consider just outright buying them (through our partner program, of course).
As was pointed out already, set aside a Raid-1 specifically for your exchange server.  Further to that, use fixed size VHD files.   They will eat up space initially that you might not use but will give you much better performace.  Remember that you can also increase a fixed size VHD later if you want to, but you need to shut down the VM to do so.  Pass through disks will give you slightly better performance but you will lose the ability to snapshot which is valuable, epecially when applying service packs!


Even for my own VMs in my lappy I use VHDs. Way better, as they don't fragment. Good point, though.

If you are going to run your DC as a virtual machine, don't join the base Hyper-V server to the domain unless you are planning on keeping the other DC.  Bad things happen when you cant log on to Hyper-V because it cant talk to the domain and you cant start the domain cause its hosted on Hyper-V :)  Leave the Hyper-V host as a standalone (non-domain) server.


Interesting. And makes a lot of sense, really. That's something they don't mention on any of the articles and docs I've read so far. Will keep that in mind.

I would probably suggest sticking 3 RAID-1 arrays in your new server - use one for Parent Partition (Hyper-V host) one for OS Disks and Pagefile Disks and one for Exchange Data/Logs.  I'd recommend that you dont use RAID-5 if you are only going to put in 3 disks as you will get reduced write performance which will impact your exchange server.

I initially budgeted for 4 x 250Gb disks on the server (hence RAID-5), but in your configuration I'd have to get an extra 4 at least just to start with.
The problem with RAID-1 is I cannot extend it if I need more space just by adding disks. Whereas with RAID-5 I can. Or am I wrong?

When I did my exchange migration I added the exchange 2007 server into the existing exchange 2003 organisation.  Once all the mailboxes were transferred to the new server I went through the MSFT instructions on deleting the last Exchange 2003 server and all went perfectly.  I didn't have a Windows 2008 domain at that stage.

As was pointed out earlier make sure you follow the instructions on removing the old domain controller.  You need to ensure that all the domain master, namiing master and schema master roles etc are transferred before you remove the old DC or, as was pointed out, you will be royally screwed!  Perhaps you could do a P2V (physical to virtual) conversion of your old DC once you have the new one running and keep it as a backup DC - make sure you turn it on once a month to sync if you do though.


I have been studying this bit, and it seems that, provided I follow MSs instructions, i shouldn't run into any issues. I will possibly demote this machine and turn it into a self-contained domain with Exchange on a separate branch (Melbourne), so BDC does not apply to this one. I plan to make my VOIP server a BDC, however.
Do you have more information on the P2V conversion? 

One last thing: do you have an Enterprise Certification Authority installed on your existing DC?  (Certificate Server)  If so then you will need to do some extra work.  If you delete it and any files are encrypted you may lose those files.


I have an ECA but I don't have any encrypted files. The ECA was just because the OWA server was using a self-signed certificate before.




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  #190715 20-Jan-2009 09:37
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Deimos: OK the only thing wrong with your approach is that you cannot rename an exchange server, it is literally impossible, exchange will stop working if you try.



Once you migratre mailboxes to the new Exchange server there is no need to set clients up to use the new server, they will switch automagically once the mailbox has been moved.



other than that your plan looks pretty good, the only thing I would watch out for is demoting the old server from the domain, make sure you follow Microsofts migration guide and demote the old server properly, and if you have any errors, what ever you do, don't force demote the old server, you will see your work go down the crapper.



And finally, everyone should know this but I'm going to say it anyway, make sure you take a pre migration backup.



Good luck

I won't be renaming the Exchange per-se, as it will be installed on a different computer.
The demoting is also being carefully studied.
The backup is a given! I'll also do some tests before on VMs.




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  #190719 20-Jan-2009 09:42
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gehenna: Good timing, will be doing this myself pretty soon too! Interesting reading.

How much do you think everything will set you back? Hardware/software/licensing?

Funny, I thought I had answered this before, but apparently the forum didn't get it.

Hardware - about $12K (GST inc.)
Software - a Microsoft Action Pack ($869)
Licensing - about 30 CALs (not sure yet)




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