How to Make a Smooth Microsoft Exchange Transition

What You Need to Consider before Upgrading

Rick Sabarese

With better integration in the Microsoft environment and an increase on storage, the reasons to implement the latest version of Exchange 2013 are plentiful. The latest version of Exchange offers data security, compliance, eDiscovery, mobile and BYOD devices use, and IT management.

Exchange 2013 and Microsoft Office 365 are incredibly easy to use, but getting there from Exchange 2003 can be difficult, but manageable. If you have been holding out on making the move, your transition will be twofold in order to upgrade to the latest versions. The migration is less problematic if transitioning from 2007, and simpler than ever if transitioning from Exchange 2010.

If migrating from Exchange 2003, you need to be aware of these key considerations when planning and implementing an Exchange migration.

  • Make sure you first have a clear understanding of the software and hardware requirements for building a messaging system.
  • Because there is no direct migration path from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013, you will first need to upgrade to Exchange 2010.
  • You cannot perform an in-place upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010, so you’ll need to install a new Exchange 2010 server.
  • There could be some connection issues between Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2003.
  • If you have too many mailboxes and can’t move them all from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 in the downtime, you will need to create a legacy host name associated with your Exchange 2003 infrastructure.

If you already made the transition and are running Exchange 2007, the move is a little easier because there is an indefinite period of time where Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2013 will coexist within the organization. Begin with deploying Exchange 2013 as a new environment. Work through configurations for certificates, virtual directories, and address books, and then move client access and folders. After you’ve completed all migrations, you can decommission Exchange 2007.

Still, you want to keep these concerns in mind:

  • Creating a test environment will help you to understand the deployment process and reduce end-user downtime during migration.
  • You might need to configure virtual directories, so read the recommended steps for planning and deployment.
  • Remember to move mailboxes and public folder data from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013.
  • Outlook 2007 must run service pack 3 and the most recent update.
  • Forms based authentication (FBAs) may cause log-in problems during the coexisting period.

Remember what I said before – Exchange 2013 and Microsoft Office 365 are incredibly easy to use, and getting there from Exchange 2003 can be difficult, but manageable. Give us a call, hope my insight helped simplify your migration process, or at least get you started.