Currently I’m involved in and generally lead a large-scale infrastructure upgrade project for one of our customers.
Not disclosing any particular names, I’ll bring in a pattern and tactics we implemented.
(However, our MeetUp co-participants, and also Wednesday Evening meetings friends already heard some technical details on the project, and we’re gonna discuss more of details next time. Anybody wishing to participate in those – You are welcome to join us.)
So the ground starting picture was following:
- Windows 2003 AD Domain,
- 3 Exchange 2010 SP1, two pairs of Mailbox databases/Public Folders databases instances.
- 1 Exchange 2003 with a Public Folders database and a couple of system mailboxes.
- Exchange 2010 was recently published with IIS ARR (together with Lync Server 2013 I’ve deployed there just before the last Christmas)
The goal was to perform the entire server infrastructure to Windows Server 2012 and Exchange 2013. This pretty basic-looking plan curtains a whole bunch of tiny works to do, while keeping the infrastructure up and running for daily operations.
The upgrade path I’ve designed and implemented was this:
- Since the Exchange 2003 is incompatible with 2013 in the same Organization – First, we had migrated all the Public Folders data, system mailboxes and RUS (Recipient Update Service) to Exchange 2010 servers. Remember to check mail-enabled Public Folders, often those lose their recipient attributes after being migrated from 2003 to 2010; regular remedy: Verify Alias, – mail-disable, – mail-enable again.
- After well-known hassle with properly-uninstallable Exchange 2003 databases – it was successfully removed from the Exchange Organization finally. Organization check list verification run.
- Now we had more or less clean Exchange 2010 environment, which should be prepared for Windows Server 2012 R2. So the Exchange Servers were updated to SP3 and Update Rollup 5
- Now it’s the time to deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 for Domain Controllers and Exchange Server hosts. Total count was 8 new Windows Server 2012 R2 Domain Controllers for 4 AD Sites, in replacement for chaotic and overloaded 11 old Windows 2003 DCs.
- Deploying 2 new Exchange Server 2013 SP1 on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 – Client Access + Mailbox Server role with DAG
- Deploying 2 more Exchange 2013 SP1/Windows 2012 R2 for Edge Transport role instances, firing EdgeSubscription, setting up all the necessary SMTP connectors.
- Now the Client Access Services publishing part comes. Here we decided to implement Web Application Proxy system, – two more Windows Server 2012 R2 servers, one for WAP and another for ADFS 3.0.
- Thereafter, we could migrate all mailboxes data from 2010 to Exchange 2013 DAG cluster.
- Public Folders were exported from Exchange 2010 and re-imported in form of Shared Mailboxes to Exchange 2013.
- Finally, there is a quarantine stage, when Exchange 2013 servers carry on all the system, and 2010s are on hold for a while, before being uninstalled from the Exchange organization.
While there is not much of supernatural in this project, I still wanted to show up that there is nothing to be feared or doubted of new servers. This example project clearly demonstrates that some skillful hands (I’m sure you have those) can carry on the entire organization with newest Exchange Server 2013 SP1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 without even average-size troubles.
I will describe some technical implementation steps more deeply at our closest upcoming Wednesday Evening meeting, but even if you can’t participate in this by a reasons, but still are interested on implementing this at yours – you can shoot your questions down here.