Weighty Decision in an Exchange/Windows Upgrade
Upgrading from Windows NT 4.0/Exchange 5.5 to Windows Server 2003/Exchange 2003? Simplify your decisionmaking and choose the ADC method.
- By Bill Boswell
- November 25, 2003
I'm the engineer/administrator for a
small, 10-person shop. We're running NT 4.0 (with the latest service packs,
etc.) and Exchange 5.5. The "shop" is a non-profit organization
and has little money. Our current implementation uses a single server
which houses both the NT domain and the Exchange 5.5 database.
We want to move to Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition, but I'm told
that you can longer use a single Windows 2000/2003 server to be both the
domain controller and the Exchange 2000/2003 server. Is this true? If
it is true, then we're forced to either shell out the dollars for two
servers (one to host the domain and one to host Exchange) or go back to
Can you please comment?
Robin: You can indeed run Exchange 2000 or 2003 on a Windows
2000 domain controller. The problem will be getting from Point A to Point
B. Here's one way to do it:
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Bring up a desktop-class machine running NT 4.0 and Exchange 5.5. Transfer
all your mailboxes and connectors to the temp machine, then remove Exchange
from the PDC. (Test that users can find the new server in Outlook. The
most common cause for failure is a WINS configuration problem.)
Now do an in-place upgrade of the PDC to Windows Server 2003, which takes
the content of the SAM and imports it into Active Directory. If this is
an old machine, you might want to consider buying new hardware and doing
a leapfrog upgrade. Install NT 4.0 on the new machine, make it a BDC,
promote it to PDC, then do the in-place upgrade to Windows 2003.
Here's where life gets interesting. You have a couple of choices for setting
up your Exchange migration:
- You can install the ADC on the new Windows 2003 DC, then sync recipient
properties between the Exchange directory service and Active Directory
then install Exchange 2003 on the Windows 2003 DC. (Whew, that's a BOA—Boatload
of Acronyms!) Migrate mailboxes and connectors from the temp Exchange
server, then decommission the temp machine.
- You can install Exchange 2003 on the Windows 2003 DC and make a new
organization, then spend an afternoon using Exmerge to dump everyone's
mailbox to flat files and import the .PST files into the users' new
Frankly, both of these have their advantages. If you were me, I'd use
the ADC method because Exchange 2003 makes it very simple to configure.
Hope this helps.
In the "Small Correction Dept..."
week's column, I wrote that you could run a shared disk cluster
on Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. This is not the case. You must
have either Enterprise or Datacenter Edition to run a shared disk cluster.
Some of you caught it the error and quickly wrote back; the sentence
has since been corrected. Sorry for the error.
Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.