Q

What to know before you upgrade to Exchange 2013

If you're planning to migrate from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013, preparation is the key to success.

We're currently running Exchange 2007 SP2 and plan to upgrade to Exchange 2013 later this year or early next year. What are some things I should be aware of? It's a big jump from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013, but timing is everything. At this point -- with the Exchange 2013 CU2 release and the subsequent Exchange 2013 SP1 release -- it's possible to migrate to 2013 from 2007 and 2010. There are many facets to a migration, so we'll...

tackle the top items to get you off on the right foot.

Active Directory

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Your global catalog, Schema Master and at least one domain controller (DC) must be running Windows 2003 SP1 or higher, and the Domain and Forest functional levels need to be 2003 Mode or higher (preferably x64). If you plan to upgrade your DCs as part of your upgrade to Exchange 2013 from Exchange 2007, it's best to do that prior to your migration. Adding, removing or even just reconfiguring DCs during an Exchange migration can lead to unpredictable behavior and deployment problems. Like previous versions of Exchange, you'll need a schema update. Make sure to allow adequate time for the updates to replicate.

Exchange servers

Microsoft recommends that Exchange 2007 SP2 servers are updated to SP3 with Rollup 13. Your Exchange 2013 servers can run on Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 or higher, but they need to be at Exchange 2013 SP1 to run on Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher. There are a number of architecture changes to plan for as well. See What's New in Exchange 2013 and click on "Exchange 2013 architecture" to view the changes.

Migration process

Historically, learning how to upgrade or migrate Exchange happened by reading a number of articles and blogs and deriving your own process. You won't need to do this if you use the Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment Assistant. The wizard will compile the necessary documentation to develop a successful migration plan. Before you run the tool, be prepared to answer questions about your infrastructure preferences.

Helpful resources

You should also use these resources to help you with your upgrade to Exchange 2013 from Exchange 2007.

About the author:
Richard Luckett is a consultant and instructor specializing in messaging and unified communications. He's been a certified professional with Microsoft since 1996 and has 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. He's a Microsoft Certified Trainer with more than 15 years of training experience with the Microsoft product line and received the Exchange MVP award in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He's also an expert in deploying and integrating Exchange Server and Lync Server. He leads the Microsoft training and consulting practice at LITSG.

This was first published in May 2014
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