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Exchange 2013 CU1 gives green light to coexistence, migrations

Matt Gervais

IT pros can finally migrate from Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 to Exchange Server 2013 with the release of cumulative update 1.

It was originally thought that only Exchange 2010 SP3

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and Exchange 2007 SP3 rollup 10 were required for coexistence with Exchange 2013. However, Microsoft announced that the first cumulative update (CU) for Exchange 2013 would also be necessary.

The Exchange team announced a move from rollup updates to cumulative updates in February 2013.

With Exchange 2013 CU1 now available, shops can begin their coexistence scenarios before completely migrating to Exchange 2013. But there are several important aspects to be aware of.

Exchange 2013 upgrade requirements

Before upgrading to Exchange 2013 CU1, admins must update their Active Directory schema.

"The Active Directory prep deserves some careful deliberation," said Rob Sanfilippo an analyst with Kirkland, Washington-based Directions on Microsoft. "There are several steps you'll need to take depending on your complexity… it's definitely something that should be studied."

Additionally, upon deployment of an Exchange 2013 mailbox server, a new default Offline Address Book (OAB) is created. This might seem a bit irritating to some, but one IT pro offered that a little preparation goes a long way.

"To mitigate any issues, select an OAB for your users before deploying [Exchange] 2013 and you'll be fine," said Jeff Guillet, an Exchange MVP, MCM and principal systems architect with ExtraTeam, an IT solutions provider in Pleasanton, Calif.

While dealing with Office 365 and Exchange Online, the Exchange team learned that mailbox usage statistics were not being accurately reported. Understanding specific mailbox usage and size is critical when supporting cloud deployments, so the team fixed this to reflect exactly how much space Exchange 2013 on-premises mailboxes consume.

This means Exchange mailboxes will appear larger after a migration to Exchange 2013 CU1.

"This is a top-level concern and could be disruptive if you already have users close to their limits," said Sanfilippo. "Your users probably aren't going to change their usage, so make sure to raise quotas and check your settings."

Exchange 2013 CU1: Furthering Microsoft's 'better together' and cloud stories

Now that companies are free to migrate to Exchange 2013, they should be able to take advantage of the product's new features and enhancements -- depending on their setup.

Many new features in Exchange 2013 aren't enabled unless other Wave 15 products are installed as well. 

"Site mailboxes only work if you have also have SharePoint 2013, and data loss prevention requires Office 2013," said Guillet. "Many of these new features rely on both front-end and back-end updates, so you need to look at your business case and see if it makes sense to do so."

For companies that aren't interested in upgrading to Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 and Office 2013, there is always the cloud via Office 365.

With an Office 365 deployment, Microsoft owns the back-end, so customers aren't required to make additional investments; they pay a monthly subscription fee instead. New versions are automatically streamed to customers and all the latest and greatest features are always at arm's reach. 

"If you want to buy everything -- great," said Sanfilippo. "If not, you might want to consider the cloud."

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 CU1 is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center.

Let us know what you think about the story; email site editor Matt Gervais.


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