Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013 On-Premise upgrade Part 1

I have been tasked with running an Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013 migration. Sounds simple enough right? Kind of. There is a ton of information out there pertaining to this subject but it’s so important to know your network to help you filter through this information. The other issue I’ve had is, there are many blogs out there with a lot of steps. My brain tends to compartmentalize things and I like to break these projects down into smaller projects. Through this blog series I will attempt to do that. Here is how I see that playing out.

  1. Gathering information and identifying your environment
  2. Preparing your network/server
  3. Installing Exchange 2013
  4. Upgrading/Migrating to Exchange 2013
  5. Other components and considerations (In my case UM)
  6. Verification
  7. Decommissioning Exchange 2010 (This is not simply turning off the machine or VM, and I’ll tell you why)

I will aim to give you as many tools as possible and any gotcha’s along the way. I don’t want to start this first blog post and leave you with absolutely nothing so let’s attack the first part.

Gathering Information and Identifying your Environment

The first thing we will want to consider is if you have never upgraded/migrated a Microsoft messaging or collaboration suite before you have to know that it isn’t a traditional upgrade. Let me explain, a traditional upgrade typically has a person running an in-place upgrade from an earlier version to a more recent version. The result is you have the same computer, operating system etc and the software you wished to upgrade is upgraded (think of Microsoft Office 2010 to Microsoft Office 2013).

The difference with software suites such as Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Lync is their scope. They tend become backbones on your network that affects all of the users and an upgrade would both be risky in that it limits the ability to rollback and disruptive because the service has to be down for the time it takes to upgrade. The proper path there for is to Migrate from one version to another. This involves the following

  1. Building and prepping a new server in your network
  2. Installing Exchange 2013 on it
  3. Follow the migration steps to move all of the roles over to the new server
  4. Once complete decommission old server properly

To this end here is a very general list of things you will want to consider when gathering information for your Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013 migration.

  1. Gather server names
  2. Establish which roles you are running on which servers in Exchange 2010, if broken out
  3. Gather certificate requirements and determine if you will use the same certificates on both servers. Keep in mind that you might be dealing with both public and internal CA certificates
  4. Record your IP addresses
  5. Consider DNS changes that will need to be made to both your internal DNS and public DNS
  6. Consider changes to your firewall. You may need an available public IP for OWA and Outlook Anywhere
  7. Consider other factors such as UM, DAC

There is a really good tool that you should start with that Microsoft has released called Exchange Server Deployment Assistant. The Assistant will ask you a series of questions and you answer them based on your environment, once completed you will have a list of steps that will help you with your migration.

You can find the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant here. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/jj657516.aspx

Changes in Exchange 2013

When you upgraded from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007, your jaw may have dropped. Life became a whole lot easier, but change can sometimes be difficult. The jump from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 was much more manageable.

Here we go again!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Microsoft has been working extremely hard on rebranding their UI. First there was Windows 8 “Metro” or I guess they are simply calling it Windows 8 UI, which was adopted in a more conservative way for Windows Server 2012. Exchange has also adapted the look and feel as well. For example there isn’t a management console any longer, It has been replaced by a web page called ECP (Exchange Control Panel) https://servername/ECP

Other notable changes

  • Server roles have been consolidated into two. Mailbox role and CAS (Client Access Server)
  • Modern Public folders. The public folder database has gone away and it has been consolidated into the mail database.
  • Integration into SharePoint with Site mailboxes
  • Faster and Smarter search

There are many more, but I’ve kept you long enough if you made it this far. Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog Where I will tackle Server Preperation.

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