Domain Merge Exchange 2003 orgs, advice please?

Tags:
Exchange 2003
Mailbox migration
Hello all, Situation is currently 2 domains 123.com & 456.com, seperate forests with exchange 2003 orgs merging into 1 doing away with 456.com My plan was to export mailboxes(EXMERGE/exh mig wiz), export user groups etc (ADMT), 456.com DC's removed and added to 123.com,DNS/replcation set up + other config for new DC's etc, 456.com Exchange servers re-imaged with a pre configured Exchange installation correct for 123.com, mailboxes migrated back in. LDIFDE used to import some old mailbox attribs to old users of 456.com so still addressable (as ADMT doesn't migrate the exchange info interforest) I have tried and tested several methods in a test environment all steps are feasible as far as I can see however I have stumbled a little with Exchange mailbox migration largly due to time and fincancial constraints. I have no hardware on which to install exchange and migrate mailboxes over slowly and have a 16 hour window to carry out the migration. Using exmerge or exchange migration wizard to move mailboxs off the servers take around 20 hours as there is lots of data! Can anyone offer me any advice on this approach? This is the first time I have tackled this type of project and I think I may be on the wrong track a little. Is there any way to complete this leaving the mailstores in tact?? Thanks!

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Essentially, you are looking to perform a logical consolidation by collapsing the 456.com forest/domain and folding it into the 123.com forest/domain. Exporting and re-importing the data comes at a high cost and in terms of the time that it takes and its impact on the users as a result of the outage. I understand that you are working with limited resources, so the problem will have to be approached with some degree of creativity and flexibility.

Considering that you are collapsing environments anyway, and in effect, migrating users from 456.com to 123.com, why not migrate users, groups and computers using the ADMT. You can do so into specific OUs temporarily which would allow you to manage them separately, which will come in handy as I’ll point out later.

This would allow you to use a swing method approach for the migration where once you free up an Exchange mailbox server in the 456.com forest/domain, it can be rebuilt into the 123.com forest/domain and the users that were migrated in the previous steps simply moved to their destination server. You could then repeat this process until the required number of servers have been rebuilt.

The migration would be a little easier to manage with less room for error (exporting and importing data and importing user attributes) and the impact to the user community greately reduced; however, adequate network infrastructure and bandwidth to support the migrations must be available.

I am not sure how you intend to preserve the mail stores of the environment being collapsed since you intend to reuse the hardware. You can certainly make online or offline backup copies of the databases. My suggestion would be to make offline backups prior to commencing any migration work. This way the databases are already committed. Information can also be plucked from the information stores directly using OnTrack PowerControls for example.

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