Migrating Exchange 2003 Small Business Server to Exchange Server 2003

5 pts.
Active Directory
Microsoft Exchange 2003
Small Business Server
How can I migrate Exchange Server 2003 running on Small Business Server to an AD Domain running Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition?

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Response by Brad Dinerman

The previous response indicated that you need to decommission SBS. However, this is not actually necessary. Microsoft offers the <b>SBS Transition Pack,</b> which is basically a license that will allow you to break out of the SBS limitations, leaving you with a fully functional Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003.

After you apply the transition pack, you can upgrade or replace or add to your server using the usual techniques.

End Response


The SBS server will be decommissioned at the end of the process, leaving a windows 2003 server Native Domain with a separate dedicated Domain Controller (DC) and separate server box running Exchange 2003 Standard.

You could in-fact keep the SBS server in the domain, so long as it remains a “god” in terms of holding the FSMO roles and being the DC in the root of the forest. Remember, you can’t have more than one SBS server in a forest at any one time! So I suggest decommissioning and reformatting the sbs and calling it a day.

This sounds easy, but do not forget that SBS is a control freak and wants to be in-charge of the whole forest. So asking it to take a back seat needs slow and careful attention. Disobey these rules at your peril. Plus, if you throw Exchange into the mix, this makes for quite a complex operation. Do not experiment on a live system. The slightest error and you lose the whole domain.

The major steps of the process are as follows:

  1. Join a Windows Server 2003 Standard to the domain as a member server (DC01).
  2. Install DNS on DC01.
  3. DC promo DC01.
  4. Make DC01 a Global Catalog server (GC).
  5. Change the preferred DNS address of DC01 to point to itself. Change the preferred DNS address of SBS to point to DC01.
  6. Transfer the FSMO roles to DC01.
  7. Wait for replication to take place. Give it a good 15 minutes, depending upon the size of your network.
  8. Remove the GC from SBS.

Make sure you use Netdiag and Dcdiag to test all your network settings and connections. Also use these if you run into problems. It will instantly tell you what’s going wrong on the network.

You might also want to throw in gpupdate /force to check that the domain is refreshing policies OK. This checks if user permissions are running as expected and everything can talk to each other.

During this next stage, we will accomplish the following tasks:

* Replicate all public folders to Exchange01
* Rehome the Offline Address Book folder
* Change the server that is responsible for generating the Offline Address List
* Rehome the Schedule+ Free Busy folder
* Rehome the Organization Forms folder
* Rehome the Recipient Update Service (RUS)
* Designate another server to be the routing group master
* Create another Site Replication Service (SRS) instance
* Rehome connectors to Exchange01
* Move mailboxes to Exchange01
* Decommission SBS

Check out this Microsoft article for more information.

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  • Jerry Lees
    Awesome, answer Karl! Yes, decommisioning a small business server can be very tricky and unfortunately everywhere I've seen it used-- it ended up being cheaper to start over after all it was only ONE server.
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