By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2003-09-22 Print this article Print

During our testing of Exchange, we used Migration Tool to prepare for migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003. Migrating user accounts is the first step in a lengthy process that also involves granting administrative privileges for Exchange 5.5 to the domain administrator on Windows Server 2003, planning for coexistence between the Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2003 servers, preparing Active Directory for Exchange 2003, and finally beginning to deploy Exchange 2003.

In these mixed-mode environments, administrators will need to run Exchange Deployment Tool, which includes a number of utilities for ensuring that the NT Domain and Active Directory relationships are functioning properly.

There are a number of administrative tasks that need to get knocked out prior to making the upgrade, including creating Trust Relationships between the NT Domain and Active Directory and creating test accounts in the NT Domain, in Active Directory and on the Exchange 5.5 server. Running Exchange 2003 requires running a number of services within Internet Information Services, so companies will also need to install and configure IIS prior to installing Exchange.

Based on our experience during testing, all these tasks can be time- consuming. Just the preliminary work of installing updates, establishing Active Directory and migrating accounts on a single server took a man-day to complete. The work of prepping Active Directory for Exchange 2003 and installing a couple of Exchange 2003 servers likewise took a man-day.

Companies need to spend considerable time planning for features such as Outlook Web Access. Installing, configuring and testing the additional servers needed to provide secure access to Outlook Web Access will require a good deal of time and effort. We recommend that sites also plan on making modifications to user mailboxes as needed because Exchange installs with Outlook Web Access and access from mobile devices enabled by default.

Three new security features in the new version of Exchange require Windows Server 2003: IIS 6.0 security and dedicated application mode, IP Security for front-end and back-end clusters, and cross-forest authentication with Outlook 2003. Because a number of Exchanges new features require upgrading to Windows Server 2003, sites will need to potentially plan for server operating system updates as well.

Microsoft offers performance tools for sizing servers that will run Exchange 2003. However, new performance enhancements require running the Outlook 2003 client, complicating the decision process for sizing servers in an Exchange deployment. Since companies are likely to upgrade Exchange servers and desktop systems on different timelines, the Load Simulator and Exchange Server Stress and Performance tools will really provide only an indication of minimum system requirements.

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

Next page: Questions to Ask: Exchange 2003


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