I feel like i am in over my head Exchange server

kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
Ok so I have never touched exhange in my life and never even seen its interface. My wifes company has server 03 enterprise and exchange 5.5 i believe from what i could get out of it. It has been having some issues lately and now they want to possibly replace it but there previous i.t. guy left long ago with no documentation left behind. They are a small company of 5 luckily.

Now I said I would be willing to do the upgrade for free so that I could get the experience of it all. My questions are this:

can 5.5 migrate to 03?
how hard is it to learn e2003 from scratch?
is OWA setup automatically?
how hard are migrations that are in the 100+ gb range?
does exchange use .pst
does e2003 have file size limits? (ie 2gb/20gb)
is s2003 standard and e2003 standard going to be enough its only 5 people? (what does enterprise offer that standard doesnt?)
does each e-mail account require its own cal and ad user? they use entourage cause they all use mac's (they are video editing company)

am I in over my head? They also have calendars that they want setup to.

Thanks.

Comments

  • NetAdmin2436NetAdmin2436 Member Posts: 1,076
    I've never done a 5.5 migration, but a few 2000 to 2003 migrations. Will this be on new hardware, I'm assuming?
    Migrating from Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003
    Upgrading Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003

    can 5.5 migrate to 03? Yes
    how hard is it to learn e2003 from scratch? Download a trial and throw it on your home server :)
    is OWA setup automatically? Yes
    how hard are migrations that are in the 100+ gb range? Just takes more time to move the mailboxes
    does exchange use .pst? Yes when you export/import
    does e2003 have file size limits? (ie 2gb/20gb)
    is s2003 standard and e2003 standard going to be enough its only 5 people? (what does enterprise offer that standard doesnt?) Yes, exchange standard is more than enough.
    does each e-mail account require its own cal and ad user? they use entourage cause they all use mac's (they are video editing company) Just the user account requires a exchange cal. A user could have 1000 smtp email accounts going into his account, he's still only need 1 exchange cal.


    With only 5 users, I'm sure you could also just export the PST's. Install a new exchange 2003 box, add users and import the PST's back.
    WIP: CCENT/CCNA (.....probably)
  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    With only 5 users, I'm sure you could also just export the PST's. Install a new exchange 2003 box, add users and import the PST's back.

    I am hoping to go this route I am crossing my fingers. I am also hoping this will be on new hardware with fresh installs of everything.
  • StarkeStarke Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have done handful of 5.5 to 2003 migrations. I agree with five users you are best suited to run exmerge to PSTs. You are probably over your head but you could probably stumble through it, make sure you spend a lot of time reading the documentation.
    MCSA: Windows Server 2012 - MCITP (SA, EA, EMA) - CCA (XD4, XD5, XS5, XS6) - VCP 4
  • LaminiLamini Member Posts: 242 ■■■□□□□□□□
    i went through this process the last week, what a coincidence!

    OWA is set up by default! :P you just have to enable it.

    As previously said, Enterprise is way overkill

    if i were you i would get a technet subscription (google discount coupons and save!!), if any emergencies you get two get out of jail cards, and the forums have a 1 day turnaround for answers from pros and would probably get answers from there faster than here, same with msexchange.org... valuable asset to exchange admins these sites are...
    CompTIA: A+ / NET+ / SEC+
    Microsoft: MCSA 2003
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Ok so I have never touched exhange in my life and never even seen its interface. My wifes company has server 03 enterprise and exchange 5.5 i believe from what i could get out of it. It has been having some issues lately and now they want to possibly replace it but there previous i.t. guy left long ago with no documentation left behind. They are a small company of 5 luckily.

    Now I said I would be willing to do the upgrade for free so that I could get the experience of it all. My questions are this:

    can 5.5 migrate to 03?
    how hard is it to learn e2003 from scratch?
    is OWA setup automatically?
    how hard are migrations that are in the 100+ gb range?
    does exchange use .pst
    does e2003 have file size limits? (ie 2gb/20gb)
    is s2003 standard and e2003 standard going to be enough its only 5 people? (what does enterprise offer that standard doesnt?)
    does each e-mail account require its own cal and ad user? they use entourage cause they all use mac's (they are video editing company)

    am I in over my head? They also have calendars that they want setup to.

    Thanks.

    Yes you are in over your head. Back in the day when I did my MCSE in NT 4.0 I chose the Exchange Server 5.5 elective because I wanted to learn something about it. This was the one they all avoided because it was difficult. I passed the exam but it was by far the hardest exam of the six I prepared for. Having little or no exposure to Exchange at the time made it difficult.

    Before you make a bad situation worse I would level with these folks to set expectations there. Make it clear that you are prepared to *assist* with the migration. In this situation the best approach is probably to build a new server leaving the old server offline so that if things screw up you can rush it back in.

    But before you get into all of that some advice...

    1. Get yourself on the msexchange forum and technet.
    2. Agree upfront to have the option to log a chargable MS support for any assistance you may need.
    3. Get a good study guide for the MCP in Exchange and start reading it.
    4. Start planning the migration

    You are not going to be able to migrate to a new system anytime soon without introducing lots of risk for both the client and yourself. Given that the existing system basically works even though there are some issues you do have sometime to play with there so use it.

    Any consultancy project properly done has an analysis stage and this could take weeks if they brought external professional help in. You need to know what you have on your hands before you change anything to reduce your liability risk. This takes time to baseline.

    The system was not documented so do that first. Dont change anything. Look very carefully at all the settings and write them down in a proper document. Then research why they are there and what they are doing for you. Not only Exchange, but the server build itself, the disks and partitions, what is backed up and how the backups are done. Have they been verified? Do they work? Ask.

    If you can't get any guarantees there then make it clear that the backups need to be sorted out first.

    Not only exchange is important. Client settings too need to be looked at closely, documented and understood so do some work in that area too. You would want to set up your own mailbox and connect to it through your networked PC and through OWA over the web. Find out how to do all that.

    I would advise that before you go down the migration/replacement route you see what can be done to patch up the existing problems on the mailserver first. Exchange had dependencies on DNS and AD so you will want access to domain controller and DNS servers on the network. Again, lots for you to investigate and document there.

    When all that is done and you are comfortable connecting to and managing the exchange server I would advise a chargable call to MS Support. You can pass on details of the problems encountered to them and over the phone they can give you command line tasks to carry out on the server to diagnose problems. Years ago I inherited an Exchange 2000 server built on an unfamilar AD environment that had been put together by someone with no indepth knowledge. The server encountered problems. At that point I called MSsupport who over the phone provided help with diagnotic tools and command line switches to help tweak and tighten up the AD relationships with the Exchange server. I simply followed instructions. The errors in the event logs cleared up and the server performed much better after that lengthy call. So this is worth doing. Get some help.

    For the migration itself look at various white papers explaining the process. I think a completely new server is your safest option as opposed to an inplace upgrade of what you have. You will want to get a considered opinion on best approach to migrate. For that you might get assistance from a Microsoft approved consultancy or MSsupport. You could also seek opinions from experienced practitioners on reputable forums. Royal springs to mind. I can't speak for his availability but for a modest fee he may be prepared to look over and approve your proposals from a technical perspective. This could save you a lot of problems.

    If all this sounds like a lot of work..it is. The alternative is to throw everything together like a lot of of those nice external consultants do who charge so much. If that works, everyone bows down at your genius. If it doesn't, you will screw things up badly.

    By way of an analogy, 22 years ago I was an enthusiastic electronics technician in training. Someone came to me with a ghetto blaster with issues. I was advised that it didn't work and that even if I couldn't get it working it had been written off anyway. So this was a best endevours fault finding exercise. I set to work. I couldn't find the the fault. My enthusiasm and determination got the better of me so I simply pressed on and on. In the end, I couldn't fix it and the whole system ended up in pieces with no prospect of putting it back together properly. So don't bite off more than you can chew as a potentially useful learning experience could end up being a nightmare.

    With some careful planning, resourcing of assistance and honesty with the client this could work out well for all parties!

    Good luck!
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 migrations are covered in great detail in 70-284 exam. The material found at Online software tutorials, training CDs, Photoshop Tutorials, Dreamweaver Tutorials, Apple Tutorials from vtc.com is pretty dang good. Set aside 6-7 hours and watch the videos.

    Small business like that, you might be doing them a greater service just buy building them a new domain all together and migrate them to SBS2008.
    -Daniel
  • StarkeStarke Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I think you're spot on actually. If he purchases Exchange 2007 he can then downgrade to Exchange 2003 if he wanted. Based on Microsoft MSRP it will cost you $1000 for Exchange 2007 STD and five CALs while SBS 2008 will be $1089 which includes five CALs. If you went SBS 2008 you will also get the newer technology for your DC etc. as well. If it's a fairly simple evnironment then just exmerge the mailboxes to PST, setup the SBS server, synchronize the relevant user data to the new server and run Move-mailbox on the new server to import the PSTs.

    http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/pricing.aspx

    How to Buy Exchange Server 2007: Pricing and Licensing Information
    Daniel333 wrote: »
    Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 migrations are covered in great detail in 70-284 exam. The material found at Online software tutorials, training CDs, Photoshop Tutorials, Dreamweaver Tutorials, Apple Tutorials from vtc.com is pretty dang good. Set aside 6-7 hours and watch the videos.

    Small business like that, you might be doing them a greater service just buy building them a new domain all together and migrate them to SBS2008.
    MCSA: Windows Server 2012 - MCITP (SA, EA, EMA) - CCA (XD4, XD5, XS5, XS6) - VCP 4
  • desertmousedesertmouse Member Posts: 77 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'd agree with the entirely new setup. Not worth the headache. AT ALL.
    Things will go very wrong, and they'll be wanting to upgrade to 2007 in the next few years anyway...

    When you don't have good documentation - you'll have a heck of a time putting it back together, and you never know all the little dependencies, and things done to "make-it-work-because-its-3-AM!"
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I wholeheartedly agree with the completely new setup approach. Much less headache, less unknown variables, they get newer technology, and you get to learn the newer technology. Win-win.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas CISSP, GIAC x5, CompTIA x5 Greenville, SC USAMember Posts: 5,738 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Turgon wrote: »
    ghetto blaster with issues.

    wtf_ghetto_blaster_edition-727500.jpg

    I wasn't sure what a Ghetto Blaster was so I looked it up on Google images. This picture came up about loud radios / CD Players... :D

    I have no idea about what web site it was on. Oh well :)
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • AlexMRAlexMR Member Posts: 275
    A cisco pre-sales manager and a DB guru of my country are both very good friends of a very good friend of mine. I now have access to practically all MS and cisco training from TestOut and trainsignal and both of them look pretty good for Exchange. I have never used exchange and after a few hours watching the videos I feel I can do a few things.

    If you have the money I think they would be well spent on any of these options.

    I am totally in love with testOut's methodology, interface and general content. That goes for BSCI, Exchange 2007 and 2k8 active directory, configuring.

    Good luck.
    Training/Studying for....CCNP (BSCI) and some MS.
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