A few months ago I briefly touched on having an extra layer on top of Exchange 2010 or higher. This additional layer lets you separate organizations with different limits and policies, provision users on certain stores, and more. Odin (now referred to as CloudBlue) has provided support for almost all Exchange versions, but they are now discontinuing support for Exchange 2010. If you have used CloudBlue, you may have noticed that they advise you to first test the rollups if any new ones are provided, as they are no longer testing them. The last Exchange 2010 update was Rollup 32, which came out in 2021 when a major attack on Exchange Servers occurred.
CloudBlue is also offering a cloud version of the systems they provide, but you must be running Exchange 2016 or Exchange 2019. Support has ended for Exchange 2016, and I'm not sure how long it will be before they drop support for this version as well. So what are your options? To receive support from CloudBlue/Odin, you will need to build your Exchange 2016 servers. You cannot just go to Exchange 2019 because it does not support coexistence with Exchange 2010.
Here is a list of options to consider:
- Create a new domain that has Windows 2019 domain controllers and Exchange 2019. Use MigrationWiz to move all the data across from the old environment to the Exchange 2019 environment. Remember, things like legacy addresses will need to be added back to mailboxes so you do not have IMCEAX errors. This may be the fastest route if you are not wanting to build an Exchange 2016 environment, perform mailbox moves, and then move to Exchange 2019. If MigrationWiz is not what you want, consider using CodeTwo. If you are running older versions of Outlook not supported by Exchange 2019, you will need to also upgrade users when you migrate the mailboxes across.
- Build an Exchange 2016 environment running in coexistence and start moving mailboxes from the Odin platform to the new one by upgrading the subscriptions. If you run into issues with legacy domains in Odin, you will need to open up a support case per instance for fixes. Of course, this will take time to resolve. If you are running older versions of Outlook not supported by Exchange 2016, you will need to also upgrade users when you migrate the mailboxes across.
- Export all mail to PST files, trash the domain, and build a new one with Windows 2019 domain controllers and then Exchange Server 2019. If you have a tight deadline or there are issues with your current domain, sometimes the easiest option is to start over. Keep in mind that if the machines are domain joined, you will have to take them off the domain, put them back, and move the profiles. You can use ProfWiz to do this, but it will be a lot of work and may inconvenience users. Additionally, you will have to import the PST files you exported earlier. And I won't even get into other issues like printers that have to be redone.
If you no longer require CloudBlue, then rushing to migrate is not an issue. That said, you will still need to look at moving to a supported version of Exchange Server that is receiving cumulative updates.
Here are some other considerations:
- Size of your organization
- Number of remote workers
- Hardware for new Exchange 2016 servers (physical or virtual)
- Extra space on your SAN
- Costs associated with Exchange 2016 and for Client Access Licenses (CALS), if you use features that require them
If you choose option A, note that MigrationWiz will use bandwidth on your link and might affect other applications that the site uses. I know with previous migrations, customers have contacted the ISP to open the pipe temporarily to get the migrations done. But opening the pipe is at the discretion of your ISP and there are cost factors to consider.
The takeaway message is to have a plan of action now and to not wait until you no longer have support from CloudBlue.