Planning and Migrating a Small Organization from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 (Part 2)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Discovery and Remediation

Within a reasonable small organization we may expect to have minimal issues when upgrading to the latest software – after all there’s not that many clients so it can’t be too much trouble, surely? Often the problems encountered won’t be on the same scale as a larger organization, but a smaller organization often has less dedicated IT staff on hand or the advanced tools to remotely update or deploy software. When upgrading to Exchange 2013 we’ve got a double hop via Exchange 2010 to overcome, and we’ve got similar problems to consider with clients. If we need to upgrade Outlook 2003 clients, we can’t simply upgrade them to Outlook 2013 until they are moved away from Exchange 2003, nor can we use Outlook 2003 with Exchange 2013. Making sure we understand both the server environment and the clients is critical to making our transition to the latest and greatest version of Exchange straightforward, even if it involves a double hop.

Tools to use

To better understand our current environment we’ll use a mix of tools ranging from the built-in Exchange tools that ship with Exchange 2003 to free downloads available from Microsoft. Some of the tools we’ll use are common to those required for an upgrade to Exchange 2010, but some are targeted to Exchange 2013 and Exchange Online upgrades:

  • Exchange Profile Analyzer
  • Exchange Pre Deployment Analyzer
  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
  • Scripts to automate data collection for us

Current Exchange Server Addresses

We’ll begin by collecting some of the simple information we have available about the current environment – the Exchange Server names and addresses, including the current names Internet clients using Outlook Web App, RPC over HTTPS and ActiveSync use.

The reason to collect this information is to help with “cutting over” the names used by external clients. We’ll be cutting over the name Internet clients use from Exchange 2003 over to Exchange 2010, then to Exchange 2013 as we go along.

In our example environment, we’ve got 2 Exchange Servers, LJD-EX2003FE and LJD-EX2003BE. These act as an Exchange 2003 Front End and Back End server respectively.

A single name is used by Internet clients to access Exchange 2003, mail.lisajanedesigns.co.uk. After collecting server names, we’ll record them as shown below:

Back End Servers Front End Servers OWA, RPC over HTTPS   and ActiveSync FQDN
LJD-E2003BE LJD-E2003FE mail.lisajanedesigns.co.uk

Table 1

Exchange Profile Analyzer

The Exchange Profile Analyzer is a Microsoft tool that allows us to scan mailboxes on Exchange 2003 and help understand the average send and receive sizes and message counts per day. This information can then be used as one input when sizing the environment.

Download the EPA from the following Microsoft website and install it using the default options onto one of your existing Exchange 2003 servers, or an administrative workstation.

After installing the Exchange Profile Analyzer, we’ll then need to give the user account used to run the EPA appropriate permissions. To grant the required permissions, we’ll open the Exchange System Manager, and navigate to the Administrative Group containing the Exchange Servers:

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Figure 1: Exchange System Manager displaying our Exchange 2003 Servers

For each Exchange Server we’ll perform the following actions. First right-click the server and choose Properties. Then in the Exchange Server Properties window, navigate to the Security tab, then choose Advanced.

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Figure 2: Exchange Server Properties window

Choose to Add new permissions for the user you’ll run the EPA as, then grant the Receive-As and Send-As rights:

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Figure 3: Adding permissions for the Exchange Profile Analyzer

If you’ve got other Exchange Servers with Information Stores on, perform the same steps.

With the correct permissions in place, we are now ready to run the Exchange Profile Analyzer. Launch the EPA, and then choose Connect to Active Directory. If you’re using the same user to run the EPA as you are logged in as, then choose Current User when given the option to provide credentials:

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Figure 4: Launching the EPA

We’ll then choose the correct options for the EPA scan run. Within Logging/Stats Options select the radio option Information and ensure Output Statistics for Individual Mailboxes is unselected. Ensure the scope selected includes the Administrative Group containing your servers, and a time frame that represents average usage (such as the last six months) is specifiied, then choose Start Collect:

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Figure 5: Beginning data collection with the EPA

Depending on your organization this might take a little while to complete – ranging from a few hours or even overnight, as the EPA must scan each mailbox to generate the report.

Once complete the report will be shown. The section we will collect information from is entitled Results with Time Frame Applied:

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Figure 6: Viewing the EPA Report

We’ll expand the Message Size section and then collect the average message size result, as highlighted below:

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Figure 7: EPA viewing average message size

Next we’ll expand the Message Frequency section and collect two results. The first result we’ll collect is the average figure for Aggregates of messages received per weekday including dumpster. This will be our average received per day figure.

The second value we’ll collect is the Aggregates of messages send per weekday including dumpster (real). This will be our average sent per day figure:

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Figure 8: EPA showing the message frequencies

We’ll use those figures to generate a table of average size and message send/receive daily counts:

Average Message   Size Average Received Average Sent
147.61KB 15.25 14.94

Table 2

Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer

The Exchange Pre Deployment Analyzer (PDA) is a tool that will examine the Exchange environment and look for issues that might make any major changes, like an upgrade, problematic. If you’ve used the Exchange Best Practices Analyzer then this tool will be very familiar – In essence it’s a mini-health check. And like any patient about to undergo major surgery, we want to find out if the Exchange 2003 environment has any medical conditions that require remediation first.

Download the Exchange Pre Deployment Analyzer from the Microsoft website and install it either on an Administrative workstation, or on one of the Exchange 2003 servers. Launch the Exchange PDA, and after checking for updates, select a domain controller and connect to the Active Directory forest.

We’ll choose to perform the Exchange 2010 Readiness Check and select the Scope to include the entire Exchange Organization, then select Start Scanning:

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Figure 9: Starting scan with the Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer

After the Exchange PDA completes, expect to see a number of issues found, including pre-requisites for upgrade such as requirements for the Exchange organization mode and Active Directory Forest/Domain Functional Level. Any critical items shown should be investigated by following the links to relevant Microsoft Support articles, but for now we’ll export a copy of the report for reference:

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Figure 10: Viewing and exporting the ExPDA report

Mailbox Quotas and Current Mailbox Usage

The quota limits are set on the Information Store level and can also be set on individual mailboxes. We will collect information about these limits and current mailbox usage to help us understand the current environment. This kind of data is more useful when planning the new environment than simply looking at the size of the underlying EDB and STM files on disk, as the actual database sizes will not reflect the needs of the target Exchange Servers.

We can collect this information using a script produced by Microsoft, available within the TechNet gallery, the Exchange 2003 Mailbox Statistics Report. This script will provide a CSV file output containing fields showing all the information we’ll require when planning.

Download the ExchMailboxStats.txt file from the TechNet Gallery and rename it as a vbs file, then execute the script as an administrative user with the following options:

cscript.exe ExchMailboxStats.vbs

The output from the script will be saved as ExchMailboxStats<Date>.csv.

Routing Group Connector Configuration

Our routing group connectors define how Exchange 2003 communicates with other email systems. Each routing group connector will need to be re-created as a Send Connector on Exchange 2010 before being switched later on to Exchange 2013.

To collect this information, we’ll open up the Exchange System Manager on an Exchange 2003 server, then within the Administrative Group (our example small organization on has one), navigate and expand Routing Groups until we can see the list of Connectors:

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Figure 11: Viewing connectors in the Exchange System Manager (Advanced View)

Depending on your organization and whether you’ve adjusted the defaults, it may be that you don’t need to expand Administrative and Routing Groups at all – they may simply show in the root of the Exchange System Manager as Connectors:

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Figure 12: Viewing connectors in the Exchange System Manager (Simple View)

For each connector, note down the following information. We’ll refer to it later when we copy settings across, but these basic settings will ensure we have the correct information we need to plan deployment.

  • Name
  • Method of delivery – Using DNS or Smart Host
  • Local bridgeheads
  • Address Space

For our example organization, we record the following values:

Name Method of Delivery Smart Host Bridgehead Address Space
Internet Mail DNS N/A LJD-E2003FE *

Table 3

Summary

In part two of these series we’ve began our discovery and remediation process, looking at our existing server infrastructure. In part three, we’ll conclude discovery and remediation by looking at internal relays, public folder infrastructure, clients and third-party applications.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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