Planning and migrating a small organization from Exchange 2007 to 2013 (Part 17)

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

Decommissioning Exchange 2007

The removal of Exchange 2007 from our organization is fairly straightforward, but must be approached in a logical order to ensure success and minimal issues. Therefore we’ll remove some Exchange components like unused Offline Address Books, Databases and Storage Groups before uninstalling Exchange 2007 itself.

Removing unused Offline Address Books

We’ll start off with a relatively simple task, removing the old Offline Address Book. As part of the installation of Exchange 2013, you’ll remember a new Offline Address Book was created and set as the default. We’ll remove the old Exchange 2007 one by opening the Exchange Management Console and navigating to Organization Configuration>Mailbox and then within the Offline Address Book tab selecting the original address book, with the Generation Server specified as the old Exchange 2007 server. Simply choose Remove:

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Figure 1: Removing an unused Offline Address Book

Removing Databases

We’ve now got two types of Database we need to remove from our Exchange 2007 environment; Mailbox Databases and Public Folder Databases. We’ll start with Mailbox Databases, and to remove these, we’ll need to ensure that all mailboxes have been removed from the Exchange 2007 servers. To verify all mailboxes have been removed from our Exchange 2007 Server, we’ll use the following command:

Get-Mailbox -Server <ServerName>

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Figure 2: Verification no Mailboxes exist on Exchange 2007

After verifying that no mailboxes exist on the server, we’re ready to remove the databases. As part of this process Exchange 2007 will double check that no mailboxes exist – it’s not going to let us remove databases that still contain mailboxes. We’ll use the following PowerShell command from our Exchange 2007 Server to first get a list of the databases:

Get-MailboxDatabase –Server <ServerName>

After confirming that the command is showing the correct databases, remove the Mailbox Databases using the following command;

Get-MailboxDatabase –Server <ServerName> | Remove-MailboxDatabase

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Figure 3: Removing Mailbox Databases

Next, we’ll remove migrated Public Folders and the associated Public Folder Databases. First, let’s remove any legacy Public Folders both from the user view, and from the system view:

Get-PublicFolder “\” -Recurse | Remove-PublicFolder -Confirm:$False -ErrorAction:SilentlyContinue -Server <ServerName>

Get-PublicFolder “\NON_IPM_SUBTREE” -Recurse | Remove-PublicFolder -Confirm:$False -ErrorAction:SilentlyContinue -Server <ServerName>

We’ll then remove the underlying Public Folder database with the following command:

Get-PublicFolderDatabase -Server <ServerName> | Remove-PublicFolderDatabase

You’ll see the output from these actions shown below:

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Figure 4: Removing Legacy Public Folders and the Public Folder Database

Removing Storage Groups

After removing both Mailbox Databases and the Public Folder Database from our Exchange 2007 Server, we can now remove the Storage Groups. Before removing the Storage Groups, we’ll check which storage groups exist on the Exchange 2007 servers using the following command:

Get-StorageGroup

After confirming the storage groups listed are indeed the ones we wish to remove, use the following command:

Get-StorageGroup | Remove-StorageGroup

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Figure 5: Removing Storage Groups from Exchange 2007

As shown above, we’ll be provided with the opportunity to confirm that we do indeed wish to remove the storage groups shown. As with removing a Database, we won’t be able to remove a Storage Group if it has contents (i.e. a Database), so if you haven’t removed all relevant Databases the command will fail.

Uninstalling Exchange Server 2007

It’s now time to say goodbye to Exchange 2007. With Mailbox and Public Folder Database configuration removed we can now uninstall Exchange 2007. To do this, navigate to Programs and Features, within the Control Panel and choose Uninstall after selecting Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 from the list of installed applications:

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Figure 6: Locating and uninstalling Exchange 2007

The Exchange Setup application is used for the uninstallation process, much like it was used for the original installation. When prompted, we’ll therefore unselect each Exchange Role installed, including Client Access, Hub Transport and Mailbox. Additionally we’ll choose to uninstall the Management Tools – which includes the Exchange Management Console and Exchange Management Shell:

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Figure 7: Uninstalling Exchange 2007 components

After choosing Next, Exchange Server Setup will perform checks to ensure that we’re actually ready to uninstall. After moving Send Connectors earlier in this series and performing the tasks in this article, we’ll expect each readiness test to complete successfully, allowing us to choose Uninstall:

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Figure 8: Verification Exchange 2007 is ready to uninstall

After choosing Uninstall we’ll expect the setup program to continue with removal of Exchange 2007. After it completes successfully we’ll be done from an Exchange Server point of view and can if required remove the Windows Server from the domain safely.

Ongoing Maintenance of Exchange 2013

Now you’ve completed your upgrade to Exchange 2013 you should find that the ongoing maintenance required is at least as little, if not less, than Exchange 2007. Reliability improvements mean that most failures will be picked up by the managed availability service and automatically corrected for you.

Checking for notifications

Don’t forget to regularly login to the Exchange Admin Center. As well as perform actions against your server, you’ll also find notifications waiting for you within the Alerts section shown below:

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Figure 9: Monitoring alerts in the EAC

If you prefer to administer Exchange using PowerShell, you’ll also find these same notifications available by using the Get-Notification command, as shown below:

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Figure 10: Monitoring alerts via PowerShell

Reviewing Event Logs

You won’t find every alert for your Exchange environment within the confines of the Exchange Admin Center. Regularly review the Event Logs of your new Exchange 2013 server to look for any pressing errors. You’ll find useful information in the System and Application logs, but don’t discount the Exchange-specific logs, found within Applications and Services>Microsoft>Exchange. Within this folder you’ll find the ActiveMonitoring event logs providing a history of Probe Results. This can provide insight into what’s happening on your Exchange Server and if you have problems, provide a history of what led up to an issue:

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Figure 11: Reviewing Exchange event logs

Monitoring Disk Space

We performed extensive work to understand the sizing requirements for our environment before we implemented Exchange 2013, however this doesn’t mean you can discount regular checks of free disk space. For example if we designed our Exchange environment to cope with 7 days without backups, then as day 8 passes we would without successful backups expect the drives housing our Log files to fill up – a truly disastrous situation. Monitor both the current usage and trending growth over time of both your system drives, and your Exchange data drives.

Checking Backups

If your design includes a traditional backup solution, and is a small implementation like the one we’ve built within this series then ensuring backups are successful is critically important. Not only should you ensure your backups complete successfully, but you should also ensure that you perform regular test restores.

Applying Patches

It’s especially common with smaller environments for the Exchange environment to fall behind on regular patching. Ensure you understand the release cadence of Cumulative Updates and Service Packs, detailed on the Exchange Team Blog. Pay particular attention to the support period for each CU – you’ll have three months to update to the latest update after it’s released, so plan to patch at least once every six months.

Summary

In this series we’ve planned, implemented and migrated from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013. Hopefully through this series you’ve learnt a bit more about Exchange and if you’ve just finished implementing Exchange 2013, we hope we’ve helped make your project a success.

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

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