Boswell's Q&A

Phasing Out Exchange 5.5

Admin seeks the absolute final word on Exchange 5.5-to-Exchange 2003 migration gotchas before making the move.

Question: We have been testing migration scenarios in our lab for a move from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003. After many KB articles, and a lot of your advice from various sources, we have a good plan that has worked well in the test environment. One remaining question is when in the migration process to move the Internet Mail Connector function from 5.5 to 2003. What are the "gotchas" and how should it be done to prevent interruption of mail delivery?
—Stephen

Get Help from Bill

Got a Windows or Exchange question or need troubleshooting help? Or maybe you want a better explanation than provided in the manuals? Describe your dilemma in an e-mail to Bill at mailto:boswell@101com.com; the best questions get answered in this column.

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Stephen: You can make the Internet mail transition in phases. Start by getting an Exchange 2003 server installed in the same site as the Exchange 5.5 server that's running IMS. Move a few mailboxes to this new server and make sure that messages get routed to it from all sites (routing groups.)

Next, install the Internet SMTP connector using the wizard in EMS. Designate the Exchange 2003 server in the main site as the bridgehead. Set the cost for this connector very high. Over the next couple of days, you should see Internet messages continue to flow through the Exchange 5.5 server running IMS.

Now set the cost for the IMC and the Internet SMTP connector to an equal value. You should see traffic begin to flow through the SMTP connector and through the IMC. Monitor the queues to make sure nothing gets backed up. Remember that the MTA gets involved on an Exchange 2003 server when routing traffic to and from Exchange 5.5 servers, so watch that queue in particular.

If everything looks good for a couple of days, you can raise the cost of the IMC to a high value. Traffic should now flow exclusively through the Internet SMTP connector. Once you've verified that the new server can handle the load, you can remove the IMC.

Good luck with the migration.

Feedback: End of NT 4
In our ongoing survey of how companies are preparing for NT 4.0 end-of-life on Dec. 31, Rich explains the perspective of a technologist who has been stuck in the waning days of the last century through no fault of his own:

Everyone knows that Microsoft has delayed the retirement of NT and many of us were thankful for it. Of course, times do change and progress is a necessity. I really do feel strongly that the progress in security and numerous other OS features in Windows Server 2003 are necessary in the world of technology.

While I feel quite comfortable with the migration process, upper management in my financially struggling company does not feel any urgency to complete the move. Currently, we have 10 servers running NT 4.0. I've religiously patched, updated, band-aided and taken whatever steps necessary to keep the NT 4.0 ship afloat. But, as most of us in the IT field know, there are no accolades for keeping the system running like a Swiss watch.

Now I'm at a critical career crossroads. In the next few months, if our technology stagnation doesn't change, I'm going to seek work elsewhere. I've been the network admin, e-mail admin, desktop support technician, and chief light bulb changer for 3.5-plus years and I enjoy the company I work for. But, my big concern is the foolishness of companies like mine that do not make the necessary OS upgrades. I assume that running an NT system after the end of this year will be like playing Russian roulette with a bullet in every chamber.

About the Author

Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.

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