Move Exchange 5.5 to a new server without changing server names

You don't have to move to Exchange 2000 for better performance. Troy Thompson shows you how to boost Exchange 5.5's performance by moving your Exchange server to newer, faster hardware while minimizing end-user confusion.

When your existing Exchange 5.5 e-mail system needs a performance boost but you can’t upgrade to Exchange 2000, you can move the information store to a more powerful server. There are critical steps that must be completed to successfully perform such a move; especially if you want to minimize confusion for your users by keeping the server’s name the same.

Depending on the size of your information store, this process can take some time. It is a good idea to plan to have your Exchange mail down for a whole day. To avoid data loss, make sure you have full backups of all of your information stores before you begin.

Dealing with domain controllers
If your Exchange server is also a domain controller, make sure it isn't the only one in the domain. If it is, you will have to install another Windows NT server as a domain controller to validate logons while the current Exchange server is offline. Also, if your Exchange server is the Primary Domain Controller (PDC), you will have to promote the Backup Domain Controller (BDC) once the Exchange server is shut down. Microsoft says you shouldn't use your Exchange server as a domain controller, so this can be a good opportunity to install Exchange on a member server.

Steps for moving the Exchange server
Moving Exchange from one server to another isn't as difficult as you may imagine if you follow these steps:
  1. Make note of your existing configuration.
  2. Back up the information from the Exchange server.
  3. Install Windows NT and Exchange server on the new computer.
  4. Restore the Exchange server data to the new computer.
  5. Configure the KM server.
  6. Reconfigure connectors.

The sections below give you some tips and details on each step.

Making note of your configuration
The more information you capture about the existing server, the more time you'll save when installing the new server, so start Exchange Administrator and make note of your existing configuration. Write down the organization and site names. You might even want to do screen captures of the different pages in the Connector properties. You should also note the drive configuration of the Exchange server and the version and service pack number of Exchange Server installed on the original computer.

Backing up the data
There are several ways that you can back up your data; however, for this Daily Drill Down, I’ll focus on offline backups. In such a backup, you must stop the services on the existing Exchange server and copy the entire Exchsrvr directory on your server’s C: drive to another computer on the network or to tape. If there is an Exchsrvr directory on another drive—i.e. if you’ve installed Exchange to a directory other than C—you should copy it too.

Stopping the System Attendant first will automatically stop the other services for you. If the log, database, and working directories are on different drives, make sure that you copy the Exchsrvr directories from each drive. Be sure to also include the Dsadata, Dxadata, Imcdata, Mdbdata, and Mtadata directories in the backup. You may also need to copy the Ccmcdata, Insdata, Kmsdata, and Tracking.log directories if the corresponding components were installed or enabled on the original computer.

Next, start the Exchange Server Performance Optimizer utility by dropping to a command prompt and changing directories to the Exchsrvr\bin directory. Start the Performance Optimizer by typing perfwiz –v and pressing [Enter]. Performance Optimizer will shut down the Exchange services when it runs. This utility will show you the location of the directory service, information store, message transfer agent (MTA), and Internet Mail Service files, as shown in Figure A. Make note of these locations, because you will need to refer to the information during the install. You can quit the Performance Optimizer utility after you obtain the information.

Figure A
The Performance Optimizer utility shows you the location of important Exchange 5.5 files.

If the Key Management (KM) Service is installed, stop the service. You should also back up the KM server Startup disk. After you've backed up the information from your Exchange server, you must shut down the existing Exchange Server.

Installing Windows NT and Exchange Server
After shutting down the old Exchange server, open the Server Manager utility from the Start menu and remove the machine account for the original computer by selecting the name and pressing [Delete].

In Server Manager, to add the account back to the domain, choose Add To Domain from the Computer menu. Name the new account the exact name of the account you just deleted.

Install Windows NT on the new computer. When installing Windows NT, be sure to name the machine the same name as the existing Exchange server. You can make the new server a domain controller or a member server. Just remember, Microsoft doesn't recommend using your Exchange server as your domain controller.

Install the same service pack, and configure the drives on the new computer exactly as they are configured on the other Exchange server. If the drives are not configured the same, you may get undesirable results. For example, if the drives are too small, you may need to put some of Exchange’s files on a different drive, which can prevent them from being located by Exchange itself.

Note about installing Windows NT
This article will not go into detail about how to install Windows NT. It is possible to install Windows NT on the new server prior to shutting down the existing Exchange server. Although this can allow you to get the new server up and running again more quickly, if you do install Windows NT on the new server before you shut down the old server, you will have to give it a different name and then change the name once the old server is shut down.

Once you've installed Windows NT, you must install the Exchange Server software just as it was installed on the original server. If you're using Outlook Web Access on the old Exchange server, go ahead and install it.

If KM server is on the old server, be sure to install it too. You will be given the opportunity to change the default location of where the files will be copied in order to match the original installation.

Restoring the backup data
To restore the data, you must replace the existing directories that were created during the installation of Exchange with the Exchsrvr directories that you backed up. Make sure you copy the directories to the proper drives.

Only copy the Dsadata, Dxadata, Imcdata, Mdbdata, and Mtadata directories if the new Exchange server and original Exchange server have different hardware platforms. Depending on the additional components that were installed, you may have to also copy additional directories. For example, you may have a Ccmcdata directory if you supported Lotus cc:mail. Other directories may include Insdata, Kmsdata, and Tracking.log.

Once the data has been restored, start the System Attendant service, the Directory services, and the Information Store service. It is very likely that the information store service will fail with a -1011 error when started. If it does, the error entry in the Windows NT Event Viewer Application Log with Source ID 2048 will state: The Information Store Was Restored From An Offline Backup. Run ISINTEG -PATCH Before Restarting The Information Store.

This error occurs because the Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) used by the restored information store are old, and matching GUIDs may already exist. If you find this error in the Event Log, you will need to drop to the command line on your server and run isinteg –patch. When the ISInteg utility finishes, restart the Information Store service. It will generate new GUIDs and patch replication information to prevent incorrect backfilling.

Depending on the size of the information store, it may take a few minutes to finish. Before running Isinteg using the –patch switch, make sure the Directory Service and System Attendant Service are running. If either of these services isn't running, Isinteg will fail with a DS_COMMUNICATIONS_ERROR message. Isinteg will be located in the Exchsrvr\Bin directory, so drop to a command prompt in that directory and type isinteg -patch. The GUIDs will then be replaced, and Isinteg will report that the information store has been successfully updated.

When run in patch mode, Isinteg.exe performs no integrity checks, so you should run it in test mode after running it in patch mode. When you restart the Information Store service, you shouldn't get an error.

Configuring the KM server
The first step to configure the KM server on the Exchange server is to stop the KM server service on the new computer. Then, copy the Kmspwd.ini file from the KM server startup disk for the original computer to another disk. Be sure to label the new disk so that you know it goes with the new Exchange server and not the old one.

Using the backup from the original server, copy the Exchsrvr\Kmsdata directory to the Exchsrvr directory on the new computer. Put the disk you created for the new computer into the disk drive of the new Exchange server. Restart the KM server service on the new computer and use the Performance Optimizer utility to make any necessary changes.

Reconfiguring connectors
When you restore the backup data, the connector information should be configured correctly. Use the screen captures you made from the old server to confirm that all the information related to site connectors and X.400 connectors is correct. You may also need to reconfigure the Internet Mail connector, Dynamic RAS connectors, or other third-party connectors.

You can now start all of the Exchange server services and begin sending and receiving mail. Since the new Exchange server has the same name and IP addresses of the original computer, you shouldn't need to make any configuration changes to client computers.

When your current server can't keep up with growing e-mail demands, you can successfully move the information to a more powerful server in about a day when you follow the steps I've outlined. Just remember to have a good backup and take good notes and screen captures. Doing so will put important information right at your fingertips and shorten the time it takes to set up the new server.

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