Can you believe it's been five years since the release of Windows Server 2003? Coming out later this year or in early 2008 is the newest in the long line of Windows server operating systems: Windows Server 2008. You may find that you need to bring Windows Server 2008 into your data center sooner rather than later. But before you take the plunge to Windows Server 2008, here are some things you need to know if you are running Exchange.
- No version of Exchange prior to Exchange 2007 SP1 can be installed to a Windows Server 2008 system, including Exchange 2007 RTM. If you're going to use Windows Server 2008 for an Exchange server, you must use Exchange 2007 SP1. This includes the Exchange management tools (either the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange System Manager). Only the Exchange 2007 SP1 Exchange Management Console is supported.
- You must perform a "clean install" of both Windows Server 2008 and Exchange 2007 SP1. You will not be able to upgrade a Windows Server 2003/Exchange 2007 SP1 system to Windows Server 2008. Exchange 2003 SP2 and Exchange 2007 (both RTM and SP1) will support environments that use Windows Server 2008 domain controllers. You can also mix and match Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 domain controllers when running these versions of Exchange.
- Although you can technically install a Windows Server 2008 domain controller into an environment running Exchange 2000 SP3, you cannot completely eliminate your Windows Server 2003/Windows 2000 Server-based domain controllers as Exchange 2000 cannot use Windows Server 2008 domain controllers. In order to use Exchange 2000 in a domain in which you have introduced Windows Server 2008 domain controllers, you must take steps to force your Exchange 2000 servers to use the Windows Server 2003/Windows 2000 Server-based domain controllers.
- Be mindful of Windows Server 2008's capability to deploy read-only domain controllers and read-only global catalog servers. Exchange expects its AD servers to be writeable, so make sure that, for each domain, your Exchange servers can contact at least one writeable AD server.
Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive with CampusWorks, Inc. Scott is available for consulting, writing, and speaking engagements and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.