In this blog we will be learning on how to move an Exchange Server 2010 from an Active Directory Site. The reason why we are sharing is because we have seen people just forklift the server from one Active Directory Site and connect them in another Active Directory Site. Most of the time it fails to start due to Topology Discovery Issues. Lets learn some best practices on how to move Exchange Server Safely with minimum downtime.
- Thorough understanding of Active Directory Services.
- Understanding Network and Network Services.
Two Active Directory Sites with Exchange Server Running on either one site or both sites. For testing purpose we have demonstrated the scenario with Exchange Server running on one Site. The scenario is intended for Companies who have their messaging servers few 100 Miles away from main sites.
Downtime is Required
Why Move Exchange Server?
Consolidating Messaging and other critical applications to one central site due to business requirements.
- Active Directory System State Backup.
- Ensure that all Mailbox and Public Folder databases are backed up and fully tested before moving the server.
- Complete Network Details which includes IP addresses, Gateway, Switches Etc..
To simplify the entire process we have divided them in three phases.
- Data Gathering
Lets begin with 1st Phase which is data gathering.
Figure 1 is a sample scenario. Different companies might have different scenarios.
Now login to Exchange Server and get some basic information as follows.
Open command prompt and type the below command.
In figure 2 Logon server helps us understand with which DC exchange Server is communicating.
Now we have to ensure that Active Directory Sites and Services are properly configured and they are in place. To do that type the below command from the same Exchange Server.
In figure 3 Site2 is the site where Exchange Server is running.
In figure 4 we can see that we have 2 sites “Site1” and “Site2”.
Open event viewer and navigate to Application Logs and Look for the below event id 2080 under Application Log.
In figure 5 Event ID 2080 helps Exchange Administrators to understand the Active Directory Topology.
Now that we have the backup and the required information to move ahead. Lets move to 2nd Phase.
Login to Exchange Server and Shutdown the server and plan for movement.
Now go to Active Directory Sites and Services. Navigate to the Site and Select the DC. In our scenario it is DC2 in Site2. You can right click the DC and select Move.
Please remember doing so can cause replication problems due to following reason.
- DNS will have the sites entries. Manual clean up is required.
- Lot of Manual process is there to correct the communication between DC’s.
- Exchange Server might have problems post movement.
To Avoid this as a best practice please check if the DC has any other services installed. If not, then go ahead and demote the DC gracefully. Amount of time required to Demote the DC is below an hour and if required promoting the same DC in other site also requires the same amount of time. All clean up is taken care by Active Directory itself.
Now open Active Directory Sites and Services and Navigate to the location as shown below.
In figure 7 we can manually delete the Site Object since there is no DC’s in it (Safe).
2nd Phase Completed
Now that we have cleaned up and moved the Exchange Server from Site1. Its time to move to the 3rd and Final Phase.
Now its time to Connect the Exchange Server to the Network.
Please Note: Exchange Server IP Address should remain same as it was in previous site.
In figure 12 Event ID 2080 looks clean.
Final phase is completed.
Important points to remember.
- Ensure that External DNS is able to communicate with New Site.
- Client Access both internal and external should work.
The same scenario can also be used with multiple server setup. Logic remains same.
Hope it was helpful