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Time to Move from Exchange 2003


Support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 will soon be coming to an end. Are you ready? Each product that Microsoft releases has a lifecycle that determines how long we maintain and support the product. Exchange 2003 mainstream support is over. And, Exchange 2003 extended support ends on April 8th, 2014. For more information about specific versions of Exchange 2003, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Search page, and enter “Exchange Server 2003” in the Product Name field.

In the meantime, don’t panic. It’s time to start planning your upgrade to the latest version of Exchange, which is Exchange Server 2010. To help you plan, this article discusses some of the improvements in Exchange 2010 and the recommended steps to upgrade to Exchange 2010. We also include links to the appropriate documentation that provides detailed information about each stage in the process. (Did I mention that Exchange 2003 support will soon be ending?)

Upgrading from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010

So now we’ve got you thinking about your upgrade to Exchange 2010. That’s good news. But, (you probably sensed that “but” was coming) before you get started, make sure you have a solid planning strategy in place, which includes a clear understanding of the software and hardware requirements upon which you will build your messaging system. After you've implemented a plan, you can begin the process of deploying Exchange 2010 in your organization.

What’s New in Exchange 2010

Before we get into the planning steps for your upgrade to Exchange 2010, let’s first talk about why you want to upgrade to Exchange 2010. We’ve made multiple improvements made to Exchange 2010, including, but not limited to the following:

  • New integrated archiving and discovery capabilities

  • New unified mailbox resilience model that provides high availability, disaster recovery, and back-up capabilities

  • Ability to easily delegate administration to specialized users, such the help desk or a compliance officer

  • Comprehensive information protection capabilities—from e-mail moderation to automatic e-mail encryption

  • The choice to run Exchange on-premises, as a service hosted by Microsoft, or as a hybrid of both options

  • A consistent inbox, calendaring, and contacts experience across the PC, browser, and phone

  • Integrated conversation view bringing together information across all folders, inbox, sent, and deleted items

  • Gives users the ability to remove (or "mute") themselves from irrelevant conversations with the click of a button

  • Text preview of voice mail messages in the inbox

  • New Call Answering Rules to easily create customized voice mail rules, such as call transfer options

  • MailTips to notify users about potential mistakes before they send e-mail

These improvements have pleased our customers because they’ve helped to make managing your Exchange organization easier than ever. For more information about the new features in Exchange 2010, see What's New in Exchange 2010 SP1.

Planning Your Upgrade

Now that we’ve talked about the new features in Exchange 2010, it’s time to start the planning. To design a successful Exchange 2010 messaging system, you must first understand the capabilities of the software and hardware. Specifically, you need to balance the limitations of your network infrastructure with the capabilities of your messaging system, operating system, and user software.

For detailed information about how to develop a strong planning strategy, see:

For more information about planning for Exchange 2010, see Planning for Exchange 2010.

System-Wide and Server-Specific Requirements for Exchange 2010

Before you can upgrade to Exchange 2010, your organization must meet certain requirements. Don’t worry, we’ve automated the installation of some of the Windows prerequisites, so all you have to do is select a check box in the Setup wizard and it will be completed for you. For more information about Exchange 2010 requirements, see the following resources:

Deploying Exchange 2010

You’re getting closer and closer to Exchange 2010. After developing a well-defined planning strategy, you're almost ready to upgrade to Exchange 2010.

We’ve changed the upgrade process from previous versions of Exchange. The standard method for deploying Exchange 2010 in your Exchange 2003 organization involves installing a new Exchange 2010 server into your existing Exchange 2003 organization and then moving your Exchange 2003 data to Exchange 2010. (You cannot perform an in-place upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010.)

Luckily, we’ve created a new tool that can simplify your upgrade and deployments. The Exchange Server Deployment Assistant (or ExDeploy) can help you complete this process. ExDeploy is a free Web-based tool that can help you with your Exchange deployment. ExDeploy asks you a few questions about your current environment and then generates a custom checklist and procedures that help simplify your upgrade and deployment to Exchange 2010. To try out ExDeploy for yourself, go to Exchange Server Deployment Assistant.

To the Cloud: Microsoft Office 365

Have you heard of Microsoft Office 365 yet? Office 365 delivers the power of cloud productivity to businesses of all sizes, helping to save time and money and free up valued resources. Office 365 combines the familiar Office desktop suite with online versions of Microsoft next-generation communications and collaboration services: Exchange Online, SharePoint Portal Server Online, and Lync Online. With Office 365, we provide services that are easy to administer and simple to use, always backed by robust security, reliability and control to run your business.

To use Office 365, you’ll need to upgrade your organization to Exchange 2010. You can use the ExDeploy tool that we talked about earlier to migrate from Exchange 2010 to the cloud. To learn more about Office 365, see the following information:

Time to Say Good-Bye

Well, we hope this article’s been helpful for you as you contemplate life after Exchange 2003 and think about an upgrade to Exchange 2010. After deploying your Exchange 2010 organization, you’ll be well on your way to successfully upgrading your Exchange 2003 organization. Then, you’ll be ready to secure, administer, and verify mail flow in your Exchange 2010 organization.

Happy trails with Exchange 2010. Go forth and manage!

24ee4aef-3dc3-4a8b-a737-953b41ec5ff4  Kweku Ako-Adjei, Sr. Technical Writer, Exchange Server