Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, July 19, 2002

Jerry Cochran examines the methods for switching Exchange Server 5.5 systems to new hardware. Also, find out about Exchange resources and products.

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July 19, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Case Study: Retrofitting Exchange 5.5 with New Hardware

2. NEW AND VIEWS

  • Steve Ballmer Discusses Exchange 2000 "Titanium" at Fusion 2002
  • Submit Top Product Ideas

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Do You Like the Kind of Content You're Finding in This Newsletter?
  • Enter the Windows & .NET Magazine/Transcender Sweepstakes!

4. RESOURCES

  • Exchange HOW TO: Use Exchange Server 5.5 Mailbox Manager with Exchange 2000 in Exchange 2000 Server
  • Featured Thread: Backup Set Canceled

5. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Continue Business-Critical Operations Without Interruption

6. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by Jerry Cochran, News Editor, [email protected])

  • CASE STUDY: RETROFITTING EXCHANGE 5.5 WITH NEW HARDWARE

  • Hardware vendors are constantly pushing new hardware technology, a push that's often backed by application requirements and customer demand. In light of these continuous hardware advances, you might find yourself facing a particularly challenging problem: retrofitting your Exchange Server 5.5 systems. Last week, I went on site with a customer to replace Exchange 5.5 hardware, and in this case, we needed to accomplish the task with minimal downtime. We didn't have the luxury of simply backing up the Exchange 5.5 servers, then recovering the Information Store (IS) to the new servers. How we handled this challenge is the subject of this week's UPDATE. (Next week, I'll discuss the same topic for Exchange 2000 Server.)

    The two basic approaches to upgrading hardware for Exchange 5.5 are the Forklift approach and the Move Mailbox approach. The Forklift approach is more work and requires a greater amount of downtime. The Microsoft article "XADM: How to Move Exchange Server to a New Computer with the Same Name" (see the first URL at the end of the Commentary) documents this approach. In a nutshell, the procedure involves backing up the Exchange data directories (e.g., IS, Directory Service—DS, Message Transfer Agent—MTA) on one existing Exchange computer, then transferring the directories to the new computer. You then bring up the new installation with the same name, organization, and site as the old Exchange server. The new installation will accept the data from the old Exchange server relatively easily (through the use of tools such as the DS/IS Consistency Checker and the Isinteg utility). Depending on how quickly you can accomplish the tasks outlined in Microsoft's procedure, the server can be operational in a reasonable amount of time. The disk subsystem that you use with an Exchange server has a huge effect on this procedure. For example, if your Exchange server attaches to a Storage Area Network (SAN), you can simply move the SAN LUNs from the old server to the new server. If your Exchange server boots from the SAN, your prospects are even brighter because you might be able simply to swap servers and reboot (depending on the server hardware configuration, of course). However, the Forklift approach isn't my favorite method because of potential downtime and a complex backout procedure.

    The Move Mailbox approach is less risky than the Forklift approach and is by far my favorite way to solve the hardware-retrofit challenge. The Microsoft article "XADM: Differences Between Move Mailbox Methods" (see the second URL at the end of the Commentary) documents the procedure, which involves little downtime and is easy to back out from if you encounter problems. Using this procedure, you bring new hardware into the environment as an additional Exchange 5.5 server in the same site as the existing Exchange server. After you add the new Exchange server to the site, you simply move user mailboxes from the old server to the new system. The only downtime a user experiences is during the time you move his or her mailbox. In addition, even though users are on a new server, their Messaging API (MAPI) profiles are automatically updated as long as the old Exchange server is still available. After you successfully make the transition for all users and data, you can safely decommission or redeploy the old server.

    Regardless of the approach you choose, you need to carefully plan and test your retrofit procedure. For example, when you plan to use the Forklift approach, you need to understand how long it will take to perform the retrofit operations, all of which will constitute downtime. When you use the Move Mailbox approach, you need to know how long it takes to move a mailbox and plan the moves accordingly to minimize user downtime. Weigh your options, plan carefully, and test thoroughly to make this task a success.

    "XADM: How to Move Exchange Server to a New Computer with the Same Name"
    "XADM: Differences Between Move Mailbox Methods"


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    2. NEWS AND VIEWS
    (contributed by Jerry Cochran, News Editor, [email protected] and Carolyn Mader, [email protected])

  • STEVE BALLMER DISCUSSES EXCHANGE 2000 "TITANIUM" AT FUSION 2002

  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer publicly discussed the next upgrade of Exchange 2000 Server (code-named Titanium and scheduled for release in 2003) for the first time this week at Microsoft's Fusion 2002 conference in Los Angeles. Titanium is based on current Exchange 2000 technology and therefore won't represent an architectural shift. The new product will continue to use Active Directory (AD) and the Exchange Store and will tout key features that include support for Windows .NET and Windows 2000, database snapshots, enhanced clustering, and integration of MIS and Outlook Mobile Access (OMA). For more information, go to the following URL:
    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2002/jul02/07-15exchangeqa.asp

  • SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS

  • Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • DO YOU LIKE THE KIND OF CONTENT YOU'RE FINDING IN THIS NEWSLETTER?

  • If so, we have more than a dozen email newsletters just as informative as this one on the topics you care about most. From Windows 2000/NT to security to storage, our technical authors cut to the chase about what's going on in the industry so that you can stay informed in less than 5 minutes a day! Subscribe for free!
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  • Nothing can help you prepare for certification like Transcender products, and no one can help you master your job like Windows & .NET Magazine. Enter our combined sweepstakes contest, and you could win a Transcender Deluxe MCSE Core Pak (a $569 value) or one of several other great prizes. Sign up today!
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    4. RESOURCES

  • EXCHANGE HOW TO: USE EXCHANGE SERVER 5.5 MAILBOX MANAGER WITH EXCHANGE 2000 IN EXCHANGE 2000 SERVER

  • Each week, Microsoft posts several Exchange Server how-to articles to its Knowledge Base. This week, learn how to clean Exchange 2000 Server mailboxes that use the Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 3 (SP3) Mailbox Manager program.
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q276485

  • FEATURED THREAD: BACKUP SET CANCELED

  • Gin is running into problems using VERITAS Software's Backup Exec 8.6 rev 3808 with the Exchange Server agent to back up Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 4 (SP4), running on Windows NT 4.0 SP6a. The backups aren't flushing the log files, and the Application log is showing event ID 57920 with the message, "Backup is already active." To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:
    http://www.exchangeadmin.com/forums/thread.cfm?cfapp=72&thread_id=109507&mc=1

    5. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Bob Kretschman, [email protected])

  • CONTINUE BUSINESS-CRITICAL OPERATIONS WITHOUT INTERRUPTION

  • SteelEye Technology released the LifeKeeper for Exchange Application Recovery Kit, software that automatically recovers client connectivity and core services such as the Message Transfer Agent (MTA), Routing Engine, and SMTP when an Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 5.5 system fails. The product lets business-critical operations continue without interruption and requires just one additional server to back up four Exchange servers. For pricing and other information, contact SteelEye Technology at 877-319-0108 or 650-318-0108.
    http://www.steeleye.com

    6. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

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    Thank you for reading Exchange & Outlook UPDATE.

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