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I have an exchange server 2003 on a Windows 2003 server. Its a physical server on a blade in a rack. I want to migrate our Exchange server to a cloud provider. I have set up a Windows 2003 server in the cloud at our provider. They use the VMWARE environment. Just wondering if anyone can give me a guidline for the best way to migrate this server?

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Sounds like you either need an Exchange consultant or need to spend a lot of time learning about Exchange. What you're looking for sounds pretty straightforward, assuming you've got sufficient bandwidth between your existing Exchange Server computer and the "cloud provider". –  Evan Anderson Jun 27 '12 at 22:43
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1 Answer

Doing a mail migration is a fairly broad topic that requires a lot more detail than you've given to do properly. And honestly, you haven't even given us enough for advice on a general approach (coexistence migration vs cut-over migration), though I'd go out on a limb and suggest that if you only have one mail server, you're probably small enough to find a cut-over advantageous.

Also, as a "guideline," I'd say don't migrate Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2003 if you can possibly avoid it. It's a) 2 major versions old b) out of support (mainstream) and c) a steaming pile of crap compared to the newer versions. Since you're doing a "migration" anyway, you may as well migrate to Exchange 2010 and have something better to show for the hassle. If you don't, you'll end up having to do another "migration" (transition) from 2003 to 2010 anyway, so you'd be almost doubling your workload. Do it right the first time and save yourself a bunch of effort.

Other than that, you could hire a consultant to help you out for a few grand, who'd have specific advice for you, or you can try your luck at a more focused forum for Exchange migrations, like Microsoft's Exchange Server forums... but they'll also need more information than what you've given. All you'll be able to get with that information is a basic introduction to mail migrations, which you could find on Google with the right search term.

EDIT:

Based on your comment, the link below might provide you with a good direction for doing it yourself, though it's aimed at coexistence rather than cut over, so it's not exactly the same (and you might be able to find a more applicable guide yourself), but I think it'll help.

http://www.simple-talk.com/sysadmin/exchange/upgrade-exchange-2003-to-exchange-2010/

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Sorry for the lack of information. Yes it would be a cut over migration. My initial thought was to do an upgrade as well but I wanted to keep this uncomplicated as possible. I though doing a migration and upgrade would increase the complexity. I did get a quote for a consultant to help that was recomended from our cloud provider. We were quoted over ten grand for the one server with aproximately 150 users. I thought this was excessive and am now mulling over doing this myself. Wasn't looking for step by step instructions. Just a point in the right direction –  user126207 Jun 27 '12 at 17:12
    
Yeah, ten grand is a little much - if I were you, I'd see about getting another quote from somewhere else (if you know a good Exchange admin in your area who'd maybe be willing to whore himself out on the side for your project, or a smaller consulting firm eager for business, you might get a better rate). Based on my experience, a migration is a migration, and particularly with cutovers, you don't add a whole lot of complexity by migrating to a new or different mail server, just so long as you know how to setup the new version. See my edit for a guide on Exchange 2003 to 2010 migrations. –  HopelessN00b Jun 27 '12 at 17:53
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