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I have ben tasked with archiving the contents of an Exchange 2010 on premises server after it has been decommissioned and all its active mailboxes moved to a hosted Exchange 2010 solution.

I have a few options:

  • set up a secondary LAN, segregated from the active one, at the server's original physical location and archive the Exchange 2010 after its two supporting Windows 2003 servers (AD controllers and DNS) have also been decommissioned (as this is when I would be able to move them onto the secondary network with the Exchange 2010).

  • move the AD and DNS onto the Windows 2008 R2 server and do the archiving offsite, which would be preferred for expedience's sake.

  • transport the 3 servers offsite and archive there - the benefit there being that I would not need to take the active LAN offline to put in a WAN side switch for the second LAN.

In my experience, archiving several hundred mailboxes to PST takes a while and many attempts at each mailbox. Knowing the condition these servers are in, I am pretty sure best practices have not been followed at initial setup and there are potential directory replication issues and other kinks.

For expedience's sake, I would prefer to get this done before the two 2003 servers are decommissioned as that may take a while. Not because of the AD and DNS but because of other services still running on those servers that need to be moved.

My question is, in a non production environment that only needs to exist long enough for me to extract the mailboxes into PST archives, would it be a possibility to configure AD and DNS on the same server Exchange 2010 is running on?

If that sounds like more trouble than physically moving the supporting servers or setting up a secondary network at the original location, I will heed that advice. I am already leaning towards not attempting to move AD and DNS onto the Exchange 2010, but am putting this out there just in case I am wrong and this is not as big a pain as I am assuming it would be.

Thanks for any input from the Exchange/AD veterans out there...

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I'm trying hard to find your question in there and not coming up with it. I can't wrap my mind around the phrase "take the active LAN offline to put in a WAN side switch for the second LAN", for example. You have working DCs and a working Exchange Server machine. Export the mailboxes. Why is there a "secondary network"? Do you have some kind of name conflict with the new off-premise Exchange environment? –  Evan Anderson Feb 16 '13 at 2:34
    
Yes, for one, the autodiscover DNS records point to the new hosted exchange servers. Secondly, the AD Win 2003 servers are still in use on the active LAN for other purposes (DNS and others). My plan was to set up a secondary network where I can manipulate the DNS whatever way I need to to simulate the old environment locally without disturbing the new one. My question is whether it makes any sense to attempt to implement AD on the Exchange server. I know this is not best practice in production - would it be passable for this purpose or will it plain not work on the same server w Exchange 2010? –  zentech Feb 16 '13 at 3:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Thanks for the comment clarifying the question.

I'd try to keep the Exchange Server computer as intact as possible. If I were in your shoes I'd:

  • Bring up a VM or physical machine running Windows Server 2003 or 2008 R2
  • Join that machine to the existing domain and promote it to a Domain Controller (DC)
  • Configure this temporary DC as a DNS and Global Catalog server and allow replication to converge
  • Disconnect the temporary DC from the production network and isolate it and the Exchange Server computer together on their own LAN, configuring the Exchange Server computer to use the temporary DC for DNS
  • In the production network, perform a metadata cleanup to remove references to the temporary DC

This will leave you with the temporary DC holding a full copy of the AD that you can alter to fit your needs for export, and preserves the configuration of the Exchange Server computer as much as possible.

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Excellent - duh - didn't consider a VM when that is definitely the best option here! And I could put the VM onto the Exchange server, couldn't I? Or do you believe I should put it onto another piece of hardware? –  zentech Feb 16 '13 at 17:08
    
the production network no longer uses the AD domain at all, it exists but is idle. so I could skip the last step, the metadata cleanup? –  zentech Feb 16 '13 at 17:09

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