I have a physical server that currently runs our Exchange 2007 environment on Windows Server 2008. Very small environment with only 30 mailboxes on it (all roles on this one server, nothing fancy or complicated). It's running Exchange 2007 SP2 (build 176.2). Mailbox Stores are on one physical drive (D:) and logs are on another (E:) I've never really needed to install SP3 on it but likely will during the migration.

I'd really like to move this to a virtual machine running Server 2016. I can keep using Server 2008 if suggested.

It's been a long time since I've had to migrate this exchange server (almost 10 years). I'm curious what the best practice would be? My idea is to build the virtual machine, install Exchange 2007 and update to SP3, configure it exactly the same (restoring settings from a backup would be ideal) and then copying the exchange stores over and shut down old server and take it's IP address (I'd love to steal it's hostname too for simple client migration) and put on new server (to prevent having to change firewall rules and journal information).

Eventually I plan on upgrading to Exchange 2013 or 2016 but it's not an ideal time to do so. I know Exchange 2007 is end of life on support, so I'm not even sure if I could call microsoft and pay the $500 for a support ticket if something went wrong.

  • Have you already considered and rejected moving to Office 365 instead? Running an on-prem Exchange server for only 30 people doesn't make as much sense these days. – Todd Wilcox Nov 29 '17 at 17:15
  • I've thought of it, but this server literally has cost us nothing in the last 7-8 years (except electricity). I agree it would be beneficial though. – drpcken Nov 29 '17 at 17:17
  • Just a possible perspective: how much is the server in question going to cost you starting now in terms of your labor and time to migrate away from it? In IT, you're gonna pay one way or another, sooner or later. One advantage of cloud services is that you pay up front for exactly what you use and you know all the costs. In your current situation you have an unknown risk of the server crashing and maybe losing productivity and/or data, and it's hard to put a cost on that kind of event. – Todd Wilcox Nov 29 '17 at 17:28
  • I unequivocally agree. However the plan is to migrate this exchange to a virtual server I just purchased. With that I'll have heavy redundancy and much simpler management. If I can get a couple more years out of an in-house exchange it would be highly beneficial from cost perspective. I absolutely would love to move to a host exchange solution (we don't need office suite, already have licenses) but considering I just dropped a huge expense on this hyper-converged, virtual appliance, it would make sense to me and my execs to keep this in-house a bit longer. – drpcken Nov 29 '17 at 17:33

Exchange 2007 cannot run on Windows 2016. The latest it will run on is Windows 2008 (NOT R2).

Your reason for not upgrading to SP3 isn't really good enough - patching is not an optional task, and certainly not for something as critical as email. You are basically using a product that is eight years old. Therefore you would have problems with modern browsers and OWA, ActiveSync, not forgetting the security issues.

If you as insistent on staying with Exchange 2007 then I would install SP3 on to a new machine and migrate using move mailbox. It will not take long for that number of users and as long as both the old and the new machine are up then users will redirect automatically. No need to use the same host name or IP address (plus that isn't going to work as you cannot change the name of an Exchange server once Exchange is installed). If you insist on using the same name then you would have to double migrate - once to an interim server so the old one can be removed, and then again to a new server.

Restoring from a backup is not a good idea. Most settings are stored in the domain anyway, so the only thing you have to really configure is the SSL certificate and anything server specific like Receive Connectors. Replicate the public folders then move the mailbox.

  • Hmmm I thought I read that SP3 will ONLY work with Server 2008 R2? I might be wrong. EDIT: I think I found the answer. It will install on a NEW Server 2008 R2 install, which I have setup: techgenix.com/deploying-exchange-server-2007-service-pack3 – drpcken Nov 29 '17 at 20:21
  • And thanks for the info. I discovered that Exchange 2007 can't be used on Server 2016 after I submitted this question. – drpcken Nov 29 '17 at 20:28
  • I like your approach about setting up the new server and moving mailboxes. However, when does the new server start accepting mail? I have a firewall rule that delivers mail traffic to a specific IP (ip of my current exchange server). I can change that to the new server IP when the time comes, but how will the clients know to point to the new server after I move their mailbox? Their outlook is currently configured using the FQDN of the old exchange server. – drpcken Nov 29 '17 at 20:35
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    SSL certificate? If you have your SSL certificate on the new server, then you can point all external traffic at the new server once the rollup is done. Clients will continue to work. Of course the first mailbox you move is a test one, then your own. – Sembee Nov 30 '17 at 19:37
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    The Send Connector isn't used by the clients - only by the server. If you change the source server then that is the server that sends mail to the internet - so ensure that your NAT on the firewall is correct. – Sembee Nov 30 '17 at 20:38

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