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Ten things to know before you migrate to Exchange 2010

If your organization wants to migrate off Exchange 2003, here's what you need to know about Exchange 2010.

Microsoft recently ended support for Exchange Server 2003, causing some organizations to think about upgrading to a supported version. This series covers supported Exchange Server versions and highlights what Exchange 2010 offers.

It's possible to directly migrate from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 if you're looking for a fairly simple migration, says Michael Van Horenbeeck, Exchange MVP and SearchExchange contributor. The process is quite similar to that of migrating from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007, he said. This includes having servers with the same names and roles in Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010, but there are some minor differences. Microsoft details the specifics of what the migration entails in this TechNet entry.

Before you migrate to Exchange 2010, there are some important considerations. We'll look at some of the features and capabilities your organization can expect after a migration as well as ways to ensure a smooth migration.

1. Features bring Exchange 2010 to the next level

If you migrate to Exchange 2010, your organization can plan on using one of five service offerings. These offerings give you options for improving a number of your organization's capabilities, including scalability, disaster recovery and performance.

2. Unified Messaging receives a boost

Although UM was available in Exchange 2007, Microsoft improved it in Exchange 2010. Organizations that want to implement UM can take advantage of capabilities such as voice message transcription and rules for answering calls.

3. Exchange 2010 includes improvements to high availability

One of the major improvements in Exchange 2010 is how the server can handle high availability. One particular feature as well as cluster size changes can make high availability an attainable goal for organizations.

4. Forefront Protection for Exchange 2010 deserves your attention

Microsoft included upgrades in this version of Forefront Protection as well as features that give your organization options in how it keeps Exchange secure.

5. OWA receives a new name and additional features

If you migrate to Exchange 2010, you'll have to add some words to your OWA vocabulary. Outlook Web Access became the Outlook Web App, and the Options portion of OWA became the Exchange Control Panel.

6. Clustering gets a makeover

One major change in Exchange 2010 is that the clustered mailbox server is gone. Admins need to create a database availability group instead, which allows for more flexibility as you build site resiliency and high availability.

7. Multi-mailbox searches and legal hold features are added

Exchange 2010 gives organizations the capability to implement two features: legal holds and multi-mailbox searches. But before implementing either feature, you'll have to know which command lines to use and which end users to add.

8. Considerations to make before you migrate to Exchange 2010

Before making the jump from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010, learn the differences between the two Exchange Server versions to make sure the migration is a success. Changes to recovery, archiving and storage are especially important to know.

9. Five important parts to remember about an Exchange 2010 migration

Planning for an Exchange 2010 migration can leave organizations so busy that they forget to acknowledge these five important parts of the migration.

10. Migrate to Exchange 2010 in 12 steps

You're officially upgrading to Exchange 2010 -- now what? Follow these 12 steps as a general guide for how the migration will proceed. Be sure to allow for specific tasks your organization needs to take into account, and remember they may require additional steps.

Next Steps

This is part two in a series about upgrading Exchange Server 2003 deployments. If you're migrating from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007, click here for part one.

Stay tuned for part three, which covers migrating from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013.

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Which version of Exchange Server is your organization currently running? Please explain.
2003 planning to migrate to 2010
Thanks for your input, btempleton! What was it about Exchange 2010 that appealed to you more than other versions? 
You can't migrate directly from 2003 to 2013.  2010 only adds one extra step.  
That's true. Some orgs may consider double-hop migrations to move from 2003 to 2013 (those get a brief mention in an Exchange 2013 migration feature we're working on for next month), but simplicity is often the best policy when it comes to migrations. Thanks for your insight!