A greater understanding of what tasks these two utilities perform is crucial to understanding the Exchange deployment process as a whole.
Extending the Active Directory schema
To extend the Active Directory schema, Exchange Setup relies on the capabilities of the /forestprep switch, which can be invoked via the Exchange Deployment Tools. Running the ForestPrep procedure requires that the account invoking the command have Schema Admin privileges in the schema root domain because the command extends the Active Directory schema to support the attributes that Exchange Server 2003 requires. The schema extension is quite extensive, and the changes are replicated to all domain controllers in the Active Directory forest. This might require special consideration into replication issues if the AD forest is large and spread out across slow replication links.
Preparing the Windows Server 2003 domains to support Exchange Server 2003
The Active Directory domains that will host Exchange servers or mailbox-enabled users must be prepared before installing the first Exchange Server 2003 system. Prepare the Windows Server 2003 domains using the /domainprep switch, also invoked via the Exchange Deployment Tools. The /domainprep process configures the Recipient Update Service parameters, which are responsible for keeping Exchange address lists up-to-date and for creating proxy addresses for users based on recipient policy addressing configuration. In addition, it creates the Exchange Server 2003 -- specific groups that allow Exchange services to run without a service account.
Verifying the organization settings with OrgPrepCheck
Exchange Server 2003 introduces a new utility named OrgPrepCheck to validate that the ForestPrep and DomainPrep utilities were functionally successful. The OrgPrepCheck utility is invoked via the Exchange Deployment Tools and is a recommended way of determining whether it is safe to proceed with the migration process.
Migrating from Exchange Server 5.5 to 2003 -- 11 tips in 11 minutes
Tip 1: Comparing Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 and 2003
Tip 2: Prerequisites for migrating to Exchange Server 2003
Tip 3: Structuring an Exchange migration for the best results
Tip 4: Preparing the Active Directory forest and domain
Tip 5: Installing and configuring the Active Directory Connector
Tip 6: Installing the first Exchange 2003 system in a 5.5 site
Tip 7: Understanding Exchange 2003 mailbox migration methods
Tip 8: Migrating Exchange Server 5.5 public folders to 2003
Tip 9: Migrating Exchange 5.5 connectors and services to 2003
Tip 10: Completing the migration to Exchange Server 2003
Tip 11: Best practices for migrating from Exchange 5.5 to 2003
This chapter excerpt from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Unleashed, by Rand Morimoto, is printed with permission from Pearson Education, Copyright 2005. Click here for the chapter download or purchase the book here.