Whether to Upgrade to Exchange 2010

Many organizations are still running Exchange 2003 and it is working well. Exchange 2007 is the current active release, and Exchange 2010 will be released at the end of 2009.

Should E2003 users upgrade to E2007, or simply wait and upgrade directly to E2010, skipping E2007 altogether? The key issues are:

  • What is the age of the hardware currently supporting your E2003 environment? Can your existing hardware provide good email service until you move to Exchange 2010?
  • What are your budget constraints? Can you afford to purchase Exchange 2007 CALs this year and then purchase new CALs again for Exchange 2010?
  • Can you afford the staff resources to perform the Exchange 2007 migration now and then repeat the process again in 2010?
  • Do you require support for unified communications now, or can you wait until 2010?
  • Do you need the storage archiving capabilities that Exchange 2010 now includes?
  • Do you need the simplified high availability capabilities inherent in Exchange 2010 Database Availability Groups (DAGs)?

When you eventually upgrade to Exchange 2010, you will require new server hardware, so plan accordingly.

Bob Spurzem

One Comment

  1. Nick Shelness
    Posted May 17, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    Four brief clarifications.

    1. The issue is not the age of server hardware per se, but whether existing servers can run in 64 bit (X64) mode, and the maximum amount of RAM they can support. Running in 64 bit mode (X64 but not Itanium) is an Exchange 2007 and 2010 requirement. So is supporting the minimum amount of RAM required (2GB + 5 MB per user).

    2. Exchange 2007 supports high availability operation. It just becomes much simpler to administer under Exchange 2010.

    3. Exchange 2010 is able to employ much cheaper (1/10th the cost per bit, though slower and less reliable) IDE as opposed to SCSI disks (see our earlier posting – http://email-museum.com/2009/04/15/exchange-2010-exciting-message-store-performance-and-redundancy-improvements/). IDE reliability is achieved through through replicating mail databases across additional shared-nothing Exchange 2010 servers as opposed to RAID arrays. If a server upgrade is required when migrating from Exchange 2003, then it makes sense to skip Exchange 2007 and wait for Exchange 2010.

    4. Exchange 2010 is able to support many more users than Exchange 2007, which was in turn able to support many more users than Exchange 2003. This is due to significantly (60-70%) reducing the amount of disk I/O performed performed in these releases when compared to their predecessors.

  2. Posted February 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    I had just performed an exchange 2003 to exchange 2010 migration. First off, this went flawless! I was so happy with the outcome. As many of you know, Exchange 2010 requires 64 bit OS. THEREFORE, I started the projected by creating a new 64-bit Windows 2008 enterprise server and a new windows 2008 64 bit enterprise domain controller in an existing 2003 active directory environment. First, let me say that you have to run adprep off the 2008 cd on your DC that holds your fsmo roles. I installed exchange 2010 and brought up a new BES 5.0.2 server as I thought this would be an excellent time to refresh corporate blackberry users. I love this version of exchange! I was running co-existence mode until the migration was complete and then I uninstalled exchange 2003 from my environment and retired that old clunky exchange server. Let me say that despite the noise about making your client access and mailbox role a VM. I had no issue doing this, as I am a huge VMware and virtualization fan. I have had no issue with my cas, hub, and mailbox roles all in one VM with zero performance issues. One thing I do not like is that by design store.exe is now a memory hog! However, there are parameters that you can use in adsiedit.msc where you can limit the memory usage of store.exe that work great! All in all the only complaint I got was from the helpdesk, as they cannot install Exchange management tools on their desktops because they run 32 bit OS. I told them to upgrade their desktop OS to 64 bit so they can run the tools. I know they make some third party management tools that allow your helpdesk to still perform common exchange tasks but I am NOT a big third party fan. If anyone has any questions about more details about my migration from exchange 2003 to 2010 I will be more than happy to answer them. In addition, when you plan your exchange 2010 rollout one big thing to remember here is give yourself plenty of space for the info store lun as exchange 2010 does NOT like to have less than 2 gb free space of the store lun or luns. If it goes below 2 GB mail will stop flowing and will not flow again until you free up some space.

    Frank Bicocchi

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