Taking in consideration the recent extension of the end of support from Microsoft on the Exchange Server 2010 from January 2020 to October 2020 makes it a little bit calm if you are still with the 2010 version. Thou if you are still running the Exchange Server 2010 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, you should note that the operating system’s end of support was not extended and will still end in January 2020. So, if you are running on a newer operating system like Windows Server 2012 R2 with Exchange 2010 you are safe till next October, but if you are still running Windows Server 2008 R2 with Exchange 2010, your operating system will be out of support in January and still be forced to migrate.
This doesn’t mean that your operating system or Exchange Server will stop working, but you won’t get any support from Microsoft and no more security and other updates to the system. This means that you will be exposed. For this reason it’s always ideal to keep up with the supported versions and Microsoft recommendations is to go for the Exchange Server 2019.
For mailbox migration, you may manually export the mailboxes from Exchange database to PSTs and then import them to a new server. This can take several hours. To save time and quickly migrate mailboxes to the new Exchange server, you can use an EDB to PST Converter tool, such as Stellar Converter for EDB. The software lets you extract all mailboxes from an Exchange database (EDB) file and save them in PST format. It also lets you export the mailboxes directly to a Live Exchange server in a few clicks.
Why migrate to Exchange 2019? There are reasons why a company would keep a local mail server rather than going to cloud services such as Office 365 which could be for security or regulation obligation like storing their business’s data locally. Exchange 2019 has recently been released so the life time of the application is longer and with the claims of Microsoft, Exchange 2019 is their most reliable version ever.
Let’s go through the things to take in consideration and the requirements to have Exchange Server 2019 in your infrastructure but first let’s go through them one by one.
With Exchange Server 2019 we have a problem with co-existence. What does this mean to us? This means that you cannot have an Exchange Server 2010 along with an Exchange Server 2019 on the same Active Directory. In this case you would need to make a hop installation to Exchange Server 2016 before migrating to Exchange Server 2019. You need to install an Exchange 2016 Server, migrate to it, decommission the Exchange 2010, install Exchange 2019 and then decommission the Exchange 2016. If you are still running Windows 2008 R2, then you can install Exchange 2016 Server on it; but when migrating to Exchange Server 2019 you must take all the other factors in consideration before.
With Exchange 2019 you need to upgrade the Active Directory schema as Active Directory forest functional level must be of Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher. If your Active Directory servers are Windows 2008 R2, then you must take in consideration the migration to a newer operating system. In this case you must take in consideration also the cost of the migration with regards to time/resource and also licenses for the new operating systems. You must also look into hardware requirements if you are going for Windows Server 2019 as you might look also into replacing your current hardware if it’s nearing the end of maintenance or support apart from if the hardware is up to the recommended specifications
Operating System/ Hardware
As said above and as per requirements of Microsoft, Exchange 2019 is only supported on a Windows Server 2019 Standard or Datacenter. The cost of the operating system and the hardware support must be highly taken in consideration because you will end up with a failing Exchange Server if the hardware is either unstable or not capable of handling the load. As said before you might check into the maintenance agreements with the server/ storage supplier to see the end of maintenance date and possible hardware upgrades.
If you are running an Exchange Server 2019, you need to make an inventory of the Microsoft Office installations and upgrade all clients which are running a Microsoft Office 2010 or lower. The only supported clients are from Microsoft Office 2013 or newer.
If you have a Lync Server 2010/2013 or Skype for Business Server with Exchange 2019, Microsoft has discontinued the support for Unified Messaging (UM). This means that you will lose the feature to save voicemails in your mailboxes. You will need to find alternatives to this service like CX-E or Azure Voicemail on Office 365.
As said, there is huge effort in the migration which needs clever planning and resources in case of the right people and skills, hardware, licenses and of course time. Firstly migrating to Exchange Server 2016 and then to Exchange Server 2019 is an administrative effort in both your admin people and the users; plus it will take a considerate amount of time.
Another option would be to install the new domain controller, raise the forest level to 2012 R2, install a member server with Windows Server 2019, decide on a cut off data, export all data from the Exchange Server, decommission your Exchange Server 2010, install Exchange Server 2019 on the new server and import all the mailboxes. This would be risky as if you forgot to export a particular mailbox you cannot natively export from an EDB file and of course there is no rollback just in case something goes wrong. Taking point that there will be downtime and you would need to find a holiday and a lot of resources to get this done ASAP so few emails are lost.
In this particular scenario, you would need to prepare the new Active Directory servers and the Windows Server 2019 that will host your new Exchange Server. Decide on a day of the cut-off. Take a backup of your EDB files, install the new Exchange Server and then use Stellar Converter for EDB to export the mailboxes from the EDB file directly to the new Exchange Server while automatically matching or creating the mailboxes automatically in your Exchange infrastructure. Stellar Converter for EDB is your companion tool that will reduce drastically the migration effort while having the peace of mind that you can always open the EDB file and export the desired mailbox or public folder to PST and other formats.
Steps to Migrate from Exchange 2010 to 2019
Once all mailboxes have migrated, uninstall Exchange 2010 from the current server and then decommission the server. Now Your Exchange Server migration is complete.
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