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How to Move Exchange Server VM to New Physical Server?


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    Summary: You may need to move a virtual machine running with Exchange Server to a new hypervisor server or a new physical machine due to different reasons. In this guide, we will be discussing the stepwise process to move the Exchange Server VM to a new physical server.

    You may need to move the Exchange Server running on a virtual machine to another server for multiple reasons. Here are some of the common ones:

    • The current hypervisor is out of support or end of life.
    • The current hypervisor resources cannot be upgraded to more power.
    • Issues with the operating system of the hypervisor.
    • Load balancing from one hypervisor to another.

    Whatever the reason, this guide will help you to easily move the Exchange Server VM to a new physical server.

    Process to Move Exchange Server VM to New Physical Server

    Below, we will discuss the step-by-step process to move the Exchange Server virtual machine to another server.

    Step 1: Fulfil the Prerequisites

    When moving a virtual machine to another server, you need to consider a few things. It is recommended to have two hypervisors set on the same operating system and of the same version. Ideally, these would be in a cluster so the machine can be moved from one host to another with minimal impact. If a cluster is enabled, you should have a Storage Area Network (SAN) and both machines share the storage. This means that both the machines only have the resources and the virtual machine is stored in the Storage Area Network (SAN).

    If you have a standalone Hyper-V server and you are moving to a new Hyper-V server, then consider the following things:

    • A machine cannot be moved directly. It needs to be exported and then imported into the new hypervisor.
    • When exporting or moving the virtual machine, it must be turned off. This means a considerable amount of downtime and possible data/business loss.
    • The co-existence matrix of the current hypervisor needs to be taken into consideration. For example, you cannot export and import a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V machine into a Windows Server 2022 Hyper-V machine. You need to install an interim Hyper-V machine. This will take a lot of time.

    Step 2: Check Compatibility and Storage

    You need to check the compatibility between the current infrastructure and the new one. Any compatibility issue can lead to the process failure. After this, you should also check the storage and computing of the current infrastructure. If there are any performance issues with the storage, memory, or CPU, then this could slow down the process (in case the hypervisor is a standalone machine).

    Step 3: Take the Backup

    It is highly recommended to take a full backup of the server before the migration and post the migration. This will ensure the recoverability of the server and the data in case something goes wrong.

    Step 4: Export and Import the Virtual Machine

    After fulfilling the above requirements, you can now proceed to move (export and then import) the Exchange Server VM to the new server. Here are the steps:

    Note: Here we’re discussing the process of moving from a standalone Hyper-V server to a new standalone Hyper-V server.

    • Open the Hyper-V Manager and locate the virtual machine. Right-click on the machine and click on Export.
    Hyper V Manager
    • Set the destination of the export. Ideally, this will be a local storage on the server or a reliable network location.
    • After selecting the destination, click on Export.
    Set the destination of the export
    • Once the export is complete, copy all the data to the new Hyper-V server. Open the Hyper-V Manager, from the right pane, click on Import Virtual Machine. Click Next
    Import Virtual Machine
    • Locate the folder of the export and click Next.
    Locate folder
    • Select the machine and click on Next.
    • Now, select the type of import.
    Select the type of import

    This will start the import process. It will take some time if you are copying from a network attached storage or a different site

    Note: If you have a Hyper-V cluster, the move request can be a little bit different, since the compute will only be moved. You need to change the owner and the server, which is operating the virtual machine.

    To Conclude

    Above, we have explained the process of moving a virtual machine from one server to another. If everything is fine, the process will be successful. However, there are many things that could go wrong during or after the process. It might happen the operating system won’t boot or the backup will not function or not fully compatible with the Exchange Server. You can rebuild the server and restore the databases but this will take a considerable amount of time and effort.

    To make the move easier and with minimum downtime, you could setup a new virtual machine, install Exchange Server, and import the data using a specialized tool, such as Stellar Converter for EDB. With this tool, you can easily open EDB file from any version of Exchange Server. You can browse the data store and granularly export the data to PST and other files. You can export the EDB file data directly to a live Exchange Server with ease and complete precision.

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    About The Author

    Shelly Bhardwaj linkdin

    I am a Product Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 8 years. I write about the latest technology tips and provide custom solutions related to Exchange Server, Office 365, MS Outlook, and many other Email Clients & different flavors of OS Servers. Read More

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