Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 entered the market on September 28, 2003 and continued the great messaging and collaboration experience that Microsoft Exchange Server had provided in previous releases. As we approach April 8, 2014, we want to inform users of Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 of the opportunities you have as we near the end of support for that version of Exchange.

We have been told by a variety of customers that some of the top concerns of businesses today involve data security, compliance, eDiscovery, mobile devices use / bring-your-own-device, and IT management. While Exchange 2003 was a leader in messaging space, its decade old capabilities may not meet the needs of a modern business. Exchange Online or Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 provide an updated, modern solution that address these top concerns and provide additional capabilities to meet your business needs. In comparing versions of Exchange Server, you will quickly see all of the benefits of moving to the current version of the platform.

The process to move from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 on-premises is a two-step migration.  There is no native, direct migration path from Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange 2013 on premises; it must be done in stages.  For an Exchange Online migration, you can use the Migration dashboard in the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) to migrate mailboxes and mail content from an on-premises messaging system (including Exchange 2003) to Exchange Online and your Office 365 organization. You can migrate mailboxes and mailbox data from Exchange 2013, Exchange 2010, Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2003, or migrate mailbox data from an IMAP messaging system.

The migration plan should address immediate needs but should also focus directly on the future of your messaging platform. Please use the information and resources below to help you make a decision that meets all of your needs.

The Exchange 2003 Migration Tool Kit

Exchange Server Deployment Assistant:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee681665(v=exchg.141).aspx

Exchange 2003 - Planning Roadmap for Upgrade and Coexistence
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998186(v=exchg.141).aspx

*Many other migration references linked from this topic*

Depending on your choices in the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant you may elect to migrate to Exchange 2013 on-premises via Exchange 2010, or you may elect to migrate directly to our Office 365 hosted Exchange environment. The references linked at the end of this post provide more information on specific migration scenarios and coexistence with both Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013.

Coexistence of Exchange 2013 and earlier versions of Exchange Server:

Exchange version Exchange 2013 organization coexistence
Exchange Server 2003 and earlier versions Not supported

Exchange 2007

At this time, supported with the following versions of Exchange:

Minimum Update Rollup 13 for Exchange 2007 Service Pack 3 (SP3) on all Exchange 2007 servers in the organization, including Edge Transport servers.

The latest Cumulative Update or Service Pack for Exchange 2013 on all Exchange 2013 servers in the organization.

Exchange 2010

At this time, supported with the following versions of Exchange:

Exchange 2010 SP3 and latest Update Rollup on all Exchange 2010 servers in the organization, including Edge Transport servers.

The latest Cumulative Update or Service Pack for Exchange 2013 on all Exchange 2013 servers in the organization.

Mixed Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007 organization

At this time, supported with the following versions of Exchange:

Minimum Update Rollup 13 for Exchange 2007 SP3 on all Exchange 2007 servers in the organization, including Edge Transport servers..

Exchange 2010 SP3 and latest Update Rollup on all Exchange 2010 servers in the organization, including Edge Transport servers.

The latest Cumulative Update or Service Pack for Exchange 2013 on all Exchange 2013 servers in the organization.

On-premises Exchange organization

Hybrid deployments can be configured for on-premises Exchange 2007-based organizations or later. For Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 organizations, at least one Exchange 2013 Client Access and one Exchange 2013 Mailbox server must be installed in the on-premises organization to run the Hybrid Configuration wizard and support Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployment functionality. We recommend combining the Exchange 2013 Client Access and Mailbox server roles on a single server when configuring hybrid deployments with Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 environments. All on-premises Exchange 2013 servers must have installed the latest CU or Service Pack (whichever is newer) for Exchange 2013 to support hybrid functionality with Office 365.

For a complete listing of Exchange Server and Office 365 for enterprises tenant hybrid deployment compatibility, see the requirements listed in the following table for Exchange 2013-based and Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments.

On-premises environment Exchange 2010-based hybrid with tenant version v14 Exchange 2010-based hybrid with tenant version v15 Exchange 2013-based hybrid with tenant version v15
Exchange 2013 latest CU Not supported*1 Not applicable Supported
Exchange 2010 SP3 Supported Supported Supported*5
Exchange 2010 SP2 Supported Not supported*2 Not supported
Exchange 2010 SP1 Supported Not supported*2 Not supported
Exchange 2007 SP3 RU13 or later Supported*3 Supported*4 Supported*5
Exchange 2007 SP3 Supported*3 Not Supported Not Supported
Exchange 2003 SP2 Supported*3 Supported*4 Not Supported

Notes:

1 - Blocked in Exchange 2013 setup
2 - Tenant upgrade notification provided in Exchange Management Console
3 - Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2010 SP2 server
4 - Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2010 SP3 server
5 - Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2013 CU1 or greater (recommended) server

Office 365 for Enterprises  

An Office 365 for enterprises tenant and administrator account and user licenses must be available on the tenant service to configure a hybrid deployment. The Office 365 tenant version must be 15.0.000.0 or greater to configure a hybrid deployment with Exchange 2013. Additionally, your Office 365 tenant status must not be transitioning between service versions. For a complete summary, see the preceding table. To verify your Office 365 tenant version and status, see Verify Office 365 tenant version and status here.

For Microsoft Premier customers who are interested in a more hands-on assisted approach, Microsoft has a workshop offering (EMRA – Exchange Migration Readiness Assessment).  We know that your company relies on Microsoft for reliable and secure business communication and collaboration. To ensure your users experience optimal levels of performance and availability during the migration period, Microsoft Services has created the Migrations Readiness Assessments.

Customized for your business, the Exchange Migration Readiness Assessment will provide an in-depth analysis of Active Directory and current Exchange environment for focus on readiness for a transition Exchange Server 2010 deployment.

A final report will be provided summarizing the key findings as well as key metrics collected from the environment, capturing the state of the current environment and its overall deployment readiness.

Focused on your IT needs, the Exchange Server 2010 Migration Readiness Assessments make up a 4 day on-site engagement that prepares both your data center and IT staff for a successful migration. We created the assessment to meet your specific needs focusing on the following areas:

  • Proactive analysis of your on-premises messaging environment.
  • Focused and tailored knowledge transfer to enable and prepare your IT staff.
  • A detailed report of your current on-premises deployment.
  • Key planning metrics to accelerate migration and deployment.
  • Documented roadmap to enable worry free migration.
  • Optional component to evaluate readiness to support Exchange Online features.
  • Accelerate Migration and Maximize Adoption

Microsoft Services delivers a comprehensive assessment of your current environment in preparation for a smooth migration. Exchange Server 2010 Migrations Readiness Assessment significantly reduces your exposure to costly mistakes and delays that can impact your end users’ experience with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

For more information about consulting and support offerings from Microsoft, contact your Microsoft Services representative or visit www.microsoft.com/services.

References

Understanding Upgrade to Exchange 2010
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998604(v=exchg.141).aspx

Understanding Upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff805040(v=exchg.141).aspx

Understanding Upgrade from Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff805036(v=exchg.141).aspx

Checklist: Upgrading from Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff805038(v=exchg.141).aspx

Upgrading Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2007
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh757966.aspx

Common Mistakes When Upgrading Exchange 2000/2003 To a Exchange 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555854

Upgrading Exchange ActiveSync to Exchange 2010
http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2009/12/08/upgrading-exchange-activesync-to-exchange-2010.aspx

MCS team blog:  Prepare client side environment to Upgrade from Exchange 2003/2007 to Exchange 2010
http://blogs.technet.com/b/meamcs/archive/2010/12/19/prepare-client-side-environment-to-upgrade-from-exchange-2003-to-exchange-2010.aspx

Upgrade from Exchange 2003 Mailbox
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd638113(v=exchg.141).aspx

How to Remove the Last Legacy Exchange Server from an Organization
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb288905.aspx

How to remove the first Exchange Server 2003 computer from the administrative group
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822931

For SBS customers:  Guided Walk-Through of How to Remove the Last Legacy Exchange Server from an Organization in a SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 Migration
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/2263.remove-the-last-legacy-exchange-server.aspx

How to Uninstall Exchange Server 2003
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb125110(v=EXCHG.65).aspx

How to migrate mailbox data by using the Exchange Admin Center in Office 365
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2798131/en-gb

Outlook.com Help | How to perform an Exchange 2003 cutover migration to the Office 365 Cloud
http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/ms.exch.ecp.emailmigrationwizardexchangelearnmore.aspx

Outlook.com Help | How to perform an Exchange 2003  staged migration to the Office 365 Cloud
http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/ff959224.aspx

Microsoft Product support lifecycle information by product family
http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/default.aspx?LN=en-us&c2=730&x=15&y=9

For all of the YouTube fans, there are numerous Exchange MVP and community contributors who have published hundreds of videos with guided walk-through for Exchange 2003 migration scenarios which may be helpful to review:  http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=exchange+2003+migration+to+exchange+2010&sm=3

Chris Lineback, Ed Grant
Premier Field Engineers