Thursday, 3 July 2014

How to perform direct migration from one Live Server to another

Migrating Exchange mailboxes from one Exchange server to another is a common requirement that most of Exchange administrators have to deal with. MS Exchange allows moving mailboxes from one Exchange server to another if both source and destination servers are members of the same Organization and Administrative Group. Another criterion is that destination servers must belong to the same version as the source server or a higher Exchange version.

As far as migration itself is concerned, it can be achieved by simply copy-paste operation between source and destination server. You can copy the mailbox database and paste it in the destination server’s storage group. In this case you will be required to re-create the links between mailboxes and Active Directory user accounts after copying the mailbox database. 
This is, however, is not the Microsoft’s recommended way of migrating mailboxes from one Exchange server to another. To achieve this objective, a functionality called “Move Mailbox” has been made available to the users. Move Mailbox feature can migrate mailboxes from one server to another with minimum interruption at the user’s end. While the migration task is being performed, all users can send-receive mails from their mailboxes except the one whose mailbox is being currently migrated. But, even Move Mailbox feature is not a totally problem-free way of migrating mailboxes. 
One problem with the Move Mailbox feature is that it deletes the corrupt items from the mailboxes while migrating them. So, as an Admin you may end up getting a lot of complains from the end users that some of their mailbox items are missing. Since, the items have been deleted they would be irrecoverable and that’s an issue! As a precautionary measure, you should always have a backup of the source mailbox database before using the Move Mailbox functionality. You can also export the mailboxes in PST format for easy access directly through Outlook if users face any problem in accessing their mailbox content. Another recommendation is to switch to “Circular Logging” to save storage space as huge amount of logs are generated during migration process that can create storage issue on source/destination servers. Ensure that you disable Circular Logging after the migration is complete, otherwise there could be problem when restoring mailboxes from backup. 
All these precautions and measures make Move Mailbox feature a bit safe and fast but it is still not the best option to achieve migration as the process itself is quite complicated. There are a lot of settings to configure and also it is quite time consuming. Moreover, this feature cannot be used to move Public Mailbox Database from one Exchange server to another. Public Mailbox Database need to be replicated on the new/destination server and cannot be migrated. Replication process, again, is quite time consuming. A professional Exchange migration software like Lepide Exchange Recovery Manager overcomes all these shortcomings and allows swift migration of Private and Public mailboxes from one live Exchange server to another. Besides, it can undertake a number of other tasks such as recovery of corrupt mailboxes, migration to Office 365, EDB to PST, backup restore to name a few. It is an important business add-on that makes dealing with Exchange issues and tasks pretty much simple and fast.


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