Keep Your Exchange Server Up-to-Date

 In Microsoft

Lots of companies remain on old versions of Microsoft Exchange, but—do we really have to remind you?—that’s a bad idea. Staying on old versions is worse than not applying patches in a timely fashion; it means there aren’t any new patches coming, ever. That may sound like a blessing that eliminates distracting routine maintenance tasks, but it means you aren’t getting vital security fixes to keep your emails and other critical systems safe.

Exchange Server End of Life Schedule

So if you’re on an outdated version of Exchange Server, it’s time to plan your migration path. Exchange Server 2010 will end extended support in early January 2020. There won’t be any bug fixes, security fixes, or other technical support offered after that.

Exchange Server Migration Options

You have two potential paths for your upgrade from Exchange Server 2010 (or older versions). One option is to migrate to Office 365, with hybrid or complete migrations available. The alternative is to migrate to Exchange 2016 or Exchange Server 2019 in on-premises servers.

Migrating to Office 365 provides the benefits of a cloud-based solution, including reducing the support required from your own in-house IT team. Reasons to retain Exchange on premises include regulatory requirements, data residency laws, or other specific business reasons.

If you choose to keep Exchange Server on premises, you can migrate directly from Exchange Server 2010 to Exchange Server 2016. Upgrades from older versions may require intermediate upgrades (another good reason to not put off your upgrades too long).

Migration Process

Fortunately, the migration process is made relatively simple through Microsoft’s Exchange Deployment Assistant (EDA). The assistant prompts you with a set of questions to determine your specific scenario, then presents a recipe of steps for you to follow.

It’s best to review the generated sequence before you begin your upgrade process, as Exchange Deployment Assistant can sometimes create multiple steps to perform a task that can be completed in a single step, or miss some steps entirely.

Don’t forget that migration can’t happen on the same server, so you’ll need to allot time for provisioning new hardware before the installation can begin. Don’t assume you can use any spare server you have on hand; the hardware prerequisites are different in old and new Exchange Server versions. Once you’ve got the hardware in place the simplest view of the migration is that it requires installing the new version of Exchange Server on the new physical servers and then copying user data from the old machines to the new.

Once you’ve completed all the steps in EDA’s recipe, be sure to test your new Exchange installation thoroughly before decommissioning the old version. You may need to resolve issues such as mailboxes that migrate over as a linked mailbox instead of a user mailbox. This problem can be resolved through correcting the LinkedMasterAccount setting.

Because email is a basic function that everyone in the business relies on, it’s helpful to have a Microsoft expert assist you in planning and executing any Exchange Migration. Prescient Solutions provides IT consulting and managed services, including Microsoft support, to businesses and organizations in the Chicago and Schaumburg area. Contact us to learn how Prescient Solutions can streamline your Exchange Server migration.

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