Exchange 2013 migration in 12 easy steps

By Brian Posey,

Migrating from Exchange Server 2010 to Exchange Server 2013 is rarely an easy process, but you can make the migration less painful by using this 12-step plan. We'll cover digital certificates, mail flow, training and everything else that will come up during your organization's Exchange 2013 migration.

1. Get the necessary training.

Even though Exchange Server 2013 has been widely regarded as one of the less significant Exchange Server releases, there are major architectural differences between Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Server 2013. Your IT staff needs to receive the proper training before you even think about performing a migration. Similarly, it's a good idea to provide users with some updated training if they're used to Outlook Web App.

2. Check the system requirements.

The Exchange Server 2013 system requirements are similar to those for Exchange Server 2010. Even so, reviewing the system requirements is an important part of the deployment planning process so you don't run into issues later on.

3. Back up everything.

Prior to installing Exchange Server 2013, make a full system backup of your existing Exchange Servers and Active Directory. Deploying Exchange Server 2013 involves making updates to Active Directory, so you will need a way to roll back the directory if something were to go wrong.

4. Install Exchange Server 2013.

The next step in the Exchange 2013 migration process is to install Exchange Server 2013. You'll need to prepare your Active Directory and download the latest updates prior to performing the installation. In fact, the original RTM release of Exchange Server 2013 wasn't even compatible with Exchange Server 2010. It was only possible to join Exchange 2013 servers to an Exchange Server 2010 deployment once Cumulative Update 1 was released.

5. Verify the installation.

After the Exchange Server 2013 installation completes, verify that the installation was successful. To make sure there weren't any critical errors, start by reviewing the setup logs and looking at the Application log in the Event Viewer. You can also use the Get-ExchangeServercmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell to make sure the new Exchange Server is recognized.

6. Enter your product key.

When you've verified the new server's functionality, enter your product key. This is a simple step, but it's so simple that it's easy to forget.

7. Add digital certificates to the Client Access Server.

The next thing you should do in your Exchange 2013 migration is add digital certificates to the Client Access Server. Exchange Server 2013 includes a self-signed certificate that can be used for SSL encryption, but the self-signed certificate isn't appropriate for production use. You must provide your Client Access Server with a certificate created by a reputable, trusted certificate authority.

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