Upgrading on-premises Exchange 2003: it’s harder than you think


You probably know that Microsoft is ending extended support for Exchange 2003 on April 8th.

Are you considering upgrading your on-premise Exchange 2003 server to Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013?

It’s certainly an option. But before you begin, you should know that you’re in for much more work than you may realize.

Upgrading Exchange 2003 involves more than just Exchange

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An on-premises upgrade of Exchange 2003 is not a simple matter of just upgrading licenses and installing servers.

That’s because Microsoft Exchange 2010 and 2013 have fundamental differences from 2003. And these differences will require you to upgrade the surrounding network as well as Exchange itself. You’ll need to invest time, effort and money in:

  • Network topology upgrades
  • Network and datacenter security investments
  • Uptime planning and failover systems design
  • Equipment upgrades (server, data storage, etc.)
  • New software and support licenses
  • Increased management costs of a more complex technology environment

What’s more, if you’re adding or upgrading any additional collaboration services (such as Lync or SharePoint), you’ll need to make even more investments. And integrating further email services—such as email archiving and disaster recovery—will also increase the overall investment and amplify the ongoing management burden.

(Here’s a roadmap on TechNet that should help you appreciate the breadth of the complexity.)

So what are your options?

Before you cement your decision to do an on-premises upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 or 2013, I recommend that you read our report on Exchange 2003 migration. This will help you understand the risks and costs of your Exchange 2003 end-of-life options.

I also recommend that you consider a move to Intermedia’s Hosted Exchange cloud. This is your easiest path forward, because Intermedia’s Cloud Concierge™ team of experts will do all the heavy lifting in migrating your users and data. Learn more about Intermedia’s Hosted Exchange.

About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Intermedia