Redmond Magazine agrees: Upgrading on-premises Exchange 2003 is hard.

As we get nearer and nearer to Exchange 2003’s end of life (it’s on April 8th, less than two months away!), I’m telling everyone who will listen to act now—because if you’re upgrading on your own, it’s much harder than you think.

There’s much more to migrating Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 (or 2013) than just setting up a new server with fresh licenses and a database server. And yes, I’m encouraging everyone to look to the cloud to make the Exchange migration seamless for your business. That’s why I want to share a recent headline from Redmond Magazine.

exchange 2003: another end-of-life perspective

Here’s the key quote from the article—which, if you’re on Exchange 2003, should make you sit up in your chair:

Getting off Microsoft’s aging mail server in a couple of months could pose difficulties for organizations, given all of the steps involved in carrying out a migration.

The article goes on to name some of the reasons why this is so.

Organizations running Exchange 2003 face a special problem in that they cannot perform an in-place upgrade to Exchange 2013, which is Microsoft’s newest mail server product. The exception may be offerings from third-party software vendors, which promise to simplify such moves.

Exchange 2003 migrations to Office 2013 aren’t simple because Microsoft did not create an upgrade path for it — a typical Microsoft practice for its products that are three generations old. For instance, it’s not possible to install Exchange 2013 so that it coexists with Exchange 2003 in a single Active Directory forest. Instead, migration from Exchange 2003 typically might entail upgrading to Exchange 2010 first. Next, if an organization wants to get to Exchange 2013, they’d have to repeat the upgrade steps all over again, according to Exchange expert J. Peter Bruzzese, in a Redmond article.

(Here’s some more corroboration of this point from TechNet.)

If you’re considering an on-premises upgrade, you need to consider the impact to your overall network topology. From firewalls and edge routers to Active Directory server forests, the entire network needs to be re-designed to support the way Exchange 2010 (or 2013) operates. And, of course, failover and redundancy needs to be put in a place because hard drives fail and power supplies burn out.

I’m encouraging customers to think about this holistically. Consider the impact to your time, budget and business. Upgrading your network, servers and infrastructure is a monumental task.

And it begs the question: why do it at all? What is the benefit for your company to be in the business of providing and managing Exchange? Even if your migration is seamless, you still need to dedicate time and energy to maintenance—resources that could otherwise be invested in extending your business’s competitive advantage.

I think you should carefully consider the cloud as your primary migration option. I also believe that objective analysis supports this — we migrate you at no extra cost, with no downtime, while providing a Fortune 100 infrastructure for your Exchange email.

How do you determine your next steps?

Here’s three ideas for charting your path forward:

  1. Explore your Exchange 2003 options and risks in our white paper: “Decision Guide: Exchange 2003 End of Support”.
  2. Attend our live webinar on Tuesday, March 11 at 12:00 PM ET/9 AM PT. You can register here.
  3. Take the plunge and save! Move from Exchange 2003 to Intermedia and we’ll give you 30 days of free service!

If you have questions about, feel free to contact our experts at 800.379.7729.

download our Exchange 2003 End-of-Life Decision Guide

About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Intermedia