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I'm currently running Exchange 2010 on a Windows 2008 R2 PDC. The plan is to migrate the system to a new hardware so that I end up with Exchange 2016 on a Windows 2016 server (incl. PDC). (Please leave the discussion of the performance disadvantages of running Exchange server on the DC aside for the time being, unless there's a real technical problem with that. I'm only serving some 30 users and there isn't that much load on the server.)

The rough idea is to install the Windows 2016 server and include it into the current domain, then install Exchange 2016 on it and migrate the users. (I have read that running Exchange 2010 and 2016 in parallel for some time is fine and even recommended, so that I can slowly migrate and test one user after the other.) At some point (which?) the 2016 DC will become the PDC and the old server will be removed from the environment.

Do you think this would work? And recommendations and suggestions?

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Here is a good tutorial which explains the steps which must be done to migrate from Microsoft Exchange 2010 to 2016. As it would be much content for the small website field here, I will post only the URL to the article.

In general you would setup an additional Windows Server, then install Exchange 2016 on it, point all connection towards Exchange 2016 and the last step is to move all mailboxed from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2016.

Some side notes here. Exchange 2016 support only MAPI over HTTP. Outlook 2007 will no longer work here. For Outlook 2010 you need to install the latest updated otherwiese it will also not work.

P.S. As Microsoft didn´t recomend to install the DC and the Exchange Server together on one hardware the steps to install and move the DC/PDC aren´t included above. But you might find some other tutorial for moving an DC/PDC to another server in the internet.

If I would be you I would do the following setup by the way:

  • Setup an small VMWare ESXI environment (you might wish to choose the costfree edition)
  • Setup an Windows 2012 R2 Core Server (as DC) in that environment (I run an DC core with 10 users with 512 MB RAM for one customer)
  • Setup an Exchange 2016 Server in that VMWare environment
  • Use the Veeam Backup solution to create an backup from the server if something will kill them or if you have an hardware issue. There is also a cost free edition.

Via that approach you can also use an older hardware and once it runs out of maintainance you can move all VMWare server to another hardware without changing the configuration. For 50 users this setup should be much better then the one you have currently.

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  • Wow, thanks Bastian, that IS a really detailed tutorial. Great job on this one! As far as migrating the DC, is there anything I'd need to watch out for? Or just include the 2016 server as a SDC and promote it to PDC later? BTW: I've virtualised the whole setup already and plan to continue to do that, so forking out the DC to another VM is no big deal. Other than MS not specifically recommending it, is there a particular problem with the DC running Exchange as well? – Thomas Feb 14 '17 at 17:12

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