Moving mailboxes doesn’t have to be difficult – all you need is a bag of concrete mix, some water, a good shovel, some good solid posts, and of course the mailboxes in question. Oh wait, am I forgetting something? Right, the wheelbarrow to mix the concrete in and a hacksaw to cut down the old posts.
What? That’s not the kind of mailbox you’re talking about. Ah, I see, you wanted to know about mailboxes hosted on Exchange Server 2010. Excellent, then you’ve come to the right place. Just give me a minute to put away my trowel.
There are two kinds of mailbox move operations in Exchange Server 2010, local and remote, depending on the destination.
Local Move Requests: If the source and target mailboxes reside in database copies in the same server, then you can issue a New Local Move Request… in the Exchange Management Console (EMC) or in the Exchange Management Shell (EMS), a command such as ‘777.wernerconsulting.com/Users/Brad Werner’ | New-MoveRequest -TargetDatabase ‘Database Seven’ to create the move request.
The other kinds of request, a New Remote Move Request… is used when the source and target mailboxes are hosted in database copies which are not on the same Exchange Server as one another. There are several potential sources for the original location of the mailboxes with a remote move request. The source mailboxes could reside on another mailbox server which is in the same Active Directory site, in another site, a member of another domain, or even from a server which is a member of another Active Directory forest.
When the destination server is Exchange Server 2010, the remote move request tools of Exchange 2010 should always be used, even if the source servers are running Exchange Server 2007 or Exchange Server 2003. If you’re migrating from Exchange 2003, it’s probably tempting to want to use Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) to perform the moves to a new server, and you’re probably also trying to wean yourself from Exchange System Manager (ESM), but it’s time to start acclimating to some new tools. Even Exchange Server 2007’s Exchange Management Console (EMC) and Exchange Management Shell (EMS) based on PowerShell v1.0 just aren’t the right toolset either. Use the Exchange Server 2010 tools to move mailboxes now.
Who does the digging to move these mailboxes? It’s not the mailbox server, and it’s not like Exchange 2007’s Move-Mailbox cmdlet which did the work. Exchange 2010 Client Access servers run a service called Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Replication (MSExchangeMailboxReplication). So if you’re moving mailboxes from Exchange 2003 SP2, Exchange 2007 SP2, or even from Exchange 2010, this Mailbox Replication service (MRS) is used to move mailboxes from the source server(s) to the target server’s database. This architecture has a number of advantages over earlier version of Exchange.
Also, if you are moving mailboxes from either Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2007 SP2 to a target database on an Exchange 2010 server, it’s possible to do online moves. An online move operation can be taking place while the client (user) is accessing the mailbox. That extra advantage isn’t possible when moving from Exchange 2003 SP2, nor when moving to either Exchange 2003 or 2007 from 2010.
The ability to move mailboxes using a background service which will intelligently schedule, distribute amongst servers in the same site, and throttle server and network load is just one or many great features of Exchange Server 2010 which make this new messaging platform the best yet from Microsoft. If you’re using old versions of Exchange and aren’t at least planning for Exchange 2010, it’s seriously time to get ready.