Inside Exchange 2013, Part 7 – Upgrade Requirements

Welcome back to our series on Exchange 2013. In this installment, we’re going to take a look at what your options and requirements are, for introducing Exchange 2013 into an existing legacy environment. Sure, it feels kind of wrong to refer to your shiny and completely up-to-date Exchange 2010 SP2 RU4 infrastructure as legacy, but for purposes of this post, that is the word we’re using to describe any Exchange org that is running versions prior to 2013.

With Exchange 2013 now RTM, early adopters, Exchange fanatics who were turned on by all the awesomeness announced at MEC, and those who love to live on the bleeding edge are already starting to download Exchange 2013 from TechNet or MSDN, and many of you probably want to start deploying it very soon (if you have not already started!) Here’s what you will need to do to ensure that your current infrastructure and Exchange 2013 play well together. You’ll have to wait.

Exchange 2003

Sorry folks, but it is past time to put your Exchange 2003 servers out to pasture. They’ve served you well, and now it is time for them to enjoy their retirement. If you still have Exchange 2003 in your environment, you will have to retire all of those servers before you install your first Exchange 2013 server into your Exchange organization. There will be no scenario where both Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2013 can coexist in the same Exchange organization.

Exchange 2007

You can install Exchange 2013 servers into an Exchange 2007 organization as long as all of your Exchange 2007 servers, including Edge Transport servers, are running Exchange 2007 Service Pack 3 and an Update Rollup package that is yet to be released. There were some rumours that RU8 would be the one required, but I cannot find confirmation on Microsoft’s site for that. Stay tuned, and we’ll let you know as soon as the next RU is released, or if we get confirmation that RU8 is sufficient.

Exchange 2010

Exchange 2010 SP3 is all that is required to get 2010 and 2013 playing nicely with one another. Since SP3 is not available yet, and the latest we have is that it won’t be until sometime in 2013, the bottom line is that patience is required.

Until the RU for Exchange 2007 SP3 is released, or Exchange 2010 SP3 becomes available, users who want to deploy Exchange 2013 in anything other than a green field or lab environment are going to have to wait. There must be intense pressure on the Exchange teams within Microsoft to get 2007 and 2010 prerequisites out to the public so they can start deploying 2013 into existing environments, so hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer. Personally, I am not going to, so in the next part of this series we’ll start the installation of our Exchange 2013 RTM system so you can see what it’s like before you do the same. Stay tuned.

Written by Casper Manes

I currently work as a Senior Messaging Consultant for one of the premier consulting firms in the world, I cut my teeth on Exchange 5.0, and have worked with every version of Microsoft’s awesome email package since then, as well as MHS, Sendmail, and MailEnable systems. I've written dozens of articles on behalf of my past employers, their partners, and others, and I finally decided to embrace blogging and social media, so please follow me on Twitter @caspermanes if you enjoy my posts.

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