Exchange 2000 Upgrade, Times Two
It took three separate attempts to finally upgrade my company to Exchange 2000—this after doing the upgrade in a lab environment and upgrading a pilot box with the IT department on it...
After extensive testing, we started the upgrade.
During the first upgrade attempt last November, I received an error message
stating that there wasn’t enough space for the database to upgrade, despite
the fact that I had about 25 percent free space available. Strangely,
it gave me the option to continue anyway. I called tech support (which
was no help, as they told me that they wouldn’t do it if they were me.)
We decided to delete the information for some people who were no longer
with the company, defrag the database and retry. No go. We quit at midnight.
In December we bought a new server, installed Exchange 2000, and moved
the 20 people with the largest mailboxes off the first server and onto
the new server.
In January, with plenty of free space on the server, I ran the upgrade.
With no explanation, the upgrade died in the middle, leaving the database
in an inconsistent state, and with some pieces upgraded to Exchange 2000
and others not. We had to completely uninstall Exchange, then restore
the database. I got to work at 10 a.m. that day. We started the restore
process at 7 p.m. I took a nap at 4 a.m. while the database was restoring.
I got locked out of my office at 5 a.m. after going to the bathroom and
had to explain my presence to a security guard I’d never seen before (who
was finally convinced with, “It’s Friday. It’s 5 a.m. I’m not wearing
any shoes. Why would I be here?”) I got home at 9 a.m. the following day—the
first full day of Exchange fun.
Around this time, we started having problems with an application used
by a team in our company. The application’s producer blamed our mixed-mode
In February I decided to kill the “upgrade” process and move everyone
off of the old server onto the new (much bigger) server. Because of the
random application issue, we couldn’t leave until we were in native mode.
Also during this time, we decided to upgrade another non-Microsoft application.
I got to work again at 10 a.m. and we started the process at 7 p.m. We
moved all the databases, uninstalled the former Exchange server, and switched
to native mode at about 5 a.m. However, the other upgrade wasn’t going
so smoothly. At 6 a.m., we had breakfast tacos. I got home at 10 a.m.
the next day, yet another 24-hour shift.
None of us had a “fun, smooth” Exchange 2000 upgrade. One important lesson
learned: Remember your badge when you go to the bathroom, because you
probably don’t know the security guard who works at 5 a.m.
Cynthia Balusek, MCSE, MCT, is a systems analyst for a software company. She swears everything worked wonderfully in testing.