Exchange Server 2007 Support Ending in April
Exchange Server 2007 will hit its end-of-life phase in April of this year, Microsoft recently noted this week.
On April 11, 2017, the 10-year-old messaging server will stop getting security fixes from Microsoft. The server will continue to work, but only organizations having Custom Agreements with Microsoft (an expensive option) will get any further patch assistance after that date. Security holes in Exchange 2007 just won't get patched without such agreements.
The warning about the server's impending end came from an Exchange Team announcement this week. Microsoft has also published earlier notices.
The Exchange Team's announcement provided some useful support article links, even though organizations now have just one month to carry out a migration from Exchange Server 2007. The "Exchange 2007 End of Life Roadmap" article provides an overview of the options, including the simpler Office 365 move.
Organizations wanting to use the current Exchange Server 2016 product in their datacenters are faced with a so-called "two-hop migration" scenario if they still rely on Exchange 2007. They have to move to Exchange Server 2013 first before migrating to Exchange 2016. They can't move directly to Exchange 2016 because of Microsoft's product-support limitations. Typically, there's no migration support for a newer product that's three generations removed.
The server migration process involves installing the newer Exchange Server product in an Exchange 2007 environment (called "version coexistence"). Next, services are moved to the newer server. Mailboxes and public folders get moved next. Lastly, the old Exchange 2007 servers get decommissioned. There are server hardware considerations involved. Microsoft claims that the move is simplest between Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016 because their hardware requirements are so similar.
For organizations wanting to use Exchange on premises, Microsoft recommends using the Exchange Deployment Assistant for planning purposes. It's a Web portal that initiates a Q&A process to get advice.
Office 365 moves are more flexible than on-premises server migrations. The Office 365 migration options vary depending on the number of mailboxes that need to be moved, as outlined in this "Decide on a Migration Path" article.
Microsoft has a FastTrack consultant program to help with the initial planning on Office 365 moves, although the consultant won't necessarily perform the migration, according to a "Plan Your Upgrade for Office 2007 Servers" document. FastTrack planning help is available if an organization has purchased "50 or more seats of Office 365 Enterprise and Office 365 Business SKUs, along with paid Government, Kiosk, and Nonprofit SKUs," according to the FastTrack Office 365 FAQ. Data migration help under the FastTrack program is available "with the purchase of 150 or more seats."
The time it takes for a move to Office 365 varies from one week to a few months, depending on the number of mailboxes being moved and the method chosen (cutover, staged or "full hybrid migration"). The full hybrid migration option keeps some mailboxes on premises and moves some mailboxes to Microsoft's Office 365 datacenters. Microsoft just recommends a full hybrid migration approach for large organizations, due to its complexity.
To ease hybrid migrations, Microsoft offers a Hybrid Configuration wizard, but it's only built into Exchange 2016 and Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 10. The wizard can be downloaded for use with Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3, but support for Exchange 2007 appears to be lacking, per Microsoft's FAQ.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.