Windows 2008 Upgrade Paths, and the Problem with Exchange 2007


Ask The Performance Team has a blog posting on the upgrade paths for Windows 2008, which is set to be released at the end of this month. To begin, lets get two things clarified right away. There is no way to perform cross-platform upgrades, i.e. x86 to x64 architecture, and there is no way to upgrade from a previous version of Windows to Windows 2008 Server Core Edition. If you’re unfamiliar with Server Core, it’s installation provides a minimal environment for running specific server roles that reduces the maintenance and management requirements and the attack surface for those server roles.

Available upgrade paths from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 are:

  • If you are currently running Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition (R2, SP1 or SP2), you can upgrade to the full installation of Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition or the full installation of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.
  • If you are currently running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition (R2, SP1 or SP2), you can upgrade to the full installation of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.
  • If you are currently running W indows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition (R2, SP1 or SP2), you can upgrade to the full installation of Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition.

Also note that you must test all applications before migrating to any version of Windows Server 2008. Read all about the Exchange Team’s effort to migrate Exchange 2007 from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008; all of the caveats and requirements can make your head hurt.

The big problem ends up being:

Exchange 2007 SP1 can be installed on Windows Server 2008, but Windows Server 2008 cannot be installed on Exchange 2007 SP1. This means that all computers running Exchange 2007 SP1 must have Windows Server 2008 already installed before Exchange can be installed on the system. This also means that you cannot take an existing Exchange 2007 server (RTM or SP1) running on Windows Server 2003, and do an in-place upgrade of the operating system to Windows Server 2008.

Put another way:

When upgrading standalone servers, it is not supported to upgrade your operating system to Windows Server 2008 and then upgrade Exchange 2007 to SP1. It is also not supported to upgrade Exchange 2007 to SP1 and then upgrade your operating system to Windows Server 2008. To deploy Exchange 2007 SP1 on Windows Server 2008, you must install Windows Server 2008 on a computer that does not have Exchange installed, and then install Exchange 2007 SP1.

To help assist IT professionals with determining if their existing networking environment will support Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has developed the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Solution Accelerator, which is now available for download. You can read more about this tool at the MAP Team blog.

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator performs three key functions, including hardware and device inventory, compatibility analysis, and readiness reporting. The Microsoft Assessment and Planning tool is based on agentless infrastructure scanning technology that makes it easier to set up the inventory without the requirement of installing any software agents on each machine being inventoried.

(MAP) is the expanded version of the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment solution accelerator (WVHA). This new version of the network-wide assessment tool gives you not only the original capability of hardware inventory and assessment for desktops, but also expanded features including server migration recommendation with Windows Server 2008, virtualization workload placements for server consolidation with Hyper-V or Virtual Server 2005 R2, and application virtualization recommendations with Microsoft Application Virtualization.

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