With the news that Exchange Server 2013 has reached RTM a lot of customers are now asking for guidance on upgrading their existing organizations to Exchange 2013.
Although all of the upgrade guidance is not publicly available yet, here is what we know so far.
Supported Co-Existence Scenarios for Exchange 2013
Exchange Server 2013 CU1 (not RTM) will support co-existence with the following versions:
- Exchange Server 2010 SP3
- Exchange Server 2007 SP3 + update rollup 10
Both Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 and Exchange 2007 SP3 have been released, which just leaves the Exchange 2013 CU1 release for supported co-existence to be possible.
There will be no co-existence support for Exchange Server 2003. If you’re still running Exchange 2003 and are looking to upgrade to Exchange 2013 you’ll need to do an interim upgrade to Exchange 2010 (or 2007) first.
Client Support for Exchange Server 2013
The following clients are compatible with Exchange Server 2013.
- Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2007
- Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition
- Outlook 2011 for Mac
Outlook 2013 will support Exchange 2013 as-is, but an update is required for Outlook 2010 and 2007.
There will be no support for Outlook 2003. If you’re still running Office 2003 in your environment and intend to upgrade to Exchange 2013 then now would be a good time to begin looking at upgrading your Office installations.
Active Directory Requirements for Exchange Server 2013
In what may be a relief for some customers, Exchange 2013 will support a Windows Server 2003 Forest/Domain functional level, and Windows Server 2003 SP2 domain controllers.
A schema update will be required as usual, and this is part of the same service pack/update rollup that is required for co-existence support.
The Upgrade Process for Exchange Server 2013
The documentation and general guidance for Exchange 2013 upgrades has not been published yet, though we can expect to see the guidance appearing in the Exchange Deployment Assistant in due course.
In the meantime if you want to see an overview of the deployment and co-existence scenarios I do recommend watching Scott’s session from TechEd Australia 2012.
My personal view is that an upgrade project for Exchange 2013 is going to be very similar to that for Exchange Server 2010. Many of the challenges in these upgrades come not from Exchange itself, but more from the integration points such as third party software.
In that respect you will need to watch for announcements from the vendors for products such as your backup software.
My free planning guides for the Exchange 2010 upgrade scenarios can be used even now to begin identifying these integration points and other key elements of your environment that will need consideration during an Exchange 2013 upgrade project.