Monthly Archives: December 2005

Experts-Exchange

For a few years now I’ve been seeing a website called experts-exchange.com. Usually I see this site come up in google searches I perform for tech issues. I’ve always wanted to get a membership to this site, but didn’t want to pay for it. Well, last week I ran into some tech issues and I happen to run across this site again. I finally decided to sign up for their basic membership. I didn’t buy any points, I switched to expert mode and started to answer a few questions for people. To my surprise people started rewarding me with large point rewards. I’ve gotten 3000 from one guy, 1500 from several others and or course many smaller point rewards. I’ve been a member now for one week and one day. I now have almost 22 thousand points!!! Once I reached 10 thousand points I was able to upgrade my membership for free to the premium membership level. I was able to reach the 10 thousand point level in just 2-3 days. I now need to maintain a point income of 3000 points per month to maintain my premium membership level.

This site is great because I can now ask unlimited questions with unlimited points (question asking points). I’ve only asked two or three questions, but the availability is great, because I can get my questions answered as well as help other people get their questions answered as well. Its like a big tech community. Experts are there to help people with technical issues, and techs can also ask questions if they run into something hard.

Check out http://www.experts-exchange and look for me, MCPJoe

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Company Migration Project

1. Little to no end user interruption
2. No loss of email connectivity
3. All work must be done by internal IT staff
4. No third party tools can be used

Existing Network:

1 NT4 PDC in NYK and 1 NT4 BDC in Switzerland. Two Exchange 5.5 servers in NYK, one in Switzerland and one in Hong Kong. There are also various software packages that sit on top of the Exchange infrastructure that must remain intact, such as RightFax (email faxing), Goodlink (mobile email) etc. Exchange is installed on member servers, none of the Exchange servers are installed on a PDC/BDC.

Desired result:

2003 Active Directory Domain with Exchange 2003 Enterprise Edition. Exchange servers will be in two-server clusters. 4 hub offices will house the Exchange clusters.

Migration Path:

In order to accomplish the above design goals and satisfy all the requirements, taking into account the existing network infrastructure, the following design should prove to be successful.

First, we will install a new server into our existing NT4 domain and make it a BDC for the domain. We will then, promote the new BDC to a PDC and allow time for replication. Once replication is complete, we will take the old PDC offline (by unplugging network connection or shutting down). We will then upgrade the new NT4 PDC to Server 2003 and run DCPROMO to install Active Directory. This process should preserve all existing user accounts, machine accounts, groups, permissions, etc. So far we satisfy all requirements.

Next, we upgrade or replace all existing NT4 BDCs. Once all NT4 servers are removed, we can then upgrade our new Active directory domain to Server 2003 Native Mode. As no more NT4 servers will be participating as domain controllers.

NOTE: During this time, all existing Exchange 5.5 servers will be maintained as NT4 member servers of the 2003 domain. Exchange 5.5 will continue to handle mail for us until the upgrade to Exchange 2003.

Exchange 2003 Migration:

For this part, we will install our first Exchange 2003 server (on a 2003 Enterprise Edition server installed as a member server) into our existing Exchange 5.5 site. To the exchange site, we are just adding a new server. The Exchange deployment tools will walk us through installing the Active Directory Connector and all necessary connection agreements. The SRS will also be installed. One Exchange 2003 server per hub office will be installed initially. Once we verify that the ADC is working properly and the “Move mailbox” wizard is available, all Exchange 5.5 user mailboxes will be moved to an Exchange 2003 server. Once all Exchange 5.5 mailboxes, public folders, distribution lists, custom forms, etc, are replicated over to the new Exchange 2003 servers, the existing Exchange 5.5 servers will be shut down to verify connectivity and that no “behind the scenes” issues exist. Once our Exchange organization has been verified to be functioning correctly with no further references to the Exchange 5.5 servers, we can then begin to de-commission them. This will be done by removing all references to Exchange 5.5 as replication partners on all public folders, and other exchange resources. Then the servers can be deleted from the Exchange 5.5 server administrator.

During this migration process, the only end user interruption noticed will be during the move mailbox process, as users will be logged out of their exchange mailboxes during a mailbox move. Mail flow is not affected since we installed Exchange 2003 into our existing Exchange 5.5 site, so the routing group is the same. The only remaining task to complete is something I left out above. Before Exchange 5.5 can be shut down or de-commissioned, the SMTP connector will need to be moved from one of the Exchange 5.5 servers to one of the Exchange 2003 servers. Once this is complete, and mail flow has been verified, then the Exchange 5.5 servers can be removed.

The end result is a quick, efficient migration/upgrade to Server 2003 and Exchange 2003. A final note here is on Clustering. The reason we did not use our clusters to install the first Exchange 2003 server is that there are certain components of Exchange that will not function on a cluster. Such as the SRS and ADC. This is why we will be using a standalone server in all hub offices for the initial move to Exchange 2003. Once we have Exchange 2003 up and running globally, we can then introduce our Exchange 2003 Clusters and then move mailboxes once more to the clusters. Once finished, the SMTP (bridgehead) can be moved to the appropriate cluster and the initial Exchange 2003 standalone servers can be removed.

The initial plan was to do a parallel migration, basically creating a whole new system in parallel to our existing system. This plan has many problems and would not have worked for us. End users would have received all new machine profiles, outlook profiles would have been lost, etc. This would have created too much work for our internal IT staff and caused too much interruption to end user connectivity. Not to mention mail flow and interoperability with Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2003 is much more complicated when installed in separate Exchange Organizations. Third party tools would almost certainly be needed to maintain the level of co-existence we would have needed.
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Exchange 2003 and Exchange 5.5 Migration and Co-Existence

Q1. Can you install Exchange 2003 into an Exchange 5.5 Site?
A1. Yes you can, this is actually the preferred method of migration since you can use the “move mailbox” in Exchange Administration to move mailboxes between Exchange servers in the same Exchange Organization. You will need the ADC to make this happen.

Q2. Can distribution lists in Exchange 5.5 be migrated to Exchange 2003?
A2. Yes they can, using the ADC the groups can be imported as distribution groups in 2003/AD

Q3. What gets complicated by installing 2003 in a separate Exchange organization, rather than installing Exchange 2003 into the Exchange 5.5 organization?
A3. If Exchange servers are within the same organization then mailboxes can be
moved easily through ‘Exchange Tasks’ in AD USers and Computers. They also
maintain the same alias’ (very important when users start replying to old
emails, they will be bounced if the mailbox and alias changes) and users
outlook profiles will also be automatically redirected to the new server as
it is within the same organization. In separate organizations, none of the above is true. As far as I know
exmerge is required to migrate mailboxes, you’ll have to create completely
new mailboxes on the new server and reconfigure users outlook profiles at the
desktop. Mailbox alias’ will also likely be an issue.
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The Tech about me

MCP, MCSA 2000, MCSA 2003, MCSE 2000, MCSE 2003, MCDBA, MCSA + Security, MCSE + Security, CompTIA Security +, as well as some small ones like….

Certified Helpdesk analyst from Intuit
Computer Technical Support from Brainbench

I will also be persuing some Cisco certifications in the next few years.

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Bathroom stories #2

Ready for story #2. OK, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Now I find myself at work again (I sure do spend a lot of time at work)….I end up needing to use the restroom. So as usual I wonder to myself what comical things will happen to me this time as I enter the restroom. Upon entering the bathroom I find myself alone, now I’m happy, I love having the bathroom all to myself. I get cosy in the “king” suite (see original blog). Not a minute after I “settle in”, in walks someone. Oh man, I say to myself. Naturally being a guy (since this is the Men’s room), and him being a man, naturally heads for the “king suite”, which I so gleefully pre-occupied. He walks right up, wiggles the handle on “my” door. Then frustrated that he was beaten to the “kingly throne”, he heads for one of the lesser seats. Now begins the funny part. The guy starts wiggling the toilet paper, and krunkling the “safety seat covers” (provided by the management), and finally gets his seat prepaired. He then rather noisily sits down. Shortly thereafter come the fireworks, except without the colorful lights. All kinds of noises begin to rattle the door hinges. Short ones, long ones, quiet ones, booming ones, yep he’s passing gas again. I think to myself “Good Lord, he must have been holding that all week”. Then proceeds the other noises that I dare not mention on here, but we all know what I’m talking about. Finally he’s done, he gets up, cleans up, then goes out to the sink. Now here is a pet peve of mine. Guys, if you go the bathroom, the least you can do is give your hands a good washing. This guy gets up, goes to the sink and gives himself a quick spritz of water, then dries off his hands and heads back out to work. Now, I’m no clean freak, but thats just gross. I hope I never have to use his keyboard! I think the statistics on this is like 50/50 or close to it. Around 50% of men don’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom. I am not among that 50% just so the world can know. Now I admit this story isn’t quite as humorous as my first post, but it certainly seems funny to me.

More later…

Crazy bathroom stories

1. The urinals are directly across the room from the stalls.
2. The stalls have slats in the door, strategically positioned so that you can see the people at the urinals from about from their posterrior down. Which of course offers a great view of spontanious human waterfalls :-0
3. The stalls are usually small with a single toilet (duh)

Now one thing is fairly common with all public bathrooms, there is usually one stall that is the “king” suite stall. You know the one, its everyone’s favorite or choice stall to use. Its the handicapped stall. Do handicapped people ever use the handicapped stall on the 6th floor of a building, nah probably not. But all of us other people do! Come on, its huge, its got its own sink, more legroom, rails to hold on to (God forbid I ever need them when I go in there). Its triple the size of the other stalls and the furthest away from the other toilets in those stalls. (who wants to be sitting six inches away from another guy taking care of business)? Which brings me to the humorous part of this series of stories…

I’m human, I go to the bathroom like anyone else, come on people, we all do it. So one day I get to work and feel the need to head for the restroom. I always dread entering a public restroom because something goofy and most of the time gross ends up happening with me in there. Something you should know about me before I go any further is that I’m a quiet guy, I don’t make a lot of noise with much of anything, I breathe quietly, I move quietly, its jut the way I am. So when I’m in a stall in a public restroom, the other people that come in after me, may not necessarily be aware that I’m in there. 🙂 How fortunate for me. I firmly believe its due to this fact that other Men that enter the restroom after me feel so relaxed. There is nothing I love more than having to be in a public restroom in the first place, but then to have a guy walk in, head for a urinal, which is right in front of my stall, where I have a clear view of the guy from the hips down (hurray). When all of a sudden, it starts. You know what it is, it happens all the time. The guy walks in, starts taking care of business and yup you guessed it, starts to pass gas. Not just a quiet (because he is not trying to be quiet) little one, loud forceful, echoing gas! While this is going on, I’m quietly sitting in my stall making no noise at all. While I have a four part harmony of the alphabet going on right in front of me. I’m holding my breath trying not to break out in laughter. The poor unsuspecting guy has no idea that right behind him is a guy secretly making fun of him, gagging over my own laughter that I’m trying to quietly contain. Finally the circus is over and he leaves. Ahh, now I can laugh, or can I. I think to myself, what if someone walks by the bathroom and hears hearty laughter coming from the men’s room. Hmmm, maybe now isn’t the best time to laugh.

Like I said, everytime I enter a public restroom the comical happens to me. This is just one more many more stories. All of which I can’t put on this blog. So check out my other entries as I will be posting more….

Enjoy!