How to safely Uninstall Unity from Exchange

Unanswered Question

I currently have a voicemail only Unity server running version 4.0.3 with Exchange 2k running on the same box. I am looking into how to safely separate Unity from the current box and reinstall it onto a new box while still keep Exchange 2k on the current box as the message store, I understand that I have to use DiRT backup to backup Unity data on the current box and then install Unity on the new box and restore Unity data from backup. I would like to find out if I can bring up the new Unity server first, make sure all is working and tested before uninstall Unity from the current box.

Has anyone done this before ? Any inputs is highly appreciated !!!

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Overall Rating: 3.8 (4 ratings)
thisisshanky Mon, 05/01/2006 - 20:32
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Here is what the uninstall tool description says..

"This tool will remove all Unity related files from the hard drive, registry and Exchange directory. After running this you should be able to reboot and install a clean version of Unity with no worries about any conflicts with existing files. It will not touch items in the Exchange directory associated with other Unity servers that may be installed into the same Exchange site. "

I have never tried this, but these steps may give you some guidelines:

a. take a system backup (veritas backup, ghost etc) - make sure this backup is valid

b. take a dirt backup of existing server

c. uninstall unity using the tools available at

d. Reinstall new server with same name/ip using the 403 discs. Configure this server as Unified messaging using the exchange server on old unity server.

e. restore the dirt backup you did in step b.

PS: I would wait for others to respond to this thread to double confirm the above steps..

lindborg Tue, 05/02/2006 - 07:06
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When you run the Uninstall just unselect (which should be the default) the option to remove Unity objects from the directory - it's not necessary - worst case it leaves a couple PDLs hanging around.

You do not need to have the server have the same name or IP address - DiRT handles changing all server references when you restore your DiRT backup.

Yes, you can leave both systems up at the same time for a while to test the new install - this is, in fact, highly encouraged. The two Unity systems will not conflict.

Once the new install is working to your satisfaction (make sure you can create new users, import existing ones, make inbound calls and all that good stuff) you can backup the existing server, uninstall (just unselect the option to remove system objects/properties) it and do the DiRT restore to the new server. All the users will automatically be reassigned to the new installation.

Can I run the DiRT restore to the new Unity server first and then uninstall Unity from the current server ? this way I can always fallback to the old server if disaster happens. So at some point I will have both servers with the same data running in parallel but CallManager will point to only one server.

And once the new Unity server is working and tested then I will uninstall Unity from the current server.

Ginger Dillon Tue, 05/02/2006 - 07:14
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Hi -

I have some additional information that may help :-)

- If you are keeping the Exchange server operational, you will not be able to use the same server name or IP address. Pick a new name and IP address for your Unity server. Contact Cisco licensing and provide them the MAC address of the new server's NIC. They will send you updated license files.

- Prior to step b above, DiRT Backup, run DbWalker and clean up/resolve any errors.

- After step c above, check to see if the Unity distribution lists and userid were deleted. If not, do so now, otherwise when you install Unity you will end up with duplicates (Unity_servername mailbox; All Subscribers; Unaddressed Messages; System Event Messages). I would run the Cleanup Agent in Exchange System Manager to remove the Unity_servername mailbox).

- After step e above, run DbWalker again.

- If you have a second server already reserved, you can install Unity as a demo system on this server, just don't add any new subscribers on the box. Then you can apply your updated license files and DiRT restore Unity. This is how I moved Unity to a new server.

Regards, Ginger

Hello Ginger ! Yes, I will be keeping the Exchange server operational on the existing box and I will be buying two new servers total, one will have Unity install as primary server and other one will have Unity install as failover server so at the end I will have 3 servers total, one existing Exchange server and two new Unity servers.

Do you see any issues if I install Unity on the new server first -> update the license file -> run DiRT restore -> then uninstall Unity from the existing server when all is working and tested on the new Unity server ?

Did you have Unity and Exchange running on the same server before ?

Thanks very much for your time ! I really appreciate it !!


Ginger Dillon Tue, 05/02/2006 - 12:19
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Hi Danny -

No, we did not have an Exchange onbox solution, we have always been unified messaging. So, my move didn't have to take the Exchange server into consideration. You can have both Unity servers operational, but the new one must be running in demo mode. You're not going to be able to do the DiRT restore on the new server with your existing production Unity server running. I've never tried it, but I'm pretty sure the restore would fail since the subscribers already exist. I would follow Jeff's additional notes on testing Unity in demo mode first to confirm it is running. Then uninstall Unity from the Exchange server and DiRT restore to the new one. Note: For fallback, you can break the mirror set on your production Unity/Exchange server before doing anything. It doesn't hurt in these move type scenarios to even DiRT backup to a drive other than the C mirror set. Then if the DiRT restore fails, for recovery you can remove the new server from the network and boot your Unity/Exchange server from the other drive.


Thanks Ginger ! I will follow up with Jeff. In regard to the fallback plan, my existing Unit/Exchange server is an old Dell PowerEdge 2500, it came with 5 hard drives and I am not quite sure how the drives were configured so that might not be an option for me.

Do you know any other ways for fallback ?

Thanks again Ginger !! I appreciate your time !!!


Ginger Dillon Tue, 05/02/2006 - 15:44
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Hi -

Yep, you're talking to an HP customer - DL380's primarily. I did check online with Dell on the 2500 and it came with "optional" RAID controller. So you might check your hardware config - you could have the OS on Raid-1 and 3 drives in a Raid-5 type configuration, which is very typical. Another option, which I have NOT used, might be to image the server using imaging software. In any case, none of us mentioned in our previous posts using a 3rd party backup software such as Veritas ... are you running any 3rd party software for the Unity/Exchange server? This, in my opinion, if you don't have RAID, would be the best option. Note - you must be running some type of SQL agent in the backup software to be able to backup the files while SQL is running. Having a full server backup is another measure of safety. This would be in addition to DiRT backup. And if it were me, I'd engage my local Cisco SE to have a Unity specialist available, either onsite, best case, or oncall if needed. I did that when I moved to a new Unity server. It was a comfort that I fortunately did not have to use. I did end up calling TAC for a licensing issue, which was quickly resolved. I had the demo server operational at least a week before and tested new users, voicemail access via TUI and Outlook (we're a UM installation), etc.



Hello Sankar, I appreciate your response. I understand the steps and procedures to accomplish this but I thought it's too risky to uninstall Unity from the current server first then reinstall it onto the new separate server and then restore the data from backup, so I figure if I can install Unity on the new server first then repoint CallManager to it, and make sure all is working before uninstall Unity from the current server. I think as long as I don't network the two systems (current Unity and new Unity) I'll be fine but not sure.

lindborg Wed, 05/03/2006 - 13:54
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Just to close this loop:

1. Yes, you can install clean onto a new box like you want without first uninstalling the original Unity server.

2. Yes, you can do a DiRT restore on the new box without first uninstalling the original Unity server.

3. However, the idea that you can just jump back to the original Unity server if the restore is not to your liking on the new box is not realistic. Part of the DiRT restore process is to "repoint" the mailboxes in the directory to point at the new Unity installation - this will effectively break the original Unity server since it's directory monitor will see these objects in the directory no longer point to it. So this will not be a safe haven you can run back to if something goes wrong. To get back to your original Unity server you'll have to do a DiRT restore on it which will initiate a big directory synch to rehome those objects back on that box.

For all intents and purposes when you pull the trigger on the DiRT restore on the new box, it's a one way trip.

Hello Jeff !

What is the best approach for this type of scenario ? basically I am looking for a safe fallback solution and also at the same to minimize down time. So at the end, my existing Unity/Exchange server will be running Exchange only plus the two new Unity servers that I will be buying. There will be three servers total in my environmnent.

Thanks Jeff !!! I really appreciate for your time !!!!



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