Migration Manager for Exchange allows administrators to migrate user mailboxes, public folders, and other Exchange data from one Exchange organization to another in a way that is transparent to end users and does not impact user productivity.
Business Case for Exchange Migrations
Microsoft Exchange Server is the dominant corporate messaging platform. More and more businesses rely on this system to enable their users to collaborate with each other and their business partners.
Most companies relying on Microsoft technologies deploy one Active Directory forest for user authentication and create one Exchange organization in it as the messaging platform. However, under some circumstances, a company might need to move users between several Exchange organizations. These situations include:
- Mergers and acquisitions
When two companies merge, they are likely to merge their IT infrastructure as well, including their messaging systems.
- Multi-forest deployments
Companies that need to provide security isolation for their divisions might consider deploying multiple Active Directory forests in their network. Such companies would need a migration tool to reorganize their messaging system so it satisfies their IT design.
- Second surgery
Active Directory and Exchange sometimes get deployed on a department level without proper centralized planning and coordination. In such cases, the IT infrastructure can be reorganized later to provide for better efficiency and manageability.
All these situations require all or some Exchange data to be transferred from one Exchange organization (org) to another.
Messaging system reorganization is one of the most challenging projects in today’s IT world. Here are a few of the reasons:
- Large scale
The average size of a user mailbox these days is around 150 MB. Multiply this figure by the number of users you want to migrate and then add your public folder storage; the result is a first approximation of the amount of data to be migrated. If you are still not impressed, consider all the directory data, permissions, delegate access, resource mailboxes, and end-user profiles (some using offline access caching) scattered across the computers in your organization.
- Keeping the system functioning “as usual” during migration
Microsoft Exchange provides businesses with information flow, much like the human brain is in charge of information analysis for a human being. If we stick to this metaphor, Exchange migration can be compared to brain surgery—but the patient is not sleeping under anesthetic but is sitting in an office working on critical projects.
- High visibility
In today’s world, Exchange is business-critical. If your office loses its water supply or the air conditioning stops operating, people will still keep working. But if the messaging system goes down and users can't send and receive e-mail, people will start screaming within minutes. If someone loses data stored in his or her mailbox, the results might be disastrous. And if Outlook profiles are misconfigured, you are likely to have all your IT team running from one computer to another, urgently helping out the users.
Exchange migration is one of these projects in which you have many things to keep in mind and everyone is going to know if something goes wrong.
- Limited native coexistence
The design of Exchange generally limits a company to a single org: almost every aspect of user collaboration—the global address list (GAL), calendar and free/busy information, public folders, delegate access, resource mailboxes (such as conference room booking)—is designed for a single org.
Unless your company is small, you are unlikely to be able to migrate the whole organization in one weekend. Therefore, you will have a period when some users are still in the old org while others have already been migrated to the new one, and you need to make all the Exchange collaboration features work during this coexistence period.
With our experience in ZeroIMPACT domain and Exchange migrations, Quest is able to offer a solution that allows you to meet all the challenges of your Exchange migration. Migration Manager provides the following features and benefits:
- Efficient, distributed architecture for large-scale projects
To minimize the impact on the production environment, Migration Manager employs an efficient, distributed, multi-agent architecture. Agents distributed across the network transfer data directly from the source to the target servers. All data is compressed and only changes are sent during the subsequent synchronizations.
- Centralized control
The whole migration project is controlled from the central Migration Manager console. And you can easily monitor the migration with the Statistics Web console, which you can deploy in your intranet, so you will spot any problems quickly.
- The most comprehensive Outlook profile migration
The end-user Outlook profile is as important for the messaging system as the Exchange server infrastructure, and each profile can have a host of settings, such as rules, delegates, search folders, personal folders, and external POP3 mailboxes. The challenge is that the profile is tightly coupled with the mailbox, and when a mailbox is moved to another org, the profile becomes invalid. Migration Manager can automatically update all of the settings in each user's Outlook profile; users don’t need to spend time recreating all their profile settings or calling the help desk.
For remote and mobile users, the offline profile (or mailbox cache) is critical. With Migration Manager, users don't need to re-synchronize the contents of the mailboxes after the migration; Migration Manager's remote collections feature ensures that offline profiles are valid after migration. This feature is supported for any configuration from Windows 2000 and Outlook 2000 to the latest versions.
- Synchronization for full Exchange coexistence
Instead of taking a cut-and-paste approach, Migration Manager establishes true two-way synchronization between the source and target organizations. From the end-user's perspective, the two orgs are identical: users see the same address books, share documents in public folders, book conference rooms for meetings, look up each other's free/busy information, and schedule appointments for themselves or their managers. Mail is always delivered to the mailbox that the user using at the moment, whether it is still in the old org or already in the new.