Computing Research: Microsoft Exchange 2010 – taking the plunge

By John Leonard
18 Jul 2012 View Comments
migration-planning

The main issue here is one of available skills. It is relatively rare for professionals to be well versed in both Exchange and Lotus Notes.

For this reason a realistic test environment is even more essential when migrating from Notes as it allows migration staff to make themselves thoroughly comfortable in the new environment. As well as this, a staging server should be set up, to which mail files can be replicated in the first instance. Once there, any errors can be removed without affecting the production environment.

There are other issues too. Notes files can grow to enormous sizes and migration teams will have to judge how much to keep.

There may also be discrepancies between the functionality that Notes users are familiar with and what is possible in Exchange. For example, Notes is a powerful tool for creating workflows, and not all aspects of this functionality can be replicated in Exchange. The migration team should therefore take pains to discover exactly what people are doing in Notes, to ensure that migration to Exchange is not a backward step.

Decommissioning

Once everything has been migrated and thoroughly tested, the legacy environment can be removed – although most people we spoke to leave it in place for at least a few days as a failsafe in case they need to roll anything back.

The procedure may differ according to the legacy system, but it goes something like this. Using the Exchange Management Shell you first need to remove the interoperability connector that is routing traffic through the legacy front-end. Next remove the legacy front-end server using the Add/Remove Programs function in Windows. The Recipient Update Service is the next to go (using Exchange System Manager), and finally the legacy Mailbox Server can be removed.

Third-party help

As we have seen, Migrating to a new version of Exchange is a stepwise process. While not particularly complex, it is time-consuming, labour-intensive process and there are plenty of things that can go wrong, especially in the case of complex distributed environments or when migrating from another vendor. If you do choose to go it alone, there are many excellent online blogs and articles and walk-throughs to help you with the details, as well as community resources on Microsoft’s website.

However, for many the scale of the task combined with the consequences of failure lead them to turn to expert help. About half of the survey correspondents elected to employ some form of third-party assistance during the migration process (figure 6).
6er2

[Click image to enlarge]


• This article is based on an email survey of 200 IT decision-makers in large organisations, and on questions posed during a subsequent web seminar in March. We are grateful for the assistance of specialists from Exchange experts Mimecast and Binary Tree in providing detailed information about the migration process.

There is also an online Q&A session where more detailed questions are answered. If you have questions about migrating to Exchange 2010, or feel you can help others who are, please visit www.computing.co.uk/2190452.

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