Many organizations are considering replacing their legacy messaging systems with Microsoft Exchange or upgrading from early versions. Whatever the drivers for these migrations are, all projects will face major challenges in terms of project timescales and increased business risks. With email being one of the most critical business applications used within organizations today reducing the risks associated with the project are of paramount importance.
As a significant portion of the time and effort associated with an email migration project is attributed to the movement of the various email and documents contained within the messaging system, reducing this volume of data will help reduce not only the timescales associated with the project but the risk.
Migrations to Microsoft Exchange are typically handled by either the built in Microsoft migration aid tools or specialized 3rd party applications, all of which help to manage the actual migration process but do nothing to reduce the amount of data needing migration. Some migration tools can in fact increase the storage requirements after a migration event due to each new migrated message becoming unique and therefore reducing the single instance ratio achieved in the legacy email system. The bottom line of any migration is therefore to deliver the benefits of the new technology without introducing undue risk or ongoing costs (both storage and administrative) while delivering a seamless and transparent experience to the user.
How does Enterprise Vault help ?
Implementing an Enterprise Vault archiving solution can help aid this migration process by reducing the amount of data that needs migrating (from either a Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino or legacy messaging environment). This can reduce the time required to perform the migration while minimizing the overall storage requirements. It can also help with the eradication of PST or NSF files on corporate file shares or end users workstations.
Enterprise Vault also enables the target messaging system to be sized more efficiently as it does not need to store all of the mailbox data from the source environment. Instead the migration data set will comprise of the most recent mail message plus a number of very small shortcuts representing the older archived data. There are 3 scenario’s in which Enterprise Vault can be utilized in the migration process:
- An Exchange to Exchange migration
- A Lotus Domino to Exchange migration
- An other legacy messaging system to Exchange migration
The following sections will outline how each of these scenario’s work.
Exchange to Exchange Migrations
In this scenario Enterprise Vault is deployed in the source or destination environment (Enterprise Vault can archive across multiple domains and forests). The choice may well be driven by the type and direction of any domain or forest trusts as in order for Enterprise Vault to archive data from Exchange its service account will require Exchange Administrative rights over the source and target mailbox and public folders stores.
Once deployed, Enterprise Vault is configured to archive data from users mailboxes and public folders on a relatively relaxed archiving policy (30 days or 80% of quota is very typical) returning shortcuts to the mailboxes and public folders so users can access their archived data1. As the migration timescales approach, the administrator, making full use of the granular provisioning functionality within Enterprise Vault, will tighten the archiving constraints on these mailboxes and public folders so that each user and public folder is left with only minimal live mail and posts (7 days or 20% of quota, for example).
When the newly created email backlog (due to the tightening of the archiving policy) from the user mailboxes and public folders is archived, they will be greatly reduced in terms of size (the archive shortcuts taking up minimal space) and the migration of the mailbox and public folder content can begin. Often this phase will be staged, moving groups of mailboxes / public folders in turn, and Enterprise Vault can be synchronized with this using granular provisioning to control who and what gets archived and when. The timescales to achieve this phase should now be greatly reduced due to the reduction in data volume requiring migration.
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