Best practice considerations for migrating live email

Email is a mission-critical service, and careful planning and execution are vital in migration as any downtime will have direct and costly impact on the business. For all but the very smallest of organizations, it is essential to use automated tools to maintain compliance and prevent business interruption.

Whether you are migrating to a new on premise Microsoft Exchange platform, to Office 365 or another cloud service, or any hybrid of these, email migration best practice demands that users have continuous access to their mailboxes. Email is a corporate record, so migration requires fundamental audit trails including Chain of Custody are preserved, and that migration roles and policies can be defined to control administrator access. You should use pre-flight checking that takes into account restrictions according to the target. This analysis feeds into the scheduling process to ensure that users and daily operations are not disrupted.

Scalability will be a factor, including how to scale across distributed locations and manage perhaps hundreds of thousands of users. And if things do go wrong during migration it is essential that an appropriate level of reporting and monitoring is available to pinpoint and address the issue rapidly.

MailboxShuttle is an enterprise-class solution for migrating live email systems quickly and safely. It ensures continuous user email access, full checks, audits, monitoring and reports, and is readily scalable. Its proprietary Sync’n’Switch technology uncouples data synchronization from the user migration, guaranteeing that users are not interrupted while their email is migrated. This also enables migration of Active Directory (AD) forests, and helps consolidate email following acquisitions and mergers.

Live email migrations are rarely done alone. With QUADROtech’s custom scripting engine, you can call other QUADROtech products, or other custom scripts to build a workflow for your entire project!

Risks of uncontrolled migrations

  • Longer project duration.
  • High amount of manual work with steep learning curve of migration processes.
  • Difficulty in managing changing schedules.
  • Higher risk of errors, with no error detection.
  • Impractical to maintain detailed reports and compliant Chain of Custody records.

MailboxShuttle and MailboxShuttle.cloud

MailboxShuttle combines maximum efficiency with minimal operator intervention. Control is provided from a user-friendly interface that is consistent across the QUADROtech migration suite. Compliance best practice is followed at all times and a full audit trail is maintained at every step of the migration process.

For situations where in house resources are constrained MailboxShuttle.cloud provides an off-premise solution that negates the need to invest in expensive hardware and networking to carry out migration. It uses a dedicated migration core in QUADROtech’s cloud datacenter and enables live mailbox migration to start almost immediately. All that is required on premise is deployment of target and source modules.

Migrating to Microsoft Office 365

The Exchange Admin Center in your Office 365 portal includes several migration options: remote migration, which requires a hybrid configuration between your on premise Exchange and Office 365; staged migration; cutover migration; and IMAP migration (from clients such as Google Mail).

Although cutover and staged migration theoretically support fewer than 2,000 and more than 2,000 mailboxes respectively, many experienced Office 365 consultants consider the practical limits of both migration methods to be just 150 mailboxes. Microsoft itself recommends that only a maximum of 150 mailboxes are moved in a cutover migration, so it is apparent that large projects can be very difficult to perform even if you are only migrating live mail from Exchange.

Using MailboxShuttle with Sync’n’Switch allows complete flexibility in volume and scheduling of migrations to Office 365.

QUADROtech and Microsoft

QUADROtech is a Microsoft Managed Partner with direct access to Microsoft developers through our Gold Application Development/ Datacenter/ Messaging/ Intelligent Systems, and Silver Data Platform competencies. We were named one of the 100 most promising Microsoft Solution Providers by CIO Review in 2015.

Our expertise is recognized by Microsoft itself. There are over 600,000 Microsoft partners worldwide but fewer than one percent achieve Managed Partner status. We are one of them.