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A postcard from along the "Migration Trail" - Revisited

While I'm sitting in my hotel room awaiting completion of a few mega .pst files to finish being converted into a Domino mail database, I remembered I wrote a post about migration a while back.  Kind of weird that it's almost 3 years to the day I wrote it.  Even more funny that most of the post still holds true.  But this time, I did have to travel.  I have to be in the office tomorrow morning at 6 A freakin M to make sure everyone is working properly.  So, if you are about to start your life as a Digital Moses, this is the way I recommend it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A postcard from along the "Migration Trail"

Since Lotusphere 2009 ended my life has been a mix of mail migrations and other weird life stuff, hence the blog silence. So with a migration project about 85% done, I figured it was time for me to resurface in the blogsphere and jot down my thoughts.
One thing I am learning about mail migrations now more then in migrations past is that it can be a REALLY long process to complete at times. Especially when you don't have access to the Exchange servers that you are freeing those individuals from. Currently when I need to move a user to Notes, I have to get the third party outsource folks to cut me a .PST and send it over to me. Now when there are a few small mail files with not a lot of documents, it's a quick process for CMT, (yes, I am giving props to a vendor in a blog post. They have a good product and they deserve the notice), to complete. But when the mail file has t-h-o-u-s-a-n-d-s of documents to migrate, it takes a while.
So my advice for those Domino Admins that are tasked with playing "Digital Moses" and leading people to the promised land of Domino, fear not. The task, while a long a drawn out one at times, can be done. Just have patience and follow these steps:
  1. Use a good product like CMT for Notes. It's a powerful package with a lot of options to configure for how you want your migration to go.
  2. Set expectations ahead of time as much as possible. Let the populace know that it's not just a copy/paste type of operation. Let them know that this is a single threaded operation of taking messages one at a time and converting them.
  3. Think outside the box when it comes to how you migrate users. For example, I didn't have to travel to each of the remote locations that we've installed a new Domino server at. I set up a temporary Domino server locally at the home office in a VM, created the mail files on that server and then moved the users to their remote home server before migration, but NOT deleting the replica that is left behind. When it came time to migrate them, I configured CMT to convert the files to the server that is local to me and then let Domino replicate the data down to that location. Don't forget, you can configure Domino to compress network traffic between servers and clients when configured correctly and that can save some time and strain on your WAN.
  4. No matter how hard you try to communicate to users before the migration to move everything they need from their local archive in Outlook to the Exchange server, they are going to leave something behind. Hold onto the .PST's for a while so you can easily investigate the "are you sure you migrated everything over" calls. Screenshots showing the old Outlook file and the Notes mailbox looking exactly the same take care of those issues real quick.
So there you have, my postcard of thoughts from along the mail "Migration Trail". Like most things, the old saying "there's more then one way to skin a mongoose" applies to this too. You may have some ways of doing this differently and if it works for you, great! Just post it on a blog so we can all learn from it too ;-)
 **DISCLAIMER** - My company does not endorse other products like this openly.  I am purely writing this as a Domino Administrator that is glad his life if made easier with a product that works well.

Apr 22, 2012
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