Streamlined Migration to Exchange 2010

When it comes to deploying and customizing their technologies, Microsoft has never wanted to grow a large services organization internally. Instead they have fostered a global business partner ecosystem that they rely on to help customers utilize the Microsoft platform to meet business needs. Many opportunities abound for smart business partners to deliver solutions and services that help customers accelerate the use of Microsoft technologies. Transitioning customers to the latest version of Microsoft Exchange is just such an opportunity where Binary Tree has focused in the past seven years.

Since the 2000 release, Microsoft Exchange has become a more capable and more complex product. For those customers who are still running Exchange 2003, (and there are quite a few of you) the double-jump to Exchange 2010 will be a big undertaking.  Research from 2009 and 2010 shows that possibly 50% of the market is still running Exchange 2003 (Metalogix - 800 respondents, 50% on E2003; Oserman - 50% of respondents on E2003. 65% planning upgrades to E2010). The complexity of the upgrade to Exchange 2010 stems from the understanding that the process is actually more of a migration experience.

Exchange 2007, Exchange Server 2010 only works on the 64-bit version of Windows Server and in the case of Exchange 2010, only Windows 2008 is supported.  Also, Exchange Server 2010 does not support an in-place upgrade from Exchange 2003.  All of this adds up to the requirement for a completely new hardware set to be installed for the transition, and users will need to be migrated with their data to this new server environment. Thankfully, Exchange Server 2010 will work in a mixed environment alongside Exchange Server 2003. This is helpful because it simplifies the process of adding Exchange Server 2010 to the customer’s existing environment. There are certainly a number of compelling features in Exchange Server 2010 that make it appealing for organizations. However, between the requirement for the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008, and the inability to perform an in-place upgrade from previous versions of Exchange Server, the process of moving to Exchange Server 2010 can be complex and daunting.

Customers planning their Exchange upgrade (migration, actually) from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 have one goal in common. Get it done quickly so you can retire the old servers. However, they also include the following axiom to the project dependencies:  “… get it done as painlessly as possible”.  The trouble is that these two goals can be diametrically opposed when you consider the end-user and administrator experiences. Migrating the users and their data from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 has its challenges, including:

  • User Mailboxes are Offline During the Migration (no access available)
  • Powershell Commands must be Manually Scripted for Migration Request Processing
  • Completion Tracking and Processing Throughput/Reporting Doesn’t Exist (must be done manually via spreadsheets)

For small migrations consisting of 100 mailboxes, these challenges may not be concerns as all users can be transitioned over a single weekend using theExchange Management Console (EMC). However, for larger migrations, especially those that have multiple server sites to manage, the project could be quite cumbersome. This can be beneficial for consulting companies that get paid by the hour, but an IT group that has daily job responsibilities can be overwhelmed with a six month migration project.

To solve this conundrum, Binary Tree has created an integrated scheduling, end-user communication, automated migration processing, management and forecasting/reporting tool that facilitates the transition to Exchange 2010.
E2E Complete (or Exchange-to-Exchange Complete) provides administrators with a full-featured toolset that enables a managed migration approach and streamlines the transition to finish the project both Quickly and Painlessly. For more information on E2E Complete or to discuss how E2E Complete can help you with your Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 migration project, email us here.