Evaluating the Choices for Cross-Forest Exchange Migrations

Until recently, organizations looking to perform an Exchange migration between different Active Directory (AD) forests really only had two choices of software tools for assisting with the migration. You could write migration scripts using theExchange Management Shell (PowerShell) programming method that Microsoft provided, or you could use legacy 3rd party tools from ISVs. Unfortunately, these choices have left a lot to be desired for organizations looking to perform and manage migration projects.

Cross-Forest Exchange Migration Choices

The PowerShell method lacks the ability to effectively schedule the migration processing, and it doesn’t give you the ability to inform your end-users of their personal migration schedule. In essence, you’re dealing with a completely manual method. It doesn’t give you any control over the management aspects to run your migration project unattended. And it requires a higher level of knowledge in order to properly execute the project in a way that doesn’t negatively impact your end-users.

The second traditional choice has been agent-based tools from ISVs that were mostly architected over 10 years ago to handle migrations from Exchange 5.5 to 2000. While these tools were somewhat helpful at the time, they are not well architected to assist with migrating recent versions of Exchange Server. Especially when you think about having to deploy multiple agents on all of the Exchange servers in your environment. That’s where they have to run, or perhaps crawl is the better term, as they are typically 10 times slower than PowerShell and PowerShell-based technology. These agents have a three-step process and work in a serial progression. First, they export the mailbox data to a file on the source Exchange server. And then you wait. And then another agent copies the data file from the source server to the target server and you wait some more. And then finally, another agent imports that mailbox data into a server. The net result is that these transitions are quite tedious and slow in their execution. These tools make for a very long, drawn out project.

So what’s the good news? The good news is that there is a new alternative designed specifically for a new generation of Exchange Servers and it’s dramatically better than the other choices available.

The new solution of choice is E2E Complete from Binary Tree.  E2E Complete is a web-based software tool that leverages Microsoft PowerShell, Silverlight, and SQL Server.  E2E Complete is architected to support any Exchange-to-Exchange migration scenario including upgrading single-forest organizations to Exchange Server 2010, cross-forest Exchange Migrations, and migrations to Exchange Online in the Microsoft Office 365 cloud, and to hybrid on-premises/cloud-based environments. 

Here are a few sample reasons why you should consider E2E Complete for your next Exchange migration.

E2E Complete is the Smart Choice.

E2E Complete automates the communications, management and reporting processes that administrators have to do manually if they use legacy tools.  E2E Complete enables administrators to automate end-users notifications and offer a self-service portal so that end-users can manage the date they will be migrated.  E2E Complete also provides a centralized scheduling and management console via a web interface to efficiently manage and report on every aspect of the migration project.  Administrators are forced to perform all of these tasks manually if they use legacy migration tools.

E2E Complete is the Fast choice. 

E2E Complete migrates mailboxes up to 10 times faster than legacy tools.  E2E Complete uses PowerShell to migrate data up to 10 times faster than the legacy tools that transfer mailbox data between environments through a series of server-based agents.  Plus, E2E Complete doesn’t force Outlook users that operate in cached mode (offline mode) to rebuild their local mail files after the migration like the legacy tools do. 

E2E Complete is the Simple choice.

E2E Complete is ready to use in about one hour versus three to five days for legacy tools. E2E Complete can be installed, configured and ready to use in about an hour compared to the agent-based legacy tools that typically require three to five days to install and configure agents on every Exchange server in your environment.  Plus, in that first hour, E2E Complete will automatically import almost 100 mailbox and active directory attributes into its tracking database, giving you the information you need to organize and schedule your migration lists.

E2E Complete is a Thumbs Up

So make sure to make the right choice when selecting software to assist with your Exchange migration.  The smart, fast, and simple choice is E2E Complete.

- Val