“This Exchange migration project was a complete success. The E22 migration tool was so easy to learn. After just 15-minutes of training, I was scheduling my first migration jobs to run later that night.”
- Lynnette Lusk, Systems Administrator, Foster Swift
A Needed Unified Communications Upgrade
Foster Swift had been using Microsoft Exchange as their email platform for many years and wanted to take advantage of the new features available in the 2010 version. Most important was the unified messaging service, or voicemail, that would allow them to retire their old Cisco Unity platform. The plan would also allow their IT group to move away from dedicated hardware for Exchange server roles and utilize a virtualized infrastructure instead.
However, the project would involve migrating their production email to a new platform which could incur loss of productivity during the transition. The project team knew that they would have to schedule the mailbox moves over late nights to reduce the possible impact on their user community. In addition, the migrations would have to be coordinated with new training for voicemail and other advanced features provided in the new version of Exchange.
Given these challenges, Foster Swift thought that the entire project was going to be drawn out over weeks and weeks as they could only process a small group of users every evening. A few lawyers had mailboxes over 12 Gigabytes. To assist them in the project they reached out to a local systems integration partner that specialized in the architecture, deployment and migrations for Exchange 2010
Partnering for a Successful Migration
Foster Swift chose Logicalis, a Binary Tree Premier Partner and Microsoft Gold Partner, to conduct the messaging migration project. The quality of the technical proposal presented by Logicalis, the recommendation to use the Binary Tree migration solution, and a positive experience on previous projects for Foster Swift were factors in this selection.
Logicalis introduced the Foster Swift project team to the Exchange Pro software tool that automated the migration scheduling, processing, tracking and user communications for the entire migration project. Exchange Pro was installed on day two of the project and it automatically discovered the Exchange servers deployed in the environment and pulled all user information from Active Directory (AD) and Exchange into its central tracking database. In just under an hour, the project team was able to sort the users by department, security group, distribution lists, and other AD attributes provided within the Exchange Pro administration console.
With this information at their fingertips, they were able to quickly build their pilot migration groups and use the tool to schedule them for migration later that night.
Simple Scheduling Capabilities and Accurate Forecasting
The project team chose to migrate a small number of pilot users to benchmark the amount of mailbox data that could be transferred during the available processing time each night. “We were curious to see how many users we could move every night. The migration tool tracked the metrics for each migration job and provided us with a detailed listing of the data throughput achieved during the pilot. Based on that information we were able to confidently forecast and communicate the migration schedules to the users and start our production implementation,” stated Lynnette Lusk, System Administrator, Foster Swift.
The project team set up the migration jobs to run for the next several nights and the Exchange Pro tool was able to work unattended with a remote support team from Logicalis monitoring the processing. The migration activity was largely trouble-free, with only one problem in moving a few user mailboxes that contained corrupt items. This issue was reported automatically by the migration tool and the support team monitoring the nightly processing was able to resolve the issue and reset those users to migrate with a click of a button. “Using Binary Tree’s Exchange Pro solution, we were able to automate the entire migration process, and it saved us loads of time that we usually have to spend sending user communications and updating spreadsheets to track our progress,” said Dean Sesko, System Architect for Logicalis.
The migration processing speed was also a surprise to the Foster Swift project team. “We thought the throughput would be a few gigabytes per hour, but using the Exchange Pro toolset we saw just over 14 gigabytes per hour of mailbox data being transferred to the new servers,” stated Sesko. “This significantly decreased the project timeline and allowed Foster Swift to more quickly repurpose their legacy Exchange server hardware for other tasks.”
Focusing on the End-User Experience
Another favorite feature that was reported by the project team was the automation of the enduser communications. Not only did the Exchange Pro migration software send accurate emails to each user with an estimate of the duration for their scheduled migration, but it also alerted them immediately when their migration was finished. And all of this was tracked within the Exchange Pro tool which provided a web interface for the IT team at Foster Swift to check on the processing history and create updated status reports easily for their management team.
The migration project finished way ahead of schedule and the helpdesk received very few calls related to the mail migration segment of the overall project plan. “The Exchange migration project was a complete success. The Exchange Pro migration tool was so easy to learn. After just 15- minutes of training, I was scheduling my first migration jobs to run later that night,” said Lusk.
Logicalis is an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services founded on a superior breadth of knowledge and expertise in communications and collaboration; data centre; business analytics; video; professional and managed services, hosting and cloud services. Logicalis Group employs nearly 2,500 people worldwide, including highly trained service specialists who design, specify, deploy and manage complex ICT infrastructures to meet the needs of over 6,000 corporate and public sector customers. To achieve this, Logicalis maintains strong partnerships with technology leaders such as Cisco, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and NetApp. The Logicalis Group has annualized revenues of over $1 billion, from operations in the UK, US, Germany, South America and Asia Pacific, and is fast establishing itself as one of the leading IT and Communications solution integrators, specializing in the areas of advanced technologies and services. The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg and London AIM Stock Exchanges, with revenues of approximately $5 billion