Microsoft do offer native tools to help users with their Exchange migration but they are not always user-friendly. Often they are lengthy, time consuming and prone to error. Here are the 10 things we think would be most helpful to users when migrating using Microsoft’s own processes.
Exchange Migration Tips
1. Provide means to estimate the total migration time accurately
Knowing how much time a migration will take is important when
planning how to deal with the potential downtime. Setting up an
infrastructure and then running a test migration to find out how long it
will take can be time consuming and complex. A simpler means of
estimating the exact time it will take would make the whole process much
2. Standardized migration processes for different versions
Admins using different versions of Exchange have different
experiences with Exchange migration. Older versions of Exchange
(Exchange 2003 or before) may experience more issues when migrating. For
example, someone who wants to migrate from Exchange 2003 to Exchange
2013 will have to do a double hop migration from Exchange 2003 to
2007/10 and then to the latest 2013 /16. The same is the case with
Exchange 2003 to Office 365 migration.
3. Similar processes for all types of migrations
Exchange migration may vary significantly depending on the source and
the target environments. Various types include same domain (single
Exchange migration), same domain (multiple Exchange migration),
different domain, Office 365 and hosted Exchange Server migrations.
Making the migration process as similar as possible for each type will
help speed up and simplify it.
4. Eliminate the requirement of additional infrastructure
Additional infrastructure, such as a migration server, needs to be
setup in order to perform native migrations. Users also have to run some
additional tools for pre-migration analysis and configuration. Virtual
infrastructure can be setup manually but a lot of the time users can
experience issues with this approach. Migrations that don’t require
additional infrastructure would be much easier and may reduce the amount
of issues that users come across.
5. Ensure minimum impact to the existing users
Occasionally, some Exchange versions mailboxes are unavailable to
users throughout migration process. This can be particularly irritating
when the migration can last for days. Being able to schedule the
migrations to run during non-office hours would help to minimize the
disruption to end users.
6. Simplify the entire migration process
During the migration, glitches can occur if your Exchange environment is not properly configured. There can be an overwhelming amount of variables to consider, and anything you miss may cause the migration to fail. The overall migration process just need to be simplified.
7. Speed up the migration process
Migration speed hinges on a number of factors, including the server
resources. If your server resources aren’t up to the task then the
migration can take a long time regardless of your network capacity. One
solution to speed up the migration would be if you could use the
resources of other network computers in addition to the server
8. Offer a way of hands off migration
In large organizations with terabytes of data, migrations may run for
days and admins may be spending an excessive amount of time keeping
watch to make sure everything runs smoothly. If the migration stops
admins won’t know about it until they get round to checking it. Alerting
should be introduced to notify admins immediately if the migration
9. Show the migration status in user friendly GUI
While the migration is in progress, admins may want to know what has
been migrated, what hasn’t, and how much time remains. It would be
useful if Microsoft provided a GUI based reporting console to give this
information in an easily consumable format.
10. Provide an easy means to roll-back the migration
Once the mailboxes and public folders have been migrated, you may
find that you want to roll back the entire migration and put things back
to their original state. At the moment Microsoft does not provide an
easy means to do this.
Achieving a successful migration is possible using native processes but it is by no means perfect. There are many factors to consider and potential issues to overcome when relying on native migration alone. We believe that, until Microsoft addresses the key issues we have outlined in this article, the most effective means of carrying out migrations is with the use of third-party Exchange Migration solutions . This solution provides all the things that we think users want that aren’t currently available using native processes.