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Considerations When Migrating from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange


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Considerations When Migrating from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange

  1. 1. Considerations When MigratingFrom Notes to ExchangeBy Harvey Coblin,Sherpa Software 456 Washington Avenue, Suite 2 ● Bridgeville, PA 15017 p (412) 206-0005 ● f (412) 206-0018 ●
  2. 2. Migrating from Notes to ExchangeUnder the copyright laws, neither the documentation nor the software can be copied, photocopied,reproduced, translated, or reduced to any electronic medium of machine-readable form, in whole or inpart, without the written consent of Sherpa Software Partners, except in the manner described in thesoftware agreement.© Copyright 2011 Everest Software, L.P., d.b.a. Sherpa Software Partners, L.P.All rights reserved. Printed in the United States.Microsoft, Exchange and Outlook are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporationin the United States and/or other countries. Page 2 of 4
  3. 3. Migrating from Notes to ExchangeWhat are causing organizations to migrate?Organizations change email platforms for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s to take advantage of aspecific feature in the new system, or it can be the result of a merger or acquisition where one entity’semail needs to be converted to create a consistent environment. At Sherpa Software, we offer contentsolutions for both the Lotus Notes and the Outlook/Exchange platforms. From time to time, we do seecustomers transition from one of these popular email systems to the other.Sherpa doesn’t offer direct migration tools per se, although there are plenty of other vendors andconsulting firms that do. We also don’t endorse one mail platform over another. Where we fit into thepicture is by offering – regardless of your preferred email platform - email management and e-Discoverysolutions designed to assist you with document retention and storage needs, as well as regulatorycompliance and other legal requirements.When we see customers migrate, it’s typically from the Notes environment to Exchange - although we’veseen the reverse scenario as well. While planning the move to Exchange, email administrators often wantto be assured that they won’t be giving up the mail management, archiving and e-Discovery capabilitiesthat Sherpa provided in the Notes world. Fortunately, Sherpa offers solutions of equal reliability for bothplatforms.Available alternativesBefore we get into specific considerations about migrating, let’s take a moment and discuss cloud-basedalternatives to Exchange, particularly Microsoft’s Office 365. If you’re transferring from Lotus Notes, it’s asafe bet you have a large number of users. Office 365 may not be appropriate for organizations with high-volume email. For Lotus Notes users making the switch, sticking with an on-premise solution is probablythe way to go.More importantly, if you’re already a Sherpa customer, you’re used to having absolute control of youremail environment. If you’re in a highly regulated industry, or face stringent compliance restrictions orpotential litigation, a cloud-based solution is probably not for you.Once you’ve decided to migrate to Exchange, the next question is… to which version? At first glance, theobvious answer is to upgrade to the latest and greatest, Exchange 2010. But the answer may not be assimple as it seems. Exchange 2007 included an integrated migration tool, the Microsoft Transporter Suite,to facilitate converting mail messages and calendar items from Lotus Notes or POP/IMAP sources to theExchange format. However, Microsoft has opted not to update Transporter with Exchange 2010, butrather has decided to allow third-party vendors to create migration tools. While third-party tools may be farmore flexible than the fairly bare-bones Transporter Suite, they are also expensive, with pricing typicallybased on the number of users. If you’re planning on using third-party software to help with your migration,be sure to include researching these tools as part of your planning process, and include their costs withinyour budget for the migration.As an alternative, you could use the Transporter Suite to migrate to Exchange 2007, at least as an interimstep. This saves you the expense of purchasing a third-party migration tool, but it also means you’llessentially be performing the migration process twice – assuming your ultimate goal is to be on Exchange2010. Another downside is that you can’t simply upgrade an existing Exchange 2007 server to 2010 - Page 3 of 4
  4. 4. Migrating from Notes to Exchangeyou’ll need to install an Exchange 2010 server and then make the transfer. That doesn’t necessarily meanthat you need to invest in new hardware. If you have a virtual environment, you can install a VM withExchange 2010, and then eventually drop the 2007 server after the transition.Careful considerationsWhichever route you take, it’s a good idea to create a test environment that mimics your productionenvironment as much as possible. Once you start transferring users in earnest, you’ll probably be taking aphased approach where you’re moving users to Exchange in batches. During this period, the Notes andExchange environments will need to co-exist, with users on either platform able to send and receive mailboth internally and over the Internet. You’ll also need to ensure calendaring is available and that userscan see each other’s free/busy time. Finally, you’ll need to take into account the synchronization of anymobile devices that users need for messaging.Another big consideration is whether you use Notes for custom applications outside of ordinary email. Ifthat’s the case, it might make more sense to continue to maintain some semblance of your Notesenvironment in order to retain access to those applications. It’s difficult to predict if some other solutioncan substitute for your current Notes database applications. It may be possible to use MicrosoftSharePoint or some other tool to recreate the functionality of some Notes applications (such asdiscussion databases, or QuickPlace or TeamRoom applications), but that might be a time-consumingand costly alternative. The fact that you may rely on Notes for more than just email may have some hugeimplications when deciding whether or not to migrate.Switching email platforms is never a decision that should be made lightly. But while it doesn’t have to be anightmare, it’s almost guaranteed to be a lengthy and expensive process. The good news is, regardlessof whether you’re using Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange, or transitioning between the two – if youneed to augment your email system with tools for email or content management, archiving, or e-Discovery, Sherpa Software provides solutions that are practical, reliable and affordable for organizationsof all shapes and sizes. Page 4 of 4