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The Sherpa Approach: A PST Migration Case Study

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The best way to understand the complexities of PST migration is to look at a specific business case example. A leading global payment services company, with over 10,000 users, was tasked with locating all PST data throughout their network and moving it into Microsoft Exchange’s Online Archives. To make matters even more challenging, each user had anywhere from three to 150 PST files, making it close to a petabyte of PST data. Furthermore, this data was dispersed across their entire network on network shares and on the local users’ machines. Locating and ingesting all of this data manually was clearly not an option.

In this Sherpa Approach paper, we will answer the following questions through the exploration of this real life customer’s PST migration story:

Why do companies choose to migrate PSTs?
What are popular PST migration targets?
What issues arise when migrating PSTs?
Why use Mail Attender to perform your PST migration project?

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The Sherpa Approach: A PST Migration Case Study

  1. 1. December 2012The Sherpa Approach: A PST Migration Case Study In today’s world of Information Technology, migrations have become a very popular topic and a point of emphasis in most strategic plans. More specifically, PST migration has been on the radar of most Exchange administrators. One of the biggest problems they face is locating and migrating PST files for an impending migration. Many organizations with legacy and environmental considerations still require the continued use and management of their PST files. But it has become apparent the vast majority of companies are seeking efficient ways to migrate the data PSTs contain and eliminate their use, which is easier said than done. The best way to understand the complexities of PST migration is to look at a specific business case example. A leading global payment services company, with over 10,000 users, was tasked with locating all PST data throughout their network and moving it into Microsoft Exchange’s Online Archives. To make matters even more challenging, each user had anywhere from three to 150 PST files, making it close to a petabyte of PST data! Furthermore, this data was distributed across their entire network on network shares and on the local users’ machines. Locating and ingesting all of this data manually was clearly not an option. In this Sherpa Approach paper, we will answer the following questions through the exploration of this real life customer’s PST migration story: • Why do companies choose to migrate PSTs? • What are popular PST migration targets? • What issues arise when migrating PSTs? • Why use Mail Attender to perform your PST migration project?Why Migrate Although companies choose to migrate their data for many different reasons, the underlying goal of every migration is always the same: to centralize all data in one place so that it isPSTs easier to manage. This was no different for the 10,000 user company who saw the numerous upsides to performing this migration. For one, having the data in one location provided a more complete understanding of it for their IT Department and personnel. The more complete the understanding, the better they could manage it. This helps them do things like free up storage by deleting any irrelevant data within their environment. Compliance also plays a key role in why companies choose to migrate. Being able to implement retention policies on all relevant data also becomes much easier to do now that the data is all in one place. By making sure retention policies are applied on all relevant data, IT is able to ensure that their organization remains compliant, which limits their liability. Another common reason companies migrate is to update their systems and software to the newest versions available, to take advantage of new features. This 10,000 user company did this by going from an older version of Exchange to Exchange 2010. 1|Page
  2. 2. What are Although this paper mainly focuses on a customer’s story of moving to Exchange 2010 Online Archives, there are other popular PST migration targets. Not by coincidence, somepopular PST of them also happen to be some of the hottest topics in IT today. It’s challenging to discussmigration today’s IT landscape without bringing up topics like “the cloud” and Exchange Server (2010targets? and 2013), and that is no different for the topic of PST migration. Exchange 2010 Personal (Online) Archives Organizations interested in eliminating the use of PST files will have to address the volumes of legacy data they house. Online Archives, available now as a secondary data store natively in Exchange 2010, are a viable alternative to the use of PST files. Most organizations, like the 10,000 user company we are discussing, choose to migrate this data into the Online Archives, centralizing the data and benefiting from the available unified management options. As anyone who has undertaken this task can attest, migrating this huge mass of data is daunting. The “cloud” Migrating data to the cloud has been an extremely popular trend over the last three to five years. Two of the most popular cloud or hosted mail environments that we continue to hear about are Microsoft Office 365 and Google mail. Options such as Yahoo, Hotmail (now known as Outlook.com), and some other smaller cloud providers do exist as well. However, before you consider riding the cloud trend, it is definitely worth doing the research for yourself to determine if moving to the cloud is right for you and your company. There are surely advantages and disadvantages to using cloud-based services, which was the topic of a past blog post entitled “On-Premise vs Cloud Computing.” Other Exchange Servers and Archiving Solutions Other migration targets include: older exchange server versions, like user mailboxes and public folders in Exchange 2003 and 2007, and other business class email archiving solutions, like Sherpa Software’s award-winning Archive Attender for Exchange.Issues when When moving vast amounts of PST data and centralizing it all in one place, inevitably, there are issues. As previously mentioned in “The Sherpa Approach: Discovery Attender - Themigrating PSTs Swiss Army Knife in Your Information Management Toolbox,” one of the biggest issues IT administrators face is the wide dispersion of their data. The more widely dispersed a company’s data, the harder it is going to be to find and centralize for migration. Because PSTs are generally stored locally on user desktops and not on network shares, IT administrators have a much harder time finding and centralizing this data. Another big issue, specifically for companies moving PSTs to Online Archives, is that each PST requires proper mapping to the appropriate Exchange Online Archive. Importing duplicate information is also a problem when migrating data out of PST files. Because our case study company had approximately a petabyte of data, all of these issues were greatly magnified, making them show-stopping problems. Overcoming any of these issues manually or with other software products could have meant loss of time and money. 2|Page
  3. 3. How did Mail Sherpa Software’s Mail Attender for Exchange (a practical, reliable and affordable email management solution) is a tool that initially was developed as an email policy and retentionAttender for enforcement product. It has been enhanced over the years to meet the needs of theExchange changing email management landscape. Its robust architecture and wide reach allowsnavigate these administrators to scan, report on, manage and migrate data stored in Exchange mailboxes, Online Archives, public folders and PST files. Retention policies can be enforced easily andcomplex PST uniformly in all of those data silos, including difficult to locate and even harder to managemigration desktop PST files.issues? One issue facing our 10,000 user customer was the difficult task of locating desktop PSTs. It so happens that Mail Attender’s ability to find and process PST files located on end-users’ desktops is one of its biggest advantages and most sought after features. In this example, Mail Attender was able to easily perform this task by collecting all the PSTs from both network shares and end-user machines alike, while allowing the administrator to control the ingestion process from an easy-to-use, centralized console. Once all of the PST data was located and collected by Mail Attender, the messages from the PST files then needed to be ingested into the proper Online Archive. Another great feature of Mail Attender is its ability to ingest the PST files directly into the Exchange Online Archives, cutting the processing time almost in half, saving the company valuable time and money. With the thousands of PST files belonging to the 10,000 users, it would have been unreasonable to perform the mapping of PST files to the owner’s Online Archives manually. Mail Attender’s “Scan for Ownership” feature automates and simplifies this task by analyzing the content of these PST files. Finally, due to the large amount of data stored within the PST files, this company also wanted to ensure that only a minimal amount of data was pushed back into Exchange, eliminating duplicate data. To accomplish this, the company used a feature within Mail Attender that allowed it to identify and eliminate any duplicate messages prior to being ingested into the Online Archives. This greatly reduced the storage requirements within Exchange, which was a major concern with the existing petabyte of data.Conclusion It’s no secret migrations are becoming a top priority for IT departments across the globe. It is Sherpa Software’s approach that if you have PSTs and are looking to migrate them, Mail Attender for Exchange should be part of your tool kit. If you want a practical, reliable and affordable tool that can make your PST migration a “smart” migration, try Sherpa Software’s Mail Attender for Exchange. It will allow you to locate, collect, and migrate only the data you need. Our 10,000 user customer ended up being extremely happy that a reasonably priced solution like Mail Attender was able to successfully and easily solve their problem. This company is currently using Exchange Online Archives and is happy to have all PST data centralized. Now they can better manage their data, which allows them to greatly reduce their risk and liability. The cost and time savings generated by Mail Attender compared to performing this manually or by using other tools was substantial. For that, both the management team and IT Department are extremely grateful. 3|Page
  4. 4. If you want a If you have specific questions about how Mail Attender can help with your PST migration project or managing your PSTs in general, please emailpractical, reliable information@sherpasoftware.com or call us toll free at 1-800-255-5155.and affordabletool that can make your PST migrationa “smart” migration,try Sherpa Software’sMail Attender forExchange. For over 10 years Sherpa Software has provided IT Professionals with award-winningAbout Sherpa information management software and services specifically designed to address emailSoftware management, archiving, e-discovery, PST management and compliance requirements for Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange environments. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sherpa’s solutions are practical, reliable and affordable and have helped thousands of organizations worldwide. Their products offer flexible architectures that streamline administrative processes without requiring any additional hardware or add-on components. Sherpa Software is an IBM Premier Business Partner and a Microsoft Certified Partner. For more information about Sherpa Software, visit www.sherpasoftware.com. 456 Washington Avenue Bridgeville, PA 15017 www.SherpaSoftware.com 1.800.255.5155 4|Page

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