MirrorSphere has extensive experience of migration on-premise Exchange environments to Office 365, either part of fully cloud. Here we provide the top 8 things to consider when migrating to Office 365.
1. Current Environment Issues
The biggest cause for concern when migrating from On-Premise Exchange is the current stability of the environment.
Before undertaking the migration and stability issues need to be addressed to assure there are no complications during the migration or corrupt or missing data in the target after the migration.
Corruption is the biggest cause of environmental issues and is obviously detrimental to any migration. Any corruption needs to be identified and fixed. If necessary, recovery to the most stable environment needs to be performed to assure the best results from the migration.
2. Mitigate Against Downtime
Is it imperative that emails are accessible at all times? While this is not very likely, it could be one of your requirements. If that is the case, the migration process will be considerably longer and extra precautions will need to be taken in order to achieve this.
If however users only need access to emails during work hours, simply moving the migration process to out-of-hours would be sufficient.
3. Connection Speeds
Maybe an obvious hurdle to consider is the outbreak connection speeds from all applicable servers. Is the uplink configured correctly? Is it performing at the optimum speed? When the migration is to take place, will there be a increase / decrease in traffic?
All these questions needs to be answered and resolved to enhance the performance of the migration.
Connection speeds should be addressed when predicting timescales for the migration, even if other migrations reach faster speeds, it is not certain your migration will follow suit. Timescales should be adjusted accordingly based on the connection speeds you are achieving.
4. Security Configurations
Security Configuration are easily the most common tripping point with any migration to the cloud specifically Office 365 Migrations.
Firewalls need to be configured to allow traffic through without interruption for the transporting of items from the on-premise Exchange. It is also a case that many environments are so locked down that default tools have been known to be blocked.
It is imperative that security is configured for best performance during the migration. Processes that could potentially take 2 hours with no restrictions, have been known to take up to 2 days when having to jump through the security hoops put in place in organisations.
Proxy Servers and CAS Server need to be considered and worked into the migration plan as most migration plans consider a straight direct Exchange to Cloud solutions, Proxy and CAS Servers often add an extra layer of complexity that needs to be understood and addressed.
5. Outlook Client Versions
Often overlooked is the Outlook Versions deployed to users. Currently, Outlook 2007 SP3 is the minimum requirement when connecting to Office 365. It has often been the case where Outlook 2003 environments have attempted to migrate to Office 365 and customers have been stumped as to why data from Office 365 is not accessible.
While this seems like an obvious and simple solution, it should be checked at the time of migration what the minimum Outlook Client Version should be and no version lower than this should be found in the environment.
6. Compliance Requirements
Data often has a retention period that has to be legally met. For example, data needs to be held for seven years and then has to be deleted when the time is up. If there are compliance requirements where data has to be held or removed, this should be taken into consideration before undertaking any migration project.
Firstly, are items being purged as required currently or are there items sitting in storage that should have been deleted? If so, it should be seen that the surplus data is not migrated to the target environment.
Secondly, are there items that need to be stored for compliance purposes? If so, this data needs to be migrated and secured in Office 365. Is there a procedure in place for this to occur?
Finally, once the target is populated with data that needs to be taken, data has been secured from accidental deletion where appropriate and required data has been purged, consideration should be taken into how easily searchable and accessible the data is for any legal or internal investigations.
7. Third Party Integrations
It has often been the case with Exchange Migrations to the cloud where 3rd Party integrations to the on-premise Exchange have caused issues where items have a customised message class which is not recognised in Office 365.
It should be assessed before undertaking the migration of any 3rd Party integration prerequisites and procedures to ensuring the data is migrated as required.
8. Archiving Solution
Many archiving solutions do not provide a native method of migrating data out of the program.
In order to reclaim space from your Exchange Servers, you may have deployed an archiving solution in order to archive less frequently accessed items to more suitable storage. As such when migrating from your on-premise Exchange to Office 365 consideration will need to be taken into what becomes of the archived information and how this data can be migrated.
Here at MirrorSphere we specialise in Enterprise Vault and have experience of dealing with migrations to Office 365 with EV archives. Enterprise Vault does provide an archiving solution to cloud environments and can be used to continue archiving pre migration.
However, as migrating to Office 365 has the benefit of saving on-premise storage, it is often required for the archived data to be migrated to the cloud as well. There is a 3rd-Party tool that can migrate this data efficiently called TransVault.