Prepping for GroupWise and Notes Migrations

So, you have committed to migrating to Microsoft Exchange from Lotus Notes or Novell GroupWise. You are awaiting your engagement with your Quest Certified Migration Engineer to begin. It can be a nerve-wracking time. Exchange may be a bold new world for you.

You are probably wondering if I can do anything in advance to make this go better…

As someone who has migrated many Notes/GroupWise organizations, big and small there are certain hurdles that cause us to stumble out of the gate or while we are prepping your migration. In general they are common to both types of projects. Quite frequently, I have very limited contact before I show up on your doorstep to get you started on your migration path. So, the answer is YES there are plenty of items you can see to before we meet.

I compiled this list over time because I have lost track of hearing the quote “OH! If I had have know about that I would taken care of that two weeks ago…”

While no list can ever be complete for every environment, these are the ones I see most commonly. If you as a customer looked into any to all of these before I or any other migration engineer came to visit it would be a huge gain.

  • – Clean up.  It goes without saying for “any” migration to cleanup your environment (remove any mailboxes you do not wish to migrate, Distribution groups to remove, etc.) is a best practice. It is true you can “cherry pick” during your migration but honestly you will find that it is easier to clean it up first and just migrate what you see in the tools. You will have far more important things to be worried about while you are migrating
  • – Distribution Lists in GroupWise and Domino commonly do not have proper SMTP addresses. Exchange Distribution Lists require them. So whether provisioning or coexisting systems your Domino and GroupWise Distribution Lists need to have SMTP addresses.
  • – Resource Mailboxes in GroupWise and Domino commonly do not have proper SMTP addresses. Exchange Resource Mailboxes require them. So whether provisioning or coexisting systems your Domino and GroupWise Resources need to have SMTP addresses.
  • – “Get The Spaces Out” – Objects in GroupWise and Domino whether they have an SMTP address or not can have spaces in addresses. Spaces in address names are perfectly acceptable for internal use in GroupWise and Domino but since Exchange is reliant completely on SMTP this will not work. A migration or Coexistence to will attempt to rectify this with placeholder characters but it will not co-exist well nor will it be formatted in such a way you will want it.\
  • – Do your regular system maintenance on your mail system. Especially important to GroupWise to ensure GWChecks are ran and/or if you in possession of an old GroupWise system a “top down rebuild” may be in order
  • Check your visibility. Make sure all the mailboxes you wish to migrate are visible. If they are not, the migration tools will not pick them up and you may leave a vital mailbox behind.
  • – Try to get a handle on your Archives. At minimum determine where they are Desktop or Server. Having that answer will help your Quest certified migration engineer determine the best strategy to help you through this facet of migration
  • – If you are using any type of Identity Management System to populate your Active Directory tell your Quest Certified Migration Engineer up front. Especially if it synchronizes any sort of attribute that pertains to e-mail.
  • – In a Notes migration, if you have developed any “custom” templates notify your Quest Certified Migration Engineer as early as possible.

Cleaning Mailbox Contents…

Also as a side note, it may seem like a good idea to ask your users to “clean up” their mailboxes. In theory a great plan, and if you have a savvy responsive user community… sure go ahead. The thought process being  = the less I have to migrate the less time it will take…. true. But, only if the user deletes and empties the trash of any unneeded messages. A more likely scenario (assuming people read your notification) a user can get whipped into a paranoid frenzy. Thinking that this is going to “mess-up” their email, your user can potentially “back up” their mailbox by moving their data to their archive or better yet creating new ones you do not know about. Guess what happens next? 9/10 those archives are not “in-scope” for immediate migration… and guess who now does not have any email the next morning but had a really fast migration? Also who is yelling at the top of their lungs “I told you so!!!!”… well sir/ma’am you actually did this to yourself. Also that user… has people sitting next to them and he/she told them to do the same thing. My advice to you, accept the fact you have big mailboxes, non-work related messages, and stale data and SPAM that will be migrated. We will engineer around the size of the mailbox. As for the other stuff… look at it this way every company has that in their users mailboxes, you will get more, and some will get deleted (maybe), its the nature of email.