How Does Coexistence Manager for Notes or GroupWise Factor in to my Migration to Office 365?

Deciding on your coexistence strategy for a Notes/GroupWise migration can be a complicated matter… maybe even one you didn’t know you had to solve as part of the over all transition. The purpose of the following is to help understand how this works using Quest Coexistence Manager and what you can do and what your limitations are when migrating to Office 365.

 

Scenario:

We are organization that has a pre-existing Lotus Notes or Novell GroupWise environment. We have chosen to migrate to a Microsoft Platform and we have selected Office 365. We are looking at products to do it and this thing called Coexistence Manager for Notes (CMN) or Coexistence Manager for GroupWise (CMG) keeps coming up, What that all about? Do I need it do my migration? Are there limitations?

This is a common question asked of these types of migrations and the answer is not as straightforward as you might think…

Let’s start with…. “What is Coexistence?”

In our technical sense Coexistence is defined as multiple “different” computing environments working together as single system. So, we have our Notes or GroupWise environment working together with Office 365 as one Email system for our organization’s email needs.

“Why on Earth do I need to do that?”

Simply put migrations are not done overnight, and your business critical email system cannot stop for a transition. All migrations from systems like this require some manner of coexistence. But you technically do not need a tool to enable a degree of coexistence. These tools augment the user experience to smooth the transition period over a long-term (weeks/months… and yes years) migration. So, if you care about that end user experienceyou care about Coexistence Manager.

“OK, let’s say I am willing to accept that… What will this thing do for me?”

Coexistence Manager has three parts:

  • Mail Connector – Located functionally between the Notes/GroupWise servers and the Exchange/Office 365 servers. It provides Bi or Uni-directional Translation of messages from any specialized source format email messages to that of the target system when required. Standard email messages for SMTP transfer of messages does not require this. An Example would be meeting requests/adjustments to and from Notes/GroupWise and Exchange/Office 365
  • Directory Connector – Global Address Book/NAB or Address Book synchronization across the different email platforms. This will enable both systems to choose mail recipients from a local address book even if they live in the opposite system.
  • Free/Busy Connector – Busy search capability for meeting requests. “So if I don’t use CMN/CMG can I still migrate?” Yes, you would have to configure basic SMTP mail-flow between Notes/GroupWise and Exchange/Office 365. But all of the other functionality will either not be available (Free/Busy, Translations) or is possible but may have limitations with other methods (DirSync) such as scripting or mailbox pre-staging.

“OK, It’s important I get it. Let’s get it and put it all in!!!!”

Ease up; you may be about to make a mistake. Here is where we translate the fine print and what that actually means. Remember when I said…. “Its not a straightforward answer.” The capabilities of this tool also are dependent on how you are configuring Office 365. In your “standard” “On-Premises” migration all the features are pretty much available, not necessarily when you have 365.

The Table below outlines the basic support features:

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

  Mail Connector Directory Connector Free/Busy Connector
Office 365 100% cloud based x * With limitations
Office 365 with Identity Federation (DirSync) x x x
Office 365 with full federation x x x

 

  • Directory Connector is not supported in a 100% Cloud-based set up. This Component creates/reads Objects to/from a local on-premises Active Directory. In a 100% cloud-based system this is not in play and negates the feature.

“So what would you do in that case?”

Ultimately you would be looking at a scripted solution (or a manual effort) that may or may not be as flexible and automated as Coexistence Manager. It is not impossible but you can spend your time in better ways in my opinion.

  • Free/Busy is limited in a 100% cloud based solution but not impossible

“OK… what does that mean?”

Free/Busy Components rely on configuring attributes on Exchange Contact Objects or Mail Enabled Users (MEU), and Domino Person Documents. GroupWise has different options depending on the version and ultimately I would not recommend doing this for GroupWise at all. The configured attributes work with the Free/Busy components to broker the Free/Busy requests to the disparate technology system. These could be scripted or manually configured. But that effort = time, and you run extra risk of missing, or misconfiguring users.

“What else do I need to account for?”

Good Question!

There are a lot of things to factor in:

  • Is your version of Notes or GroupWise supported for this tool? Find out at https://support.quest.com
  • Since you are migrating to Office 365 which is located on the internet all mail routing addresses between Domino/GroupWise must be internet legal addresses or subdomains of internet legal addresses
  • If you are using Free/Busy it uses web services and requires a ”trusted” HTTPS certificate (ideally a purchased certificate)
  • Ports to allow access to the aforementioned Free/Busy web server must be opened externally (Port 443)
  • When you are migrating, once you mailbox-enable a user in Office 365 (license), the Free/Busy information is now whatever is in that mailbox Exchange/ Office365 bypasses CMN/CMG in favour of its own services. BE careful when mailbox-enabling during your migration you will introduce unexpected results if you do not time this correctly.
  • This is a trick installation with a lot of moving parts, exercise care during implementation and use Certified Quest Professionals

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