Migrating E-mail to Exchange Online: Challenging but Worth the Effort

Migrating E-mail to Exchange Online: Challenging but Worth the Effort

SDI’s infrastructure team shares their insights gained over this year’s cloud migration engagements, with SDI’s Tim Portokalis providing the following lessons learned:

Maintaining a Microsoft Exchange email environment is often a struggle for larger organizations due to the ever-growing size of mailboxes and the disk storage they consume.  Storage upgrades, backups, server upgrades, patches/updates, SPAM and Malware filtering are a constant battle.

Migrating to Microsoft’s Exchange Online (EOL) relieves these maintenance burdens with the following features.

  • 50GB Individual user mailboxes backed up by Microsoft
  • SPAM and Malware filtering managed by Microsoft
  • Always on the latest version of Exchange
  • More advanced email archiving and security controls

SDI has migrated thousands of email accounts to EOL which is included in the Office 365 offering. Using Microsoft provided tools and utilities, SDI can implement a “hybrid” approach where the on-premise Exchange environment and EOL coexist while mailboxes are being moved to EOL.  This requires careful planning, due diligence, and the technical expertise to ensure that the current environment is ready to be moved, the new environment is properly configured and the migration is well planned and communicated.

Some lessons learned from past migrations:

Internet capacity – The organizations link to the Internet will become the primary connection to email. It is also the connection to move existing mailboxes to Exchange Online.  Additional Internet capacity is often recommended.

Locally Stored Email Archives – Users often keep archived email on their desktop PCs. These files need to be identified and migrated.

 Large Mailboxes – All mailboxes will take time to transfer to Exchange Online. Larger mailboxes will naturally take longer. Instruct users to clean up old email as much as possible.

Service Accounts – Network attached scanners and fax machines often have email capabilities that must be accounted for. The more modern the appliance, the more likely it can be supported in EOL.

Email Distribution Lists – Must be identified but can be migrated to the EOL presence.

SDI Solutions Architect Tim Portokalis specializes in Infrastructure solutions, including designing and managing large scale network implementations, data center design and network management. For more information on SDI’s cloud migration or other IT infrastructure services, contact SDI today