Monday, August 31, 2009

Migrating Resource Scheduler Data into Exchange 2007

No sooner was one of us back from the Seattle Opera Ring Cycle (Janice Baird rocks!) than we got one of our favorite types of inquiries: Can we get data out of Resource Scheduler and into Exchange 2007 native?

Short answer: Yes.

If you're primarily using Resource Scheduler to book rooms (something Exchange 2003 did not do well) and want to take advantage of the newer (and better) capability in Exchange 2007, this is very doable. We've already figured out how the Resource Scheduler SQL schema is structured and can simply modify and re-propose the meetings with mailbox-enabled resources on E2K7. With this knowledge if you want to try to write this code yourselves, go ahead, but be forewarned, it is harder than you think.

In contrast to the hundreds of calendar migrations we've done, this is more of an informed consent clinical trial right now, but if you're interested drop us a line. The more interest there is the more likely it is we'll proceed with development.

You should also read: Resource scheduling in Exchange Server 2007 and Using Exchange 2007 for Resource Booking. For the truly adventurous and technically adept, check out How to Create or Remove Custom Resource Properties.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sun Java Calendar, aka iPlanet, full-state migration to Exchange 2007

Sun Java Calendar Server, previously known as Sun ONE Calendar Server, and before that iPlanet Calendar Server (the darn thing has had more names than that "Diddy" guy) is now among our full-state, server-side migrations into Exchange 2007.

It kept popping up sporadically and just came around for a 5000 user migration. Then this opportunity turned into a 500 user migration with a budget that would cover a few blended drinks at Starbuck's and we were wondering how we were going to make any money out of it. As any of you know, we're market-driven.

So here's how it's working.

We use Sun's WCAP protocol to extract the calendar and task data.

We run it through our conversion tools to morph into our intermediate format from which we can map user IDs and do all sorts of other wondrous things.

Then we insert it into Exchange 2007 using EWS (we parted ways with the now-deprecated CDO way back after Exchange 2003).

A few notes:

Recurrence patterns in Sun Java Calendar are a 1:1 match for Outlook, so we have thus far not seen any exceptions.

We can actually handle attachments. The big issue here is not the technical aspects of attachments, but the logistical ones. Often when running a migration the amount of data can cause low-set quotas to be exceeded pretty quickly, and you don't want to run into that at 2:00 AM on a Saturday. So we recommend extracting to a common directory and just passing a link to the attachment in the Agenda field. If you can avoid migrating them entirely, so much the better.

SJC has a limit on "on-going" meetings. Outlook / Exchange do not -- so we simply set an SJC "ongoing" meeting to an Outlook meeting with No End Date.

A word on versions.

We do version 6.x. With a little bit of prodding (in the commercial sense) we could be convinced to make it work for Sun ONE / iPlanet 5.x.

Future version 7 (now in beta) - we are not guaranteeing. You want to check out Calendar Server 6 and Calendar Server 7 Comparison and Coexistence. Since Sun does not currently have a migration path between 6 and 7 we're not anticipating we'll need to have a version 7 migration to Exchange path for a while.

However, since Calendar Server 7 us apparently based on MySQL (see : Best Practices for Backing up and Restoring MySQL Databases in Calendar Server Deployments) we are very optimistic a full-state migration will just involve reading their database and morphing it into our schema.

Bigger question is: Will Version 7 even make it out the door when the Oracle acquisition is final? Oracle is not likely to keep supporting two past-their-prime calendar systems.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Meeting Maker to Google Calendar field test results

It's been a productive few weeks.

We just used our existing iCalendar tools to export a few Meeting Maker calendars for a site that wanted to go into Google Calendar.

With a little surgery (removing our Time Zone DST definitions) and using the Zulu time option, the data actually imports pretty well. The above example is real-world data.

Now there's a couple of things it doesn't do right out of the box: banners are currently off kilter (this is an easy fix), and we're not sure it's worth replicating the full set of state data for guests (because nobody else does it and everybody going into Google Calendar is price-constrained), but it's not that hard to at least put the guest list into the Description field.

As you know, we actively solicit your feedback.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Migrating to/from Lotus Notes/Domino Calendar from/to something else?

It was a glorious summer day in Boston and of course I could think only of calendars.

Having come off installing Yellow Dog Linux on my PS3, I thought "How much geekier can I make the day?" OK, I actually thought "how soon can I fire up the grill?" but the lack of high-quality Chilean sea bass caused me to re-think my plans.

So given that one of the development guys warned me that there was no way I could possibly set up a Lotus Domino configuration on Linux by my own self, I had to prove him absolutely correct and generate this sample calendar. (BTW: If you try doing this on Fedora, remember to shutdown sendmail or Domino won't come up due to a port conflict.)

Needless to say - yes, this means we're looking at full-state migrations out of Lotus Notes and into other less "legacy" environments. Our first impetus is someone who wants to take a few thousand Meeting Maker seats and put them INTO Lotus Notes, but we can work in stages.

More later.