Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fully automating an #MDaemon to #MSExchange 2013 migration

One of our customers wanted to migrate from MDaemon to Exchange in stages (vs our typical "big bang".)  A staged migration is more delicate.  It requires you configure (and then re-configure) active directory accounts and Exchange mailboxes pre- and post- migration.  It's not hard, just a lot of steps. This called for a script!  And so, we did.

We have successfully field-proven that an MDaemon to Exchange 2013 on-premises migration can be fully scripted.

We're going to outline our approach:

First some background on the main show: email and calendars: 
  • For email we used and recommend imapsync.  It's an excellent, effective, and efficient product.
  • For calendars, tasks, contacts, and distribution lists we wrote our own application.
But a full migration methodology has to include more than just moving the data.

So before any email or calendars are migrated we take care of:
  • Reading the MDaemon user list (and passwords)
  • Provisioning users -- first as Exchange contacts, then as mail-enabled users
  • Re-configuring Outlook to point to your Exchange server and removing the MDaemon Outlook Sync. (Note: there are publicly available scripts.  But we found they don't work. After hours of debugging, we gave up and wrote our own.)
  • Pre- and Post-cut over scripting so that legacy emails are moved to the target system, and new emails redirected to the target system.
If you have a few dozen users, it's difficult to make this cost-effective and you might as well do it on your own  (Hint:  you can export PSTs from MDaemon, then import those PSTs into Exchange.)  Tedious and time-consuming, yes, but free.  This assumes your time is worth less than the cost of third-party migration tools.  If it takes as long to just DO it (apologies to Nike) as it does to deploy a third-party customized method, just do it.

If you have several hundred users and want to license our tools and methods, you can contact us.

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