This article provides the process and important considerations for customer accounts needing to be migrated from the Exchange 2007 and 2010 platforms to the current Exchange 2013 platform. We understand that certain customers may have custom software solutions or systems that may require additional preparation before a migration occurs, so all migrations are performed on a voluntary by-request basis.
- To ensure proper coordination with our Engineering team, all migrations must take place during regular business hours and must be scheduled ahead of time. Our primary goal with any migration is maintaining the integrity of the customer's data. To this end, all migrations are managed by our Engineering team. All migrations must be scheduled at least 72 hours ahead of the desired migration start date to ensure Engineering availability. If there are no Engineers available on the desired migration date, an alternate date will be offered. In addition to ensuring Engineering availability, scheduling the migration date will allow end users to be informed and prepared for the migration cut-over, and will allow your staff to be onsite during the cut-over to perform the needed email client changes for the new platform.
- While the actual migration process may take several hours or multiple days for very large accounts, the actual downtime for users is minimal. To minimize user downtime, the migration is performed using a pre-population/delta migration method. At the scheduled migration start time, the mailbox contents are copied from the old platform to the new one. This pre-populates the new mailboxes with the bulk of their data. Once completed, the Engineering team performs a cut-over, changing the routing settings for the domain to deliver all new email to the new platform. After the cut-over the team will perform a delta migration, which brings over any content that came into the mailboxes since the pre-population pass completed. This process allows users to continue using their email accounts during the pre-population migration, and then switch to the new mailboxes at or just before the cut-over time and have that pre-populated content available to continue working. They will then see their more recent content quickly fill in during the delta migration.
- Once the migration date has been set, no new mailboxes should be created in the account. Creating new mailboxes during a migration can cause a number of issues with migrating the account, and will lead to delays in the migration.
- Any content removed from a mailbox's Deleted Items folder just prior to the migration will be moved back into that folder. All versions of Exchange contain a feature known as the "Deleted Items Dumpster". This dumpster automatically stores any content deleted from the mailbox for up to 14 days, allowing users to recover data that might have been accidentally deleted. The dumpster container itself cannot be moved during the migration, so to maintain data protection all content from a mailbox dumpster is automatically moved back to the Deleted Items folder in the mailbox. This can be prevented by emptying the dumpster contents via either OWA or Outlook prior to the migration cut-over date.
- It is recommended to avoid any major changes to mailbox contents, such as folder moves or cleanup, during the migration process. As previously mentioned, after the routing cut-over a delta migration pass is run to bring over any content that is received by the mailbox since the initial pre-population pass. This delta pass will also revert any major changes made in the new mailbox since that initial pass. If large amounts of email are moved or removed from folders between these passes, the delta pass can take considerably longer to complete as it restores that changed content.
- Any email sent to a migrated domain from the old 2007/2010 platform will be delivered to the old Exchange account until it is cancelled and removed from the system. When an Exchange server sends an email to a domain, the first step it takes is to check and see if that domain exists locally, and if the intended recipient email address exists locally within that domain. If the Exchange server is able to find a mailbox with that recipient email address locally, it will deliver that email to that local mailbox. This is a core function of the Exchange server and it cannot be prevented or circumvented. The final step in an account migration is having the end users verify that their content was migrated successfully, at which point they will provide approval to our support team to remove the old Exchange account. We strongly recommend your users verify their new mailbox functionality and that approval be given to remove the old account as soon as possible to ensure no email from other accounts on the old platform are delivered to the old account.
- Any configured rules located with the SpamTitan filtering service will need to be recorded and re-added once the account routing has been switched over to the 2013 platform. Once the assisted migration process begins and your new customer account is created, a new entity is created within the SpamTitan spam filtering service. We recommend copying all administrative rules and user-based rules prior to the creation of the new customer account so these objects can be maintained. If this does not occur all rules will need to be reapplied.
The Assisted Migration process
- The migration process can be initiated by sending an email to our support team. Please note that the Primary Contact on the account must be the one to initiate the migration request. Please include an alternate email address (outside of the account being migrated) that we can use to keep you updated while the migration is taking place. Please also let us know if there is a preferred time and date when you would like the migration cut-over to take place. We recommend allowing at least 72 hours (or more for larger accounts) to ensure enough time for all pre-migration steps to take place.
- We will evaluate the account to be migrated and our Engineering team will either confirm the requested migration time, or will propose another time if the requested time is unavailable or the team determines that more time is needed before the requested cut-over.
- The new customer domain will be provisioned in the Microsoft Exchange 2013 platform by our support team. We will provide you the New Account access information.
- Once the new Exchange 2013 account is provisioned, the user mailboxes will be bulk provisioned by our Engineering team, and we will provide the login credentials for the new Exchange 2013 mailboxes once they are created.
- We recommend updating the AutoDiscover DNS record for the domain to point to the new Exchange 2013 platform up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled migration date. This will allow them to begin configuring Outlook clients and mobile devices to the Exchange 2013 mailboxes once the migration is under way. DNS records can take up to 24 hours to propagate, so changing the record ahead of time will make the reconfiguration of email clients easier.
Exchange 2013 AutoDiscover Settings
Host Record Type Points to autodiscover CNAME redir.na02.secureowaonline.com
- On the scheduled date, the Engineering team will begin migrating the mailbox data from the old Exchange platform to the new 2013 platform. In the first step of this process, the spam filtering service will be routed internally to the new platform, eliminating the responsibility of changing the MX records. During this step, we recommend the end-user email clients be reconfigured to connect to the new Exchange 2013 mailboxes. This will allow users to send and receive new email while the migration occurs. The AutoDiscover DNS record will need to be in place in order to reconfigure the email clients.
- Once the migration is complete, all mail flow will be going to the Exchange 2013 platform and all content from the old platform should be present in the new mailboxes. You will need to provide us with conformation all data has been migrated successfully.
- Once we have received confirmation that all email is now routing to the new 2013 platform and all old data has been migrated over, we will remove the old Microsoft Exchange 2010 platform account. It is important that we receive the update that the migration has finished successfully so the old account can be removed. This will ensure that email from other customers on the old platform will route properly to the migrated customer’s new mailboxes, and will help avoid any possibility of double-charges due to the existence of the account on two platforms.