The Great Email Migration

It's great to see that IT departments are seriously thinking about Exchange 2010 and the new features and capabilities it brings, with 77% of those asked saying they were upgrading to keep pace with the advances Microsoft has made. Most of you are expecting to recoup the costs of the upgrade too, with 42% expecting that to happen as quickly as six months.

Microsoft Exchange 2010 is here, Exchange 2013 will be along at the end of next year and Exchange 2003 is out of mainstream support, so it's fair to say The Great Email Migration has begun.

At Mimecast, we are always talking to CIOs and IT Managers about ways in which we can make their email management easier, and the conversation more often than not involves an email system migration plan.  So, we commissioned Loudhouse,an independent research consultancy, to conduct a survey into email system upgrade plans. The results are being published today.

The rush to upgrade

With so many new features and enhancements being added to each new version of Microsoft Exchange it's no surprise that three quarters of respondents told us they were planning to upgrade in the next two years; 57% even said within the next 12 months. Most are migrating to Exchange 2010 on premise, but 21% are headed for the hosted option and 13% for Microsoft's Cloud-based Office 365.  As you read this, there's a 1 in 10 chance that you have no plans to migrate at all, perhaps having recently completed a move to Exchange 2007.  Maybe you want to see what  Exchange 2013 (version 15) will bring? We've written on this blog before about Exchange 2003 and a reluctance to upgrade, but now the time is right.

The benefits are clear

So the benefits are clear; new tech and features, improved security, improved OWA & pretty quick ROI, to name a few.

But there are worries

Concerns were raised too.  You told us you were worried about impacting the performance of email, and rightly so.  Email is one of the most important services in your business. Moving a substantial chunk of that big data problem - ie, your huge Exchange stores - is a worry too; what if some of it gets lost or corrupted? Surprisingly nearly 10% said their migration would take longer than a week.  The majority, though, expect it to take less than a day.

So spending time moving data and potentially losing some of it, is a real concern, and it should be addressed before the migration starts.

Helpful additions to the plan

Dealing with the big data problem is an issue that is easily solved before the migration; consider moving that data to the cloud, so reduce the old historic email in users' inboxes and keep them running with much more recent data. Old data can be accessed online directly from the Cloud, but seamlessly within Outlook from the users' perspective, rather than from Exchange stores locally. By doing this when you come to migrating mailboxes from an old Exchange server to the new one, you will be moving much less data. This will also mean the big data can be moved out to the cloud separately to the main migration project, so it won't extend your timelines. The 52% of you worried about losing data can then be satisfied that a Cloud solution that continues to capture email in real time, means you'll always have a copy if something does go missing.

If you're worried about system downtime - and we know 44% of you are - then the Cloud is an ideal addition to your Exchange environment as it will provide Continuity for your users before, during and after your migration. Deploying that Cloud based continuity solution before the migration means you will be protected from any sort of planned or even unplanned outage during the process, and if you need to roll back at any point, even that scenario will be a breeze.

Migration season is here I'd like to say good luck, but luck shouldn't come into this. Careful consideration and planning means you will have hopefully ironed out your problems before you get to the migration. Now is a great time to let the Cloud augment your Exchange environment and offload some of those complex worries onto a vendor who really is an email expert.  Big data, continuity, complexity and spiraling costs shouldn't be part of your migration plan this time round.

You can read the full report here -