Friday, September 10, 2004

Exchange 5.5 to 2000 Migration Fun

What a couple of days it has been. My company bought a smaller company a while back and we are in the process of integrating them into our network. My part of that is to integrate their e-mail that is currently running on Exchange 5.5 with the corporate Exchange 2000 environment. It was decided early on that they would get a new Exchange 2000 server at their location and their data would be migrated from the existing 5.5 system to the 2000 system installed in the corporate Exchange organization.

It sounded easy enough, and when I received the information on their systems and the planned migration, it sounded even easier. But there were problems and surprises popping up all over the place recently. At first, we find out that the storage area network that the server will be connected to will not be delivered until about two weeks before the migration is to occur. Once it is delivered, its configuration was further delayed because there were some missing components. The storage wasn’t configured until three days before the migration. The plan was to spend three days just on testing backups and restores, along with two days for general configuration, and some time built in for documentation. Well, scratch all of that, do it all in less than two days, but wait, backups didn’t quite work right, somehow a tape got stuck in the drive, scratch another day off of testing. The schedule was also moved up a bit for a few users that needed an early migration, even less time to configure and test. In all we got it configured about a day before the migration, and the backups, well, we didn’t get a good restore until about 15 minutes after we were supposed to migrate the first three users.

Some other things, two days before migration, I find out about a blackberry server and three users who they don’t want to migrate. Ok, all of this time we were expecting to do a strait cut over migration where the two mail systems wouldn’t communicate with each other, its quick, easy, and has the least amount of things that can go wrong, not to mention, it worked great with what we were originally told, “everyone at the site is being migrated together”. Now that that isn’t the case, we had to figure out what to do with these three users. Ok, problem solved, we created some alternate recipients for their new accounts in the corporate system and migrated their mail early. The day of the migration I am told that there are 10 to 12 other users who can’t be migrated. Oh no, what a mess. Being so close to migration time, I ask if they want to halt the whole thing over this, because we can’t re-architect the whole thing in a day. Not to mention, I’m still trying to get backups to work right while this is all going on. They don’t want to stop the process, so I gave them the alternative, they must migrate, at least their mail, and that is final. In order for that to work, I had to write instructions on how to access their new mailbox. Problem solved.

So, what am I doing now, well, moving several gigabytes of mail from one server to another? Yes.

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