How to Prepare for a IBM Notes migration to Office 365

September 15, 2016 Mark Pierce

Making a transition to Office 365 should not be viewed as just email and database migrations, but more of an experience to enable productivity and flexibility. The process is overwhelming to many of our clients, especially moving off of a platform that they have experienced for decades.  A common question we encounter is “What do we need to prepare for ahead of time before we move off of IBM Notes to Office 365?”  The answer itself can be overwhelming, as there are a lot of factors to consider to provide a smooth transition.  With that said, below are some specific tasks you should consider when  preparing for an Office 365 transition from IBM Notes.

Active Directory:

Active Directory is a core component for Exchange Online and other services in Office 365. This technology is typically neglected in a lot of organizations with an IBM Notes environment since it is not a core for authentications or directory look-ups. New Signature always  recommends a review of active directories and to consider the following before moving to Office 365 preparation.

  • Health of Active Directory – Ensure you do not have errors in your active directory environment. Replication errors, domain controllers that may have been turned off, but not removed in Active Directory, old active directory objects, poor DNS structures, slow data links and outdated,  and poorly patched domain controllers are just some of the areas to be assessed to ensure a smooth transition to Office 365.
  • Accuracy of your meta-data in your current directory environment – Do you want your active directory to be authoritative in your environment? Does your IBM Notes environment contain the most accurate data for your employees regarding title, locations, contact information and other information that should be moved to Active Directory? These are questions that should be answered ahead of time to have a plan on ensure that your Active Directory environment contains the most up to date information for your users.
  • Active Directory structure – Moving from IBM Notes to Office 365 will require new OUs and objects in Active Directory to replicate into Azure. Remember, you will now have objects such as:
    1. Users in IBM Notes but not in Active Directory
    2. Conference Rooms
    3. Mailing databases
    4. External contacts
    5. Distribution Lists
  • Fault Tolerant Active Directory – Is your active directory secured and redundant? Your active directory will be replicated into Azure Active Directory with Office 365, and your Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) need to be resilient on-premises, in Azure or both.

IBM Notes

New Signature has seen several instances in which IBM Notes has been in place with companies for 15 years or more.   New Signature has seen IBM Notes mail files exceeding 50 gigabytes in size with no quotas on mailboxes across the organizations, along with attachments that exceed 100 megabytes in size sent many times over. Companies need to consider that a move to Office 365 should be a move to new policies that are compliant to the vertical in which they reside. A review of roles in the organization is necessary to streamline and optimize the future of Office 365. There is also no need to move old data to Office 365 or migrate databases that have not been used for years to the Microsoft cloud.  Here are a couple of suggestions to consider within the IBM Notes environment before moving to Office 365:

  • Clean your house –  Like moving to a new house, moving to Office 365 is very similar. If you can identify old databases, unused mailboxes and outdated distribution lists and take them out of the scope of a migration, you need to do it as soon as possible.  This will help speed up the transition to Office 365.
  • Take what you need Is it really necessary to move a 40 gigabyte mailbox to Office 365? How much is that data being used today? Is there a legal requirement to obtain every message in that mailbox? These are some of the questions you need to ask when moving to Office 365. In a lot of cases, we see that most users will use anywhere from 90 days to 360 days of mail to search, then archive approximately 1-3 years of data.
  • Review your IBM Design – Moving to Office 365 requires bandwidth, but also requires a decent IBM Notes server. During a migration, it may be necessary to replicate mailboxes to a newer server environment to increase performance and data transfer to the cloud. The last thing you want to do to your users is migrate data on an IBM Notes server causing performance issues in the production environment. In addition, if you have Notes mailboxes scattered in locations with slow data links, you can impede performance on migrations and affect user productivity.

These are just some areas to investigate when you consider a move to Office 365. New Signature can provide guidance and execute a plan to help your organization move to a secure and optimized Microsoft Office 365 environment.  The end goal is for your company to be more productive at a reduced cost. New Signature has been transitioning companies from IBM Notes since 2003 and has a wealth of knowledge that very few companies can provide in a transition to the Microsoft Cloud.



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