Product Reviews

Gradually Migrating to Exchange 2000

Exchange Migration Wizard makes the move to Exchange 2000 and Active Directory gradual and relatively painless.

Aelita's Exchange Migration Wizard is designed to provide a path to migrate—not just upgrade—one or more Exchange 5.5 organizations to an Exchange 2000 organization in Active Directory. It allows for the coexistence of both structures thereby providing the ability to perform a gradual migration without losing connectivity between users. It can migrate and synchronize directory information, users' mailboxes, public folders, and calendar information. The migration can be scheduled and it even allows you to have the Outlook configuration of the user switched to the new server once a mailbox is migrated.

Product Information

Exchange Migration Wizard 2.0, $12/migrated user mailbox with volume discount
Aelita Software
Powell, OH

For more Exchange tools, see "Keeping Exchange Running" in the May 2002 issue.

The first hint that this tool is designed for larger organizations is evident when reading the installation instructions. The hardware requirements are quite reasonable and not out of line with what a typical installation of Exchange would use, but the software requirements need to be carefully considered before purchasing the product. Exchange Migration Wizard needs to use a SQL Server 2000 database to store information on what is being migrated. In order to support coexistence of Exchange 5.5 and 2000, the X.400 connector is used on both Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000. Although configuring X.400 is fully covered in the documentation, the fact that the Enterprise Edition of both Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000 is needed in order to use the product is only casually mentioned, which adds considerable costs if you need to upgrade.

Once you've obtained the necessary software, you'll find that installation procedure for Exchange Migration Wizard is well-documented and works as described. There are a few minor gotchas, such as group membership required to connect to Active Directory and settings to be modified in Outlook is installed on the same computer, so you really need to read the documentation.

After you've installed the product, you need to determine if you want to perform a Domain First or Exchange First migration. Domain first migrates the user accounts used by Exchange mailboxes to the target Active Directory domain before moving over the mailboxes, whereas an Exchange first migration moves the mailboxes over and then resolves to which user accounts the mailboxes should be attached. I think the Domain first migration makes more sense in most cases and after doing it, users with the new accounts were able to access their mailboxes on the old Exchange servers.

Exchange Migration Wizard

Exchange Migration Wizard allows you to connect to several source Exchange 5.5 organizations, your target Exchange 2000 organization, as well as configure synchronization jobs during the migration process.

After deciding on a strategy, you can create synchronization jobs to keep directory information, mailboxes, and public folders synchronized between Exchange 5.5. This is perhaps the best feature of Exchange Migration Wizard because it allows you to keep mail flowing to all users whether or not they have been migrated to Exchange 2000. This feature works extremely well, but it relies upon the X.400 connector. If another connector could be used to accomplish the same goals, the product could be useful to more organizations that need this handy tool.

Exchange Migration Wizard is a great tool and it works quite well, provided that you have the software that it requires: Exchange 5.5 Enterprise Server and Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server. The need for the enterprise version of both products necessary because of Exchange Migration Wizard's reliance on X.400 connectors to keep information in sync between Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000. While this may not be a problem for larger organizations, it effectively removes this fine tool from the hands admins who work among many small- to mid-size Exchange installations.

About the Author

Damir Bersinic, MCSE, MCDBA, MCSA, MCT, is an independent consultant, trainer and author.


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