Dell Unveils Updated Migration Manager for Exchange

Dell is releasing an updated Microsoft Exchange migration tool this month, along with other tools for IT pros.

The new Dell Quest Migration Manager for Exchange product runs on the customer's premises and features the possibility of carrying out single-step migrations. The "single-step" part refers to a claim by Dell that IT shops won't need to perform upgrades from older Exchange versions before moving to a newer solution, such as Exchange 2013 or Exchange Online offered through Microsoft's Office 365 (Wave 15) services.

Migration Manager comes in two parts that have been updated: Migration Manager for Exchange and Migration Manager for Active Directory. Migration Manager for Exchange can be used to move from Exchange versions 2000 to 2010 to Exchange 2013 and is capable of moving public folders, according to Dell. The tool also can move Exchange users to Office 365 while maintaining user access to e-mail (a feat referred to as "coexistence").

Various architectures are supported. The tool supports moves within a computing environment, moves from the customer's premises to the cloud, or hybrid scenarios, Dell claims.

"One of the exciting things we can do with this product…is the ability to migrate in a direct single-step migration from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2000 into the new version of Office 365 or Exchange 2013," said Ron Robbins, a product manager at Dell, in a phone interview. "It's one thing that Microsoft is not able to support, given the fact that they don't support legacy platforms that long and the fact that their native migration solutions don't migrate directly from those platforms any longer."

Robbins noted that it's just not possible to perform an in-place upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 in one step. To accomplish that sort of move, IT shops would first need to migrate to Exchange 2007 and then move to Exchange 2013, so the tool saves a couple of moves.

"It's really disruptive for customers to have to perform two migrations," Robbins commented.

The tool supports legacy server moves while affording coexistence for users.

"We provide full-code assistance during the migration so customers can continue to share calendars, share directories, and share public folders throughout the migration. Microsoft tried to do that with their tools in an inter-org migration, but they don't support connecting to those older platforms," Robbins said. "We don't require that you install an Exchange 2013 Server within the Exchange 2003 forest, and that's usually what Microsoft requires to get coexistence and synchronization between the GALs [global address lists] and things like that."

Organizations moving to Office 365 and using native tools have to install a hybrid server first. The hybrid server extends Exchange into the cloud and connects it to Office 365, Robbins explained.

Dell's larger customers lean toward hybrid architectures and tend to migrate just a portion of their users, Robbins said. Financial institutions and organizations that are highly regulated tend to keep their users on premise. Hybrid architectures with Office 365 are only supported by Microsoft with an Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013 forest on premise, Robbins explained.

Dell also updated its Migration Manager for Active Directory, adding platform support for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 and minor platforms, Robbins said.

Dell is seeing problems with larger companies of 5,000 seats and up because their migrations can sometimes take six months to a year and they need coexistence for users. Microsoft doesn't offer any time-frame about how long it takes to complete an Exchange migration and Dell doesn't either, since "there are a lot of factors to consider," Robbins said. Dell or its partners do use premigration assessment tools, though, to give the team some estimate of the time it might take.

Dell's migration tool also gets used by organizations moving from Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010 because Microsoft requires that certain service packs and updates to be installed first. However, Dell's tool doesn't require that those steps take place.

Other platforms besides Exchange are supported by Dell's migration tool.

"We also get customers who come to us who have the trouble of migrating from a disparate platform that's not an Exchange platform. So, they are coming to us and they have Google Apps and Gmail; they might have Notes or GroupWise," Robbins said. "We don't offer coexistence with some of those platforms…but with Notes and GroupWise we do."

The updated migration tool was part of a series of product news coming from the Dell Influencer event, which is being held today in San Francisco. Dell is beefing up options for its partners, allowing them to sell hardware or software or both.

Other product updates announced by Dell include Toad Business Intelligence Suite 2.0, Dell Mobility Solutions (four solutions to support bring-your-own-device scenarios), new Dell Kace management appliance products (Kace K1000 and Kace 3000 Mobile Management Appliance), Dell Networking W-Series ClearPass and Dell Data Protection.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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