Arraya Insights | February 7, 2017
Exchange Online migrations have a clearly defined endpoint: the cloud. Once there, businesses gain access to the inherent ease of use and management that goes with the cloud as well as features such as built-in anti-malware capabilities and data loss protection. If that’s where the journey ends, how does one get there?
Over the years, Arraya’s Microsoft team has helped countless organizations move into Office 365 tools such as Exchange Online. In that time, it’s been our experience that the smoothest migrations start with many of the same conversations. The sooner these conversations are decided, the sooner the business can start enjoying the benefits of Exchange Online.
Here are the six discussions that can save you time and secure a faster ROI on your journey to Exchange Online:
Discussion #1: What’s our internet speed?
It may seem 101, but it’s still a conversation worth having. As you move mailboxes and workloads into Office 365, there will be a definite spike in bandwidth usage. It’s important to know whether your network, as presently constructed, will be able to support that increase. If you need to boost your available bandwidth, a partner like Arraya can help you make that happen, saving time during rollout.
Discussion #2: How do users access email?
When it comes to accessing email, what are your users’ habits? Are the methods they use to do so patched and updated to meet Exchange Online’s standards? For example: Exchange Online requires a minimum of Outlook 2007 with the latest patches while the recommended level is Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016. If you’re not meeting that minimum requirement, decisions need to be made as to whether to upgrade to a more recent version or to obtain the necessary patches for your existing one (provided it is at least 2007). Also worth taking into account are the approaching End of Life dates for aging apps like Outlook 2007.
Discussion #3: Is your Exchange Server up to date?
Much like the clients employees use to access their email, considerations must be given to whether your Exchange Server is up to date and whether your version will mesh with Exchange Online. If not, steps must be taken to install the latest service packs and updates. Note: This process should be handled after clients have been updated to avoid service disruptions.
Discussion #4: How large are your organization’s mailboxes?
At present, Exchange Online user mailboxes have 50GB of storage space in the cloud with an unlimited amount of space on prem. Most users will fall well shy of that cloud limit. However, if you have any mailboxes that exceed the allotted space, then conversations should happen concerning how to accommodate them, e.g., online archiving.
Discussion #5: What’s going to happen to our public folders?
A migration into Office 365 opens the door for other transitions, including the move away from public folders. In their place, businesses have the opportunity to begin utilizing other, more effective tools, such as shared or resource mailboxes. IT must ask itself whether it wants to keep public folders and migrate them into Office 365 or if they would rather convert to one of those other options beforehand. By converting to a resource mailbox, for example, businesses would gain access to features such as automatic approvals and delegations.
Discussion #6: Which is better – Big Bang or Phased?
Migrations typically happen in one of two ways. The first, called Big Bang, involves moving all mailboxes into Exchange Online at the same time. This is faster and eliminates the coexistence issues that happen when you have some users on one system and others on something totally different. On the downside, going all at once can be risky, training is difficult, and the help desk could be swamped as a result. The other option, the Phased migration, involves sending users into Exchange a few chunks at a time. This is slower, but allows adjustments to be made between rounds to guarantee efficiency and limit calls to the help desk. There are pros and cons to each path. It’s a matter of deciding which is right for your company.
Let us assist with starting the conversations
You can choose to have these conversations internally, before seeking out an IT partner to aid with your Exchange migration. Or you may choose to engage with a partner such as Arraya and leverage our experience in facilitating these and other must-have planning and strategy discussions..
Are you ready to get started? Do you have a question about Exchange Online or Office 365 in general? Join us on Feb. 21 for a free lunch-and-learn entitled: “Say Goodbye to Legacy Microsoft Exchange.” This event will be held at Microsoft’s Mid-Atlantic headquarters and will be led by members of Arraya’s Microsoft and Cloud Practice. During the event, we will look back at Exchange through the years, embark on a demo of modern Exchange architecture, and analyze the various paths forward and the reasons for each. To register, visit Arraya.Rocks/Events.
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