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Some Lessons Learned
Over the past six years of migrating Lotus Notes Mail to Exchange/Office 365 I've learned a few things. I'm happy to share them with you.

Typically I work with Microsoft Partners who stumble upon a Lotus Notes client that wants to migrate away from Lotus to Exchange/Office 365. They don't have the Notes experience or expertise with migration software on staff and they find it beneficial to add me to their team for the duration of the mail migration. I analyse the Domino environment, install and run the migration software. When the migration is complete, I move on having learned a few more tricks. The Microsoft Partner architects the Exchange/Office 365 environment. They build the environment out and provide on going support.

In the past couple of years there have been no projects that required Quest/Dell Migrator for Notes to Exchange. Ironic considering that I have Dell Partner Certification. My most recent migrations have been using Binary Tree's CMTe. (Common Migration Tool for Exchange).

Don't be too Anxious to at the front of the Pack.
While we all like to keep up to date. My suggestion is to stay a generation behind for the Migration Control Centre (MCC) and the Migration Workers (MW). For the purposes of reading the mail on the Domino server, Notes Client 8.5.3 FP6 works just fine. All of your users can be running Notes 9.0.1 (Social Edition) but all that you really need is 8.5.3. When we are writing to Exchange/Office 365, I prefer to use Office 2010 (32 bit) for the Outlook client on the MCC and MW even though Office 2013 is available. . That doesn't mean that all of your users need to be on the previous versions just the computers that are actually migrating the mail.

Turn off Anti-Virus and Windows Updates
Since we are reading from the Domino server it is assumed that the email was scanned prior to being placed in the mail file. We then write to the Exchange/Office 365 server. If the anti-virus is running it has to look at the incoming mail message. This takes time. Then when we are writing to the Exchange the anti-virus has to have a look. I am not saying to ignore Windows Updates, but turn off the Automatic Updates. You could have a Windows reboot while the MW is actually migrating a mail file.

Binary Tree Mail Management
Typically I find that companies continue to communicate via regular email. My suggestion is to look more carefully at BT's Mail Management. The emails going out are stored in one person's mail and the migration information is stored in CMTe. So we end up with with information in two places. CMTe has provisions for sending out communications AND getting the results of the email sent back to CMTe. So we have to maintain a mailing list in the email program and organise the migrations in CMTe. If we send the messages from within CMTe and get the results back in CMTe we have a great dashboard.

We organise Migration Groups in CMTe. Frequently I will name my migration group something like "2016 03 25 - Santa Fe". Now I can select all members you are migrating on March 25, 2016 in Santa Fe office and since they are already organised in CMTe I can send them an email. Now in CMTe I can quickly view who received each email and when was the last one sent.

Some messages can require an action on the user's part. When we identify a user with multiple encrypted emails we will send them a mail message with an embedded button. If they fail to click the button they remain in the pending queue until they click the button. Once they click the button an email is sent back to CMTe and they are advanced to the Ready for Migration stage.

There was large migration that I worked on a few years ago. Nightly I was asked "who in the ViP group of users migrating tonight has encrypted mail and has not clicked the button." That information readily at hand. So someone is dispatched to visit that ViP and click the decrypt button. Since all of the mail communication is handled in CMTe it was a breeze to answer.

Generic verses Named Accounts
Sometimes when I get added to the team that is going to handle the migration they include me as John Vanderhoff. Now some users will note that John Vanderhoff has been added as the Manager in the ACL. It is pretty well certain that the users don't know who John is. However, I encourage the account that will be used to perform the migrations be given a name like "Migration Manager". That way Migration Manager adds himself to the ACL.

Since Migration Manager is a super user in both the Notes/Domino and in the Active Directory, once the migration is complete we will be reminded that we can delete that super user named Migration Manager. John Vanderhoff might just slip by and remain as super user for many years to come.

Give the Migration Account Full Access
Migration Manager could actually complete the Notes/Domino with only Editor access. Some customers have insisted that I function that way. When there is the slightest hickup occurs it takes additional time to sort things out and this will slow down the migrations and add hours to my time report

Do not include Migration Manager in a Group Policy
While it would be easy to add John Vanderhoff to a Group Policy but less likely if the migration account is named Migration Manager. I learned this lesson the hard way. When using BinaryTree's CMTe there are Outlook Profiles created on the fly. Then we switch to the newly created Profile. By default Outlook uses 'Use Cached Exchange Mode". This has to be turned or the cache will be behind and each Profile will create its own OST file. My set up check list makes sure that I remember to disable "Use Cached Exchange Mode"

However at one site recently the Microsoft Administrator who was anxious to put his new found training to use created a Group Policy which enabled 'Use Cached Exchange Mode" for all users and then set it so the users could not change it. Yes you guessed it. This Group Policy overwrote my adjustments. One evening I was ready to migrate the Pilot Group. The first few migrations appeared to be okay. At the five hour mark I was experiencing 100% migration failures. After some checking I realised that Exchange Cache Mode was turned on and Migration Manager did not have rights to change it.

Over the next few weeks the remnants of the that decision persisted. Frequently the Profiles would point to many OST files and it would halt migrations. This Group Policy made perfect sense to the users but actually broke the migration.

Communication
Include the Migration Consultant on all emails and meetings. There are a number of things that the migration consultant has seen but if you don't keep him in the loop.

Typically, I create one Migration Control Centre and one Migration Workstation. Once I have run the pilot group I will tell the Microsoft Administrator to clone the Migration Workstation. At a recent migration, the Microsoft Administrator took it on himself to create 24 clones without discussing it with Migration Consultant. The first Migration Workstation was registered with the Migration Control Cntre as MW1. Then as the additional MW's came on line they all wanted to be MW1. It was a mess and it took me hours to undo that. Once the pilot users are complete, I will un-register MW1 and then tell the Microsoft Administrator to now clone the Migration Workstation. As each additional MW comes on line it is ready to be registered. 25 MW's register in about 20 minutes.

One other reason to make sure that your Migration Consultant included. Typically we migrate Distribution Groups at the very end of users. The main reason for this that we can only process this once. There is no way to sync a Distribution Group in Notes with a Distribution Group in Exchange or Office 365. CMTe will create the Distribution List and populate it with the names in the Notes. To make sure that the names are not duplicated it the Distribution List, it the list already exists CMTe will skip that migration.

I had asked for a list of Notes Groups to be migrated. The Microsoft Administrator had gone ahead created all of the Groups in AD but without members. He mentioned this in passing and I reminded him that if the group already exists in AD no names are added to the list. Otherwise, I would have pulled my hair out trying to figure why my Groups were not being created in AD.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your war stories.






Author's Background
I am a Notes/Consultant with twenty-seven years of experience (almost exclusively with Lotus Notes / Domino). My experience with Notes began when I worked as a Senior Computer Consultant for Price Waterhouse. In 1993, I went to work for Lotus Development Corporation as a Senior Notes / Domino Instructor. I started teaching Application Development and System Administration with Version 3. Helped to develop the course materials for Version 4.x and Release 5.x When LotusScript, Javascript and Java were added to Notes/Domino I started teaching these programming languages.

In 1995, IBM acquired Lotus. For several years we were left alone and the culture did not change. It was a lot of fun to work for Lotus. In 1999 the handwriting was on the wall and I decided it was time for me to leave. So I established V&M to do Lotus Notes/Domino Application Development, System Administration and Training. I've been at it ever since. The life of the consultant is constantly changing. It has given me the chance to travel across Canada and the United States, Scotland, England, Bermuda, Jamaica, Barbados and Hawaii. No travel to the Far East yet. Anyone?

For the last seven years I have been helping companies move their data from Lotus Notes to the Microsoft platform.

Some thoughts on Notes to Exchange Migrations
Migrating from Lotus Notes to Microsoft - Very easy and very hard
Pre- Migration Report that I use
Encrypted Mail Choices
Export a Notes View to CSV
Mail Migrations Using the Cloud
Mail Migrations - Some Lessons Learned
Speeding Some Migrations
Redirecting Mail Migration Traffic
One post migration story
One Approach to Mail Rules
Remove Encryption Button
Microsoft's "Secret" Mail Migration Tool
NME Migrations from a secondary Domino Directory
How to remove encryption from a Notes database
NME and Secondary Address Book
Multi File Selector for Binary Tree CMTe
Problem Mail Files for NME (Notes Migrator for Exchange)
Using a Staging Server for Notes to Exchange migrations
SmartCloud to Office 365
Notes2SharePoint Part 1
Migrating Private Folders
Different roles in an email migrations
What to do with Profile Docs during a Migration

If you would like to see my resume
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Copyright 1999-2017, John Vanderhoff. All rights reserved. This document is NOT in the public domain and remains the property of John Vanderhoff. Distribution or modification of this document without the knowledge, review and express permission of John Vanderhoff is strictly prohibited.