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6 Best Practices for Migrating Domino to Exchange 2010

When an organisation makes a decision to convert NSF to PST — that is, to migrate from Lotus Domino to Microsoft Exchange — there are many best practices to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll take a look at six of these best practices, from understanding the difference between Notes and Outlook to paying attention to the issue of replication.

1. Understand the difference between Lotus Notes and Outlook

The simple fact is that Notes (the client) and Domino (the server) possess more features and are capable of a great deal more than Outlook and Exchange (again, the client and server respectively). Notes, for example, is capable of presenting mail with active content, while Outlook is not. Additionally, Domino can host many applications that Exchange cannot. As such, you might find that it’s a good idea to keep Lotus Notes available to ensure you have continued access to your current applications and active mail.

2. Run test migrations

Knowing your numbers and limits is important, so make sure you undergo plenty of test migrations to ascertain the performance capabilities of each server, as well as the overall migration infrastructure. Study the logs from these tests and get your head around the percentage of messages that fail to migrate; this knowledge will pay dividends in the long run.

3. Log volume scaling

It’s important to correctly scale your log volumes, as Exchange databases will be written to transaction log files. As far as Exchange is concerned, all migrated data is new data, so it will be written to logs prior to being committed to database. Without log volume scaling, there will be a chance of log volumes filling up during migration, which is not what you want. Alternatively, you could try circular logging as an option, or simply take more frequent backups.

4. Don’t forget about maintenance

Most organisations will schedule domino maintenance for low productivity hours — weekends and evenings, for example — but this is also the ideal time for migration. As a result, many organisations neglect maintenance during a migration, which can be problematic. Consider moving your maintenance window to another time that fits in with your migration plans. You should also remember that there is a strong possibility Exchange backups will need to run more often, as the increased transaction logging dictates.

5. Beware replication latency

Database replication is built in to Domino server, and it’s one of its best features. However, this means the Domino Directory and user mail files could have multiple replicas throughout. It pays to use migration software that is capable of allowing for replication latency in order to avoid lost mail.

6. Consider varying configurations

Outlook is not a one-size-fits-all affair; what may work for one organisation will not necessarily work for another. With that in mind, there are certain configuration options which are crucial. For example, Outlook is capable of using two different formats for PST files — ANSI standard and UNICODE. The former makes files stop growing at 2GB, while the latter can grow as large as 20GB. Some other configuration options include enabling spell check by default and setting the default mail format to HTML.

If you are interested in finding out more about converting NSF to PST, contact Kim Beros Consulting.

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