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Migrating from Lotus Notes to Microsoft in 6 Steps

Lotus Notes, which stores its data in the Notes Storage Format (NSF), is fast being replaced by Microsoft solutions such as Exchange and SharePoint, which store data in the Personal Storage Table (PST) format. When it’s time to convert NSF to PST, however, the process is not as simple as it might seem. In this article, we’ll show you six steps to take in order to successfully migrate from Lotus Notes to Microsoft solutions.

1. Figure out what’s needed

The first step in any good plan is to take stock of what will be involved in the process. When migrating to Microsoft solutions, then, you need to figure out the user requirements for the new environment. Will your current infrastructure suffice for the new setup? If not, new infrastructure needs to be considered. The migration team must also ascertain which of the Notes features are mission-critical and ensure there is a way for these applications to be migrated without causing downtime.

2. Begin planning

The IT department must now formulate a plan of attack. This plan must involve detailed lists of the tasks that will be involved, as well as a rough estimate as to how long each task will take to complete. Are any of the tasks reliant on external factors? If so, the potential for delays must be taken into account. Perhaps most importantly, the IT department needs to be sure that they have the skill set required to administer a Microsoft environment. Since they’re probably experienced with Notes, but not Microsoft, then the knowledge of a consultant may need to be sought.

3. Conduct a pilot project

This step is important, as it allows you to discover any issues or inconsistencies that may arise during the migration. The pilot project should involve taking a very small sample of the required services (mailboxes, calendars and contacts, for example) and migrating them. By implementing a successful pilot project, you can be confident that the main migration will be successful.

4. Migrating mail services

When the migration proper begins, the first step is to migrate mail and calendar applications. There are a couple of ways to go about this. First of all, they could use batch migration, which involves a bulk migration of all components, all in one go. Alternatively, you can migrate mail services on a user-by-user basis, with each individual mailbox migrated separately. While the first option allows the process to be completed more quickly, the second option allows for a more customised migration process.

Whichever you choose, you’ll want to make sure the process is automated. Manually converting NSF to PST is oppressively time-consuming and can lead to significant downtime for the organisation in question. Instead, you should use software that automates the process.

5. Migrating application content

Migrating Notes application content to Microsoft SharePoint can be challenging, particularly if applications were developed specifically for the Notes platform. The migration team must identify Notes databases, analyse application usage and data complexity. This will help to ascertain which applications will be migrated easily and which will take more time. Again, migration software can be useful in this regard.

6. Testing, going live and post-migration administration

Once the migration has been completed, the new software should be tested to ensure it is running efficiently. If all the steps have been carried out successfully, it’s time to go live. However, the work doesn’t simply end after a successful migration; the new applications (and their infrastructure) must be optimised.

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