Tips for Migrating Microsoft Exchange to the Cloud
I have previously discussed cloud migrations, mostly from the perspective Infrastructure as a Service(IAAS) for mid to large size companies but what if you have have a very specific need for a migration that is not IAAS such as migrating to an outsourced exchange provider?
The trend of most SMB’s are migrating away from their own exchange server but surprisingly it is not uncommon now for even large companies with thousands of employees who for years have been managing their own exchange server within their facility and staff to move towards this model.
In this article I would like to discuss how internal Microsoft Exchange Servers can be moved to an external outsourced Exchange service provider.
Microsoft Exchange is very popular among enterprises, it is the most common Enterprise mail standard. However, running a server in house can be quite expensive and is time consuming for your IT staff. A solution would be to consider hosting the information on an a vendors system that specializes in outsourced exchange services and management. Microsoft even offers the possibility to host the information on its servers, through the Exchange Online program.
Smaller and mid-sizes businesses have a preference in moving email and additional apps to the cloud. Now there is a shift on the market, as larger companies tend to migrate out of their server rooms to outsource Exchange dedicated facilities.
If you want to upgrade from Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Online, as usual, you must be careful in selecting the company in charge with the migration. However, I have researched some providers and found a few companies who are specialized in exchange migrations. Also, I found some automated tools. You will start to see companies specialize in this area and they will help companies migrate from their environments to the Cloud. It is important to choose a cloud computing provider, who performs many types of migrations, since there are many versions of exchange and also many exchange clients on multiple OS’s. Of course, the main issue with this type of migration is trust, as it seems to be with any kind of cloud migrations. The information to be moved is important, email and contacts, and if we are talking about a migration with tens of thousands of employees, there will be reluctance.
However, Microsoft has made many security improvements, and, if hosted on its servers, the data is safe even in the case of major natural disasters. Furthermore, people can connect to the server from anywhere securely as long as they have an Internet connection available.
Although in terms of very specific migrations to the cloud and specialists performing these types of migrations, there are not many experts that are concentrating on this, but I believe this situation will change soon and I have run into one recently that helped with our migration that we were very impressed with. The increasing interest from larger companies for Exchange Migrations and so on can only mean that this market will continue to be strong.
By Rick Blaisdell