Microsoft Exchange and its native client, Outlook, play important roles in the enterprise. Corporate email systems have become essential communication hubs, integral to the enterprise environment. The result is that institutional email traffic has been elevated to the level of corporate "document of record." And because documents of record are subject to federal laws governing retention policy, a company's email archive is a sensitive part of the corporate environment.
Because of regulatory compliance, companies feel they need to save all of their email traffic. Over time, and especially in large companies, the store of saved messages can become extremely large.
This creates a problem because Exchange was not designed as a data store, so storing massive amounts of data on the Exchange Server is both inefficient and expensive. Consequently, as the volume of messages stored in Exchange began to balloon (and storage costs began to soar), organizations sought economical solutions.
What companies needed was a way to securely and compliantly (and economically) store vast quantities of historical email traffic, and yet still have easy access to all of it to meet day-to-day business needs. The solution, then, was turning to cost-effective, third-party archiving platforms such as Symantec's Enterprise Vault, where companies could offload their Exchange message stores but still have ready access to it. The solution greatly reduced the load on Exchange, significantly lowered storage costs, but still provides easy access to messages in the archive.
Problems Organizations Face when Using Archives
Organizations have relied on third-party email archiving for many years to support their regulatory retention requirements. Many IT leaders have learned hard lessons maintaining these enterprise third-party archive systems and are facing one or more issues forcing them to consider moving away from their legacy email archiving system to something else.
Today many organizations are moving away from on-premises legacy systems and moving onto open-architecture, cloud-based solutions like Office 365, which are both affordable and easy to use. But making such a change forces them to face the daunting task of extracting and migrating their enormous archive.
A company's deciding to move their active email systems to the cloud is a no-brainer. But then came the more difficult question: What should we do with our email archive, which is presently living in an on-premises archiving system?
Many of these companies overlooked or simply ignored their email archive. In fact, there are two important questions to consider:
- How should you deal with your email archive requirements in the future, after you've migrated your active mailboxes to the cloud? Your regulatory retention policies do not go away, after all.
- What should you do with the massive store of archived email (likely terabytes of data) that is presently stored in the legacy on-premises archive? You will likely still need access to the data, but continuing to store it in the legacy archive is expense. And if your answer to the first question was to start a new archive on your new cloud-based system, then you now have two archives (and a lot of headaches).
Whatever the reason for going forward with an email archive migration project, the main question is not whether to migrate existing archived data, but rather, how to start, what data to migrate, and what steps are needed to ensure a smooth, low risk, successful, and cost-efficient migration.
Archive Migration Service
BitTitan Archive Migration Service (AMS) is a full white-glove service that removes all the complexity and provides a seamless archive migration experience. AMS is proven, reliable, and can handle millions of archive emails fast, and with exceptional accuracy.
Designed to work with all the leading legacy email archives, BitTitan AMS extracts raw messages and attachments, including all metadata, directly from your legacy email archive, reconstitutes messages that relied on email message stubs, and migrates the contents of the legacy archive in a manner that ensures fidelity on the Destinations.
Furthermore, AMS provides an item-level audit trail for compliance reporting and preserves complete, original message fidelity for eDiscovery and regulatory requests. In short, AMS provides full legal defensibility.
BitTitan Archive Migration Service is the only Migration as a Service solution capable of moving all on-premises email, including your legacy email archive data, to Office 365 cloud-based email and archive with predictability and 100% data fidelity without delaying the total migration project timeline.
The image below provides a high-level overview of the migration process flow. Archive Migration Service follows a complex workflow. We're going to give you an overview to help you understand how it works.
Figure 1. Archive Migration Service workflow
Note that the archive migration requires having two servers at the Source. These servers can be either physical or virtual, and are only needed for the duration of the migration. You can review server requirements by reading the BitTitan Knowledge Base article Archive Migration Service: Prerequisites (KB005374).
Step 1. The workflow begins with BitTitan's Migration Server. When users migration is started, the BitTitan Migration Server queries the Source archive SQL Server database to capture user metadata.
Step 2. The Source archive SQL database then returns the user profile metadata to the BitTitan migration server.
These first two steps are critical because the archive SQL database at the Source provides essential user metadata that is then applied during the migration.
Step 3. Next, the migration server creates a MAPI connection to the user mailboxes on the Destination in Office 365. It's important that the connection you establish to the Destination is a Global Administrator Service Account, which has full, administrator access to all of the mailboxes.
Step 4. The BitTitan Migration Server takes the user metadata that it collected from the SQL database on the Source, along with message files in the archive file shares (which is also located on the Source), and then reconstructs the archived messages and moves them into the Office 365 user mailboxes on the Destination.
Step 5. The user metadata that was extracted is stored in the BitTitan SQL Server database to ensure legal chain of custody. Then, the metadata that was held on the BitTitan Migration server is deleted. Once all of the migrated data has been processed, the connection that was opened in Step 1 is closed.