I still remember my first archive migration project like it was yesterday…
Nearly 15 years ago, a customer needed to migrate their Enterprise Vault 5 archiving system to a new one. The customer had 12’000 email archives and 13 TB of data. At the time, this was huge!
In retrospect, the whole project was a nightmare! There were no 3rd-party migration tools available back then, so everything was manual labor. Remote work wasn’t really accepted, so three consultants had to be onsite for months to manually export archive after archive into PST files, and then import them into the new system. Of course, this was never straightforward, as there was no chain-of-custody or any kind of reporting on failed items. All in all, the customer had to pay for several thousand hours of professional services and the whole process of migrating the 13TB took more than 12 months.
A few years later, the approach had changed.
The arrival of 3rd-party migration tools allowed customers to automate the process of email movement, but high license costs (>10k$ per TB) did not help matters. A lot of professional services were still required, as all the steps beside the pure data movement had to be covered with manual labor. Another headache, the customer had to order dedicated hardware (multiple servers) to run the migration on. Needless to say, licenses for tools have to be bought upfront, meaning that if you wanted to migrate 30 TB, you needed to pay for the software licenses upfront, before much data could be moved.
Thankfully, the approach changed again in the last few years. But things may still not be as they seem…
Some vendors have polished the exterior of their products, using “the cloud” to deliver archive migrations. While it helps to reduce the amount of hardware required onsite, they are, in reality, simply hosting the migration servers on the customer’s behalf, or indeed, encouraging the customer to host the VM’s in Microsoft Azure. More a hosted than a real cloud migration then, with the same restrictions of a typical On-prem solution, but with, typically, much higher infrastructure costs and less performance as a well sized dedicated VM or Server.
More has changed since the migration tools I’m discussing were architected. Today, most customers are migrating their archives to the cloud (Microsoft Office 365), which introduces a lot of additional complexity. There are different ingestion protocols to take into account, trying to avoid Office 365 ingestion-throttling, completing provisioning-steps, assigning appropriate licenses, and other dependencies that make projects much more complex.
The migration of archives often has to be in-sync with the whole cloud onboarding process for each department or batch of users. Frequently, it’s a communication challenge; sending spreadsheets back and forth between different teams involved in the process. Amazingly, there’s still a lot of manual labor involved. From a customer’s perspective, the external costs for migrating a TB of data might have been reduced compared to the approaches before, but the internal costs have risen dramatically. The amount of days or hours required, quoted by professional services companies today, is often a “best guess”, as they can’t foresee the complexity of the whole onboarding process. This often leads to providers going back to the customer (sometimes several times) to ask for additional purchase orders for further professional services, which makes budgeting difficult.
Unfortunately, the volume and required order of these various processes to onboard new users to Office 365, especially when also migrating archives like EV, require the execution of many interconnected and dependent tasks. We believe that automating this workflow, end-to-end, provides a shorter total project time, a faster ROI, better project governance and a better end user experience.
Mercifully, times are changing again, and today I’d like to introduce you to cloudficient’s REAL cloud-based approach to archive migration and Office 365 onboarding. It’s called EVComplete and the future looks bright!
EVComplete allows us to create templates, consisting of Migration or Onboarding process tasks. Depending on the customer’s project requirements and scope, we can arrange those tasks in any order the customer requires, add steps like Exchange mailbox moves or provision an Archive mailbox for a user. The template is Individualized for each customer’s unique needs.
EVComplete then orchestrates the migration process and executes the tasks automatically for each user mapped to this process. This means you can drive the onboarding & migration process forward as if you had 10 consultants permanently monitoring, executing scripts 24/7. Just like the good old days, just no real people involved, thank goodness!
Using automation not only makes the whole migration more effective and efficient, it also allows quick diagnosis of potential issues, as the status of each user in every workflow is easy to determine. This shortens the project duration and increases governance control.
This modern approach and technology gives us such peace of mind, that we can confidently offer optional to our traditional capex based licensing models, starting today, a new revolutionary approach:
Fixed Price, Fixed Outcome & Pay As You Go!
- Budget certainty: a fixed price for the cloudficient migration, based upon the volume of email archive to be migrated
- Fixed Outcome: successful migrations that meet the legal, technical and business requirements
- Complete solution: includes licenses, professional services and support throughout the project
- Pay as you go: Opex-Migration – Pay NOTHING upfront. We charge you only for each successfully migrated TB