by Bill Virtue\n\nI recently delivered training on Dell\u2019s Migration Manager, specifically targeting Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory, and I\u2019d like to share some tips for a smooth migration. Any migration is no small task for IT, and those who have conducted a migration in the past often shy away from doing it again. That said, Microsoft Server 2003 Datacenter, Enterprise, and Standard Editions will go End of Support (EOS) in July 2015, and many enterprises are still running Microsoft Server 2003. Many of those servers house Active Directory, Domain Controllers, Exchange 2003 Servers, SQL Servers, and more. Those Exchange environments will need to move to a newer platform such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2013. As you know, Exchange and Active Directory are tightly integrated, and migrating both Exchange and Active Directory will be a big challenge for many in the coming months. Read on to find out what you can do to ease the transition. [read more]\nBe Prepared\nThe first step in any major project is preparation. Data migration is a very strategic project, and budgeting should be part of the initial planning which may include new hardware given that many Microsoft 2003 Servers are likely running on older hardware, and the importance of end of support cannot be ignored. Data center migrations are a complex and time consuming activity that must be executed without affecting business operations. A hardware refresh, software upgrade, or both, mean that SLAs including performance, availability, and data protection must be maintained.\nA question I often hear is \u201cHow long does a migration take?\u201d In smaller organizations, an offline migration may be accomplished over the weekend, but in many SMB and larger enterprises these projects will occur in phases over several months.\nMicrosoft Exchange Migration Challenges\nThere are several common challenges of a Microsoft Exchange migration. Knowing them ahead of time will allow you to better formulate a plan and manage your environment during the process. These challenges include:\n\nUnderstanding user and organization impact\u2014Nail down how Exchange is used by the business and how possible downtime may affect it.\nInadequate data protection\u2014Back up your Exchange data and know how to recover it.\nFailure to plan for post migration\u2014Be aware: there will be post migration tuning required. Build time for that into your plan.\n32-bit applications running on Server 2003\u2014If you\u2019re migrating to a 64-bit architecture, you\u2019ll need to upgrade or replace these legacy applications.\nInconsistent or absence of a coexistence strategy\u2014You won\u2019t move it all overnight, so plan accordingly.\n\nMicrosoft Active Directory Challenges\nActive Directory has its own migration challenges (aside from changing the DC, Schema Master, and the Global Catalog), especially where acquisitions may include multi-domains, one way trusts, and limited AD visibility by IT staff. This is no surprise to anyone who has been involved in previous migration projects.\n\nMulti-Forest, Multi-Domain, Trusts\nPrivileged Accounts, AD Admin, Domain Admin, Schema Admin, and the associated tasks.\nUsers, Computers, Groups, and Service accounts\nOU and GPO sprawl\nNative tools are not granular enough to help with migration\n\nDell Migration Manager\nOne available solution to help with these headaches comes from Dell. It includes Migration Manager for Exchange and Active Directory, which makes your move from Server 2003 to Server 2012 a success. Dell\u2019s Migration Manager not only empowers you to efficiently migrate and restructure Active Directory, it also ensures that users retain secure access to critical resources as the data is moved. Plus, it provides a secure coexistence strategy as the migration progresses toward completion.\nBenefits of Dell Migration Manager include:\n\nZero Impact\u2014Efficiently move and restructure user accounts, data, and systems without affecting users or business productivity.\nCoexist\u2014Maintain productivity by ensuring interoperability between users on different email clients.\nMigration Management\u2014Prepare reports, monitor, and analyze the current state of the environment being migrated.\nSecure\u2014Reduce the risk of data loss in transit during migration.\n\nDell has successfully migrated more than 35 million mailboxes to Exchange. This includes more than 10 million mailboxes from Notes, GroupWise, and Google. Dell has also successfully migrated more than 40 million users to Active Directory. This includes nearly 10 million users migrated from Novell NDS.\nAnd for more details, check out Dell\u2019s Migration Manager.