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back to article El Reg drills into Office 365: Email migration

Spinning up a new instance of Office 365 to provide email for a brand new domain is easy; migrating email from existing domains is not. If you're a systems administrator who can count to 10 more or less accurately you're probably okay to dive in, but the everyday non-technical user will still find it a bit of a struggle. In the …

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Boffin

Surprising

I'm a bit surprised to learn that they haven't improved hardly anything when it comes to the migration or conversion process.

Because although I'm currently very happy with my Outlook 2010 environment I still shudder at the actual process of converting my Thunderbird environment to Outlook 2010, that wasn't easy at all.

And now it seems the same applies to 365, which I honestly consider to be a failure. Especially if you take into consideration that popular software such as Thunderbird is open source, therefore people and companies can easily check the way it stores it's e-mail. Better yet: even if you don't want to, the format used is (to my understanding) very similar to the mbox format, with the exception that they're also using an index or database.

But no... As you said; Outlook 2010 can handle IMAP, but you can't simply tell it to import your Thunderbird settings or point it to an mbox format mailbox and tell it to convert this to it's native PST format.

And yes; I know that there are a dozen software packages out there which can do this for you, that's really not the point here. In my opinion Microsoft should have implemented some sort of solution themselves as well. At the very least to make it easier (and thus more appealing!) to convert! At least they should have created some kind of PowerShell script.

Either way; as said I still remember my conversion. 5 different e-mail accounts; 1 business, 2 Hotmail accounts (business & private), one private blog account and the account provided by my Internet Provider (which I use the least). I ended up exporting all the e-mail from ThunderBird to mbox, uploaded that to my mailserver and with a nice Perl script (mboxtomaildir) I could implement the whole thing and make it accessible using Dovecot.

Then I setup an account to point Outlook to this temporary mail account and within Outlook moved all my e-mail messages from this place to the official account I setup.

So picture my surprise to read that basically Microsoft hasn't changed a thing with their latest 365 environment. This is really not the way to motivate people to start using Outlook. In fact; the process alone has often made me advice ThunderBird to some of my customers. Simply because moving to an Outlook environment would at least take one hour for the conversion itself (probably a little less, but I normally charge by the hour).

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Linux

Re: Surprising

"Either way; as said I still remember my conversion. 5 different e-mail accounts; 1 business, 2 Hotmail accounts (business & private), one private blog account and the account provided by my Internet Provider (which I use the least). I ended up exporting all the e-mail from ThunderBird to mbox, uploaded that to my mailserver and with a nice Perl script (mboxtomaildir) I could implement the whole thing and make it accessible using Dovecot." -- Why didn't you just add the new account as an IMAP account in Thunderbird and just drag and drop your email to the new account ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surprising

Thank you for that description of you changing your email client. This video is about mailbox migration for more than one user - and it looks easier than the process you described for one user.

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Re: Surprising

Try Notes to Outlook, that is interesting. A French company I worked for didn't even bother converting, they just left the Notes client and switched over to Outlook. I split a small company off at the same time and converted all the accounts from Notes to Outlook, that took several days for about 30 accounts.

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Re: Surprising

If the company uses Domino applications then leaving the existing mail is a sensible option. Many Domino / Notes apps assume the use of a local mail box so you would have to modify all these to be truly free of a Notes mail. Another points here is that archive mail usage tends to drop off dramatically after 12 months so why waste the time, cost and effort to convert especially if you have Notes apps? These days a lot of companies have a separate mail compliance system anyway from which any mail can be retrieved not just the bits that each user saved.

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Trollface

"There are three ways to get your data into Office 365" -- Ah, I was looking for three ways to get my data out of Office 365.

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There are several export options. Believe me, getting out is easier than getting in!

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I wish you had text of your videos.

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There are accompanying articles that will be out soon. They aren't exactly transcripts, but they should be good enough.

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Linux

Having just migrated 36K accounts for a University into O365 via the IMAP import process, I can happily report that it was almost uneventfully boring - as it took just over a week doing them in batches. There was more effort involved in managing the user experience and ensuring they knew what was going on than in the actual migration. Just hope that it is equally painless when the day comes that we migrate the users back out of O365 when they start whacking us with a bill as at the moment O365 is free to education. Exporting out will be a right pain though as they now have 25GB of storage instead of 100MB - not sure we can afford that for 36K users....

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FAIL

Not so 365

And today ive done yet another Office 365 to Exchange 2010 reversal.

Go figure....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not so 365

Yeah I had 3 users out of 30,000 want their email back on-site too. You do get the occassional hold-out to the 21st Century...

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