Overview of the Exchange Onboarding process

This overview outlines the Onboarding process and who is responsible for each part. There may be some variation in your migration due to the wide variety of non-Smarsh Hosted Services Exchange solutions. We will ensure that the correct plan is put in place to meet your needs for a smooth transition.  Each part of this process is addressed in more detail in the step-by-step explanation that follows.

PHASE 1. ACCOUNT CREATION

  1. CUSTOMER: Contact Smarsh Hosted Services Support to discuss the terms of account creation and further steps. 
  2. EVERYONE: Once the first step is complete and the terms are agreed upon, a representative of Smarsh Hosted Services will contact you to discuss your migration and put a plan in place based on your specific needs.
  3. CUSTOMER: Create a CSVDE export of your current Active Directory content or provide connection information for your directory server so Smarsh Hosted Services can export the information directly. 
  4. Smarsh Hosted Services: Imports your Active Directory objects and relationships to populate your Smarsh Hosted Services Hosted Exchange account.
  5. Smarsh Hosted Services: Changes mail routing on your Hosted Exchange account to deliver to your current Exchange server.
  6. EVERYONE: You will need to configure optional add-ons such as wireless devices, OCS, archiving, etc.
  7. CUSTOMER: Verify that your account configuration has been imported correctly. The migration will not proceed until you have verified that the data is correct. At this time, you should also provide Smarsh Hosted Services with a cutover date when you will switch your end users to connect to the new account.
  8. CUSTOMER: Change MX records for your domain to point to your new account. (This step is only necessary if Smarsh Hosted Services does not host the DNS name servers for your domain(s).)
  9. EVERYONE: Wait 72 Hours for DNS propagation.

    PHASE 2. DATA MIGRATION
  10. Smarsh Hosted Services: Approximately 48 hours before your planned cutover date, your mailbox data will be exported  from your existing Exchange mailboxes and imported into your Hosted Exchange account. Depending on the volume of data, connection speed, and access to your current Exchange server, there are several export and delivery options for PST’s containing your mailbox data. 
  11. CUSTOMER: Verify that the mailbox data has copied correctly to the new account. Once you have verified the data has been copied correctly the migration will proceed.
  12. CUSTOMER: Pre-configure profiles on your Outlook clients to connect to your new Hosted Exchange account.

    PHASE 3. DELIVERY AND END USER CUTOVER
  13. EVERYONE: Cut over to the new account. 
    1. Smarsh Hosted Services: Changes mail routing on your Hosted Exchange account to deliver to your Hosted Exchange Account. 
    2. CUSTOMER: Create an Autodiscover record for your domain. 
    3. CUSTOMER: Configure all your clients and devices to connect to the new server.
    4. CUSTOMER: Export and import public folder data via Outlook.
  14. Smarsh Hosted Services: Smarsh Hosted Services will copy a differential of mailbox data from your current Exchange server to capture any new mail since the initial copy.
  15. CUSTOMER: Verify that the data has copied correctly. Once you have verified the data has been copied correctly the migration will proceed.
  16. EVERYONE: Smarsh Hosted Services will work with you to determine if the migration is 100% complete. Once both parties are agreed the migration is complete, the Support case will be closed and your account will be marked as in production.

Detailed step-by-step instructions

STEP 1: CREATE Smarsh Hosted Services HOSTED EXCHANGE ACCOUNT. First, create your new Hosted Exchange account.

STEP 2: MIGRATION PLANNING. Once your new Hosted Exchange account is created, one of our migration specialists will contact you to discuss the migration process. If possible, please review this entire document prior to the call so that we may answer any questions you might have.

STEP 3: EXPORT ACTIVE DIRECTORY CONFIGURATION WITH CSVDE. To ease setup of your new Hosted Exchange account, you can export your current Active Directory configuration using CSVDE. If you are currently with another Hosted Exchange provider and do not have access to run this command, we can export the information remotely with the credentials of any mailbox that has access to their directory server. We will assist you with this during migration planning.
Read the Knowledge Base article on How do I export Active Directory user information to a CSV file? for more information.

STEP 4: IMPORT OF ACTIVE DIRECTORY CONFIGURATION. Smarsh Hosted Services will use a suite of proprietary tools to import your Active Directory configuration to your Hosted Exchange account.

STEP 5: MODIFY MAIL ROUTING ON EXCHANGE ACCOUNT. This will route mail sent to your new account to the current mail server to simplify the migration process and limit the impact of changing MX records. This step will allow MX record propagation to occur seamlessly for your users. When we perform the cutover below, mail delivery will be instantly changed to your new account.

Warning: This mail filter redirection will only forward email for addresses that exist on your Smarsh Hosted Services account including distribution lists and mail enabled public folders. If you have changed the naming convention for your email addresses you must add the old address as an alias for the user. If there is an address not being migrated over to Smarsh Hosted Services. This address will no longer receive mail once the mail filter redirection is in place. 

STEP 6: ACTIVATE OPTIONAL ADD-ONS. Items like wireless devices and other additional services will need to be activated manually for the users that need them. If you have any questions on whether you need to activate something or need assistance with a bulk activation of a particular item, don’t hesitate to contact Smarsh Hosted Services.

STEP 7: VERIFY ACCOUNT CONFIGURATION COPIED SUCCESSFULLY. Smarsh Hosted Services will contact you once your account configuration has been copied to your new Exchange account.  You will need to confirm that the account is configured correctly.

  1. Log in to your new Hosted Exchange account and review the Users, Exchange Mailboxes, Resource Mailboxes, Company Contacts, Distribution Lists, and other features to make sure the account has been configured properly.  Though user mailboxes will be created, passwords are not transferred to the new account.  Mailboxes will be assigned random passwords. You can either set passwords manually, use DirectoryLink to synchronize with your in-house Active Directory, or provide us with a CSV file containing passwords and we’d be happy to set them in bulk. 
  2. Make note of any items that are missing or were not set up properly.  Be prepared to provide detailed information about any discrepancies so we can quickly correct them.
  3. Contact Smarsh Hosted Services and inform us whether the account is set up properly in preparation for migration. 
    • If the account is configured correctly, simply let us know and we will proceed to the next step of the process.
    • If there are issues with the account setup, we will work with you to resolve them.  Once the account setup is updated, Smarsh Hosted Services will contact you again to review the account setup. 
  4. When setup is confirmed, we will proceed with the migration.

STEP 8: CHANGE MX RECORD. You will need to change your MX records to point to your new Exchange account. If you will be hosting your DNS records with Smarsh Hosted Services we will change your name server records at this point as well.

Note: It is extremely important that the MX records are created correctly to ensure mail delivery is not interrupted. Check and double-check the records as they are changed, to ensure there are no issues. If you need assistance ensuring the change was made correctly, any of our Support engineers can assist you.

  1. You can find the target for the MX record by logging in to the CONTROL PANEL for the new 2010/2013 account and going to the Get Started Here! page.  Click on Advanced Settings and it will expan,d displaying information including the MX record.
  2. Change the MX record with your Registrar or authoritative servers to point to the new account.  Your Registrar or the administrator of your authoritative servers should be able to assist you with this. If you will be hosting your DNS with Smarsh Hosted Services, we can assist you with this change.

STEP 9: WAIT 72 HOURS. DNS propagation of your MX records can take up to 72 hours. There will be no impact to your current mail delivery at this time.

STEP 10: COPY MAILBOX CONTENT. There are several options for moving your mailbox content to your new Exchange server. We will summarize the various options here in order of preference. If you will not be bringing mailbox data to Smarsh Hosted Services, you can skip this step.

  1. ROH Export tool and Exmerge Account
    Smarsh Hosted Services’s custom-designed ROH tool allows us to connect to your Exchange server remotely using an account configured with access to your existing mailboxes. This tool will export all messages to PST files, which we can then import to your new Hosted Exchange account. We have used this tool for multiple terabyte exports with no issues. You can find instructions on creating the Exmerge account in our Knowledge Base. Read the Knowledge Base article on Requirements for RPC over HTTP(s) Export Tool for more information.
  2. ROH Export tool and individual mailbox credentials
    If you are using an Exchange hosting provider that does not allow the necessary access, it may be necessary to provide credentials to each individual mailbox so we can connect to export the data with the ROH tool. If this is the case, we will work with you to find the most efficient way to get the necessary information. Read the Knowledge Base article on Requirements for RPC over HTTP(s) Export Tool for more information.
  3. IMAP Export tool
    If you are migrating from IMAP server we can connect to it and pull the data from mailboxes. This way we can pull mail items; contacts and calendars are to be migrated manually. Read the Knowledge Base article on Requirements for IMAP Export Tool for more onformation.
  4. Manual data migration
    If you are migrating from POP server we cannot connect to it to pull the data for you. You will need to copty the data manually client-side. Read the Knowledge Base article on Data Migration From POP Hosting To Smarsh Hosted Services for more information. 
  5. Delivery of PSTs via hard drive or FTP
    If you do not have a robust enough Internet connection, you can export your data locally to an external hard drive then send the drive to Smarsh Hosted Services. We will connect the drive to your server and import the data directly. The engineer working with you will provide you with an address to send to.

Note: Smarsh Hosted Services does not migrate SharePoint content at this time.

STEP 11: VERIFY MAILBOX DATA COPIED SUCCESSFULLY. You will need to verify that your mailbox data has copied correctly.

  1. Check the mailboxes on your new Hosted Exchange account to ensure that there is data in them as appropriate. We recommend checking a few different mailboxes via OWA to ensure there were no issues with the import.
  2. If there was data that did not get migrated or there are any other issues, please gather the details and be prepared to relay the details to Smarsh Hosted Services.
  3. Notify Smarsh Hosted Services whether the data migration is complete. If there are issues with the migration of data, we will work with you to correct the issue.
  4. A date will be set for the cutover to the new account.  Please make note of the scheduled cutover.

STEP 12: PRE-CONFIGURE OUTLOOK PROFILES. We recommend that you pre-configure a second profile on all your users' Outlook clients to connect to the new Exchange server. This allows you to spread the work out rather than having to touch every end-user machine when we do the cutover. You can use the instructions for setting up Outlook found in step 13.

Note: Since users are now connecting to a hosted Exchange server, Outlook can timeout when there is low bandwidth and other lags. Outlook then appears to hang while trying to reconnect. To resolve you might want to increase the timeout setting:

Outlook 2007

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. Navigate to Tools > Account settings
  3. Click to select the target POP3 account, and then click Change.
  4. Click More Settings > Advanced tab.
  5. Gradually increase the server time-out setting until the issue is resolved.

Outlook 2010

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. Navigate to File > Info > Account Settings.
  3. Click to select the target POP3 account, and then click Change.
  4. Click More Settings > Advanced tab.
  5. Gradually increase the server time-out setting until the issue is resolved.

STEP 13: CUTOVER TO NEW ACCOUNT. Smarsh Hosted Services will modify mail routing to deliver incoming mail to your Exchange account. You will need to configure all of your mail clients and devices to connect to the new server. We recommend to create the appropriate Autodiscover record first.

  1. To create your Autodiscover record contact your Registrar or your authoritative servers and have a sub-domain created for autodiscover.yourdomainname.com  (for example, autodiscover.Smarsh Hosted Services.net)
  2. Create a DNS CNAME record for this sub-domain that points to the Smarsh Hosted Services Autodiscover server.  This can be found in CONTROL PANEL > Get Started Here! > Advanced Settings (for example, ar##.serverdata.net). 

Please read the Knowledge Base article on How Do I Migrate Public Folder Data? for Public Folders migration instructions.

Details on the clients or devices configuration can be found below.

ENTOURAGE. Exchange 2010/2013 supports only Entourage EWS version. Entourage EWS will synchronize with the mailbox. This will take some time, depending on the mailbox size and bandwidth.
Read the Knowledge Base article on Setting up Entourage Web Services for installation and setup instructions.

OUTLOOK. Important: Outlook 2003 is not supported in the Exchange 2010/2013 environment. Please make sure that a newer version of Outlook is installed for all users. It can be downloaded from CONTROL PANEL > Get Started Here! > Step 2 > Download Outlook.
Have users run Outlook Profile Helper from the new account to create a new profile.  This will connect them to the new  mailbox.  Outlook will then synchronize with the mailbox.  This will take some time, depending on the mailbox size and bandwidth.
Read the following Knowledge Base articles for more information:
What is Outlook Profile Helper? How Do I Use It?
How do I manually connect Outlook 2003/2007 to Exchange 2003/2007/2010 Server?

You may also want to do the following:

ACTIVESYNC. For ActiveSync devices, remove the old setup and create a new connection. 
Read the following Knowledge Base articles for more information:
ActiveSync setup on Windows Mobile 6 devices
How do I set up an email account on iPhone using Microsoft Exchange?

BLACKBERRY. For BlackBerry devices, the user will need to wipe the device and then activate the new account using Enterprise activation. Upon activation, the device will synchronize the contacts and calendar along with recent mail. The device will only synchronize the last 7 days or 350 mail items.
Read the following Knowledge Base articles for more information:
How do I enable my BlackBerry using wireless Enterprise activation?
Troubleshooting BlackBerry activation issues (Exchange 2007/2010)

GOOD MOBILE. Good Mobile service is not available for 2010/2013 customers.

STEP 14: COPY DIFFERENTIAL MAILBOX DATA. With all mail now delivering directly to your new Hosted Exchange account Smarsh Hosted Services will perform a final export and import of mailbox data to capture any new data since the initial copy.

STEP 15: VERIFY MAILBOX DATA. You will need to verify that the data copied correctly.

  1. Verify that the data migration is complete.  Check the mailboxes on the 2010/2013 account to ensure that there is data in them as appropriate.
  2. Note if the migration of data was successful.  If there was data that did not get migrated, gather the details and be prepared to relay the details to Smarsh Hosted Services.
  3. Notify Smarsh Hosted Services whether the data migration is complete. If there are issues with the migration of data, we will work with you to correct the issue.
  4. A date will be set for the cutover to the new account.  Please make note of the scheduled cutover.

STEP 16: VERIFY MIGRATION IS COMPLETE. As a final step to the actual migration process, Smarsh Hosted Services will contact you to verify that all your users are on the new account, your data is all available, and the service is behaving as expected. Once you have verified that you are in production on the new account, the migration will be complete.