IBM Notes to Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint Server Migration
Leading European commercial bank that serves businesses around the world
The client's corporate system was based on the Lotus Notes technology, utilizing Domino servers as corporate email and directory providers, as well as hosts for business process applications.
The client examined the efficiency and cost of its infrastructure system, comparing it with similar systems that use the Exchange and Office Server platform released by Microsoft. The conclusion was that Microsoft could provide better functionality and excellent speed of applications for less cost. This was the reason why the bank made a decision to invest in business infrastructure transformation. According to bank's estimates, the economy of the new technology was to cover transition expenses within two years. The customer requested migration of all its branches located in Europe.
From a technical viewpoint, the project contained the following basic requirements:
- Migrate user records (address books) from Lotus Directory to Active Directory based on Microsoft Windows Server platform
- Migrate all mailboxes and calendars from Lotus Domino to Microsoft Exchange
- Migrate business applications to Microsoft SharePoint Server.
These migrations were to be part of a common solution that uses Microsoft Outlook as a general front end application providing access to corporate mail, business applications, and a variety of calendars (personal and team).
The primary requirement was to reproduce the same variety of business functions as the legacy system. Compared to Lotus, the Microsoft platform provides faster applications for the same workload, resulting in higher performance of the new system. The seamless compatibility of Microsoft SharePoint Server with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office gave additional possibilities for business process optimization.
IBA Group requested requirements for the applications earmarked for migration and performed technical analysis of the migration. The IBA team developed a number of applications on the analysis stage to demonstrate the customer the interface and functionality of the new applications on the new platform.
IBA performed migration in the following order:
- Development of business applications for SharePoint Server
- Scheduled migration of users from Lotus Domino Directory to Active Directory on Windows Domain Controller
- Scheduled migration of data in Lotus business applications to applications on SharePoint
- Migration of users' mailboxes, calendars, and address books to Microsoft Exchange.
IBA Group developed new applications in the new platform because Lotus code could not be automatically translated to C# or VB and the new platform had a different architecture. These applications were different in complexity, from simple team rooms that can be migrated in a couple of hours to complicated business process automation applications that might take up to two weeks to implement on a new platform.
To speed up the development process as much as possible, IBA Group used Microsoft SharePoint to implement the new applications. Windows Workflow Foundation was used to automate the defined business processes, including assignments and approvals.
Scheduled migrations were needed as a temporary solution to allow fresh information to reach new applications automatically, enabling the users to migrate to the new system on the fly at any desired time.
The customer received a high quality application that incorporated the latest technologies.
The new system provides a variety of new capabilities to the end users, including team calendars and team web workspaces that team managers can create from a template on the fly. The users no longer need to have separate logins for Windows and the corporate system. The Single Sign On technology allows them to access all authorized systems just after they log in to Windows. The new mailboxes provide more customization capabilities. For instance, the user can add a corporate application to the personal mailbox navigation bar and use this application as part of Microsoft Outlook. The new applications feed all data from Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, and other).
As the new system is web–based, the user just needs to have Internet Explorer to access most of the functionality. Even Outlook has a web–based version, which is hosted by Microsoft Exchange Server.
Scalability of the Microsoft application server and database server is a great benefit in administering the solution. Microsoft provides a high availability platform based on a “farm” approach. A farm can host separate applications on separate servers or the same applications with separate data on separate servers. If needed, administrators have a possibility to rearrange the infrastructure of the whole system and this will be transparent to the end users.