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GCN : April 2013
[BrieFing] The sheer size of legacy mailboxes at the Environmental Protection Agency --- some of them with more than a million messages in them --- threatened the agency's transition to Of ce 365, Mi- crosoft's cloud-based collaboration and communication service. EPA discovered the hitch as they worked with Lockheed Martin and Micro- soft to move 25,000 employee mailboxes to Microsoft Of ce 365 for Government. "EPA wanted an extremely aggressive migration schedule," said Lynn Single- ton, director of environment services for Lockheed Martin. "I don't know if they understood what they were really asking for when it came to the amount of work that had to occur over the relatively short amount of time," she said. EPA brought in Lockheed Martin in September 2012 and wanted the primary migration to be completed by early 2013. Migration work was completed over the Presidents' Day holiday weekend in February, Singleton said. The move to Of ce 365 is expected to save the EPA approximately $12 million over the four- year contract period. EPA managers had done a lot of work to prepare for the migration, performing outreach to make the employees aware of the transition and dealing with gover- nance issues. But an unexpected hurdle was the size of many of the mailboxes that needed to be moved, which forced EPA and Lockheed to rethink how to approach the migration midway through the project. For 15 years, EPA employees had used IBM Lotus Notes as an enterprise e-mail system. The agency didn't have a size limit on mailboxes to trigger purg- ing or archiving of information. Some of the larger mailboxes had over a million objects in them. In all, the mailboxes con- tained a very large universe of informa- tion, representing about 90 terabytes of data, Singleton said. The Lockheed team initially broke up the mailboxes into size categories --- small, medium, large and enormous --- and began to clean them out and archive material. There were about 700 to 1,200 "enormous" mailboxes, and some mail- boxes could not be migrated because they were corrupted due to large attach- ments or other issues. In addition to e-mail, the migration involved other mail-related components such as the movement of calendars, rooms and resources, address groups, databases as well as about 4,500 Black- Berry cell phones. Moving e-mail groups adds more complexity to the equation because of "nesting," or groups within groups. "So we had 16,800 groups to migrate," Singleton said. "We did a lot of piloting," he said. The testing prepared Lockheed to begin what Singleton calls "differential migration," in which the IT team took a large number of mailboxes --- initially around 12,000 --- and migrated them into the multitenant cloud with 15 days of mail. The team then moved the remaining mailboxes with 15 days of e-mail without turning the service on. This allowed the team to check the mailboxes for prob- lems before Presidents' Day weekend. This approach cut down on the quanti- ty of mail that had to be migrated and the "pre-touching of things made the main migration more predictable," Singleton said. "That was responsible in large part for our success." For agencies with aggressive sched- ules to transition e-mail to the cloud, Singleton advises managers to be aware that the actual migration might be far more complex than originally envisioned. Do not view the move to cloud comput- ing as just a commodity bid, he said. Take into account that there are related business practices, engineering and technical work and processes that must be addressed for a successful migration. Often, agency managers don't realize the amount of work involved in getting ready for the transition to the cloud, he noted.• Million-message mailboxes complicate EPA's move to Office 365 BY RUTRELL YASIN 8 GCN APRIL 2013 • GCN.COM 25,000 EPA mailboxes to move to Microsoft 365 16,800 Email groups to migrate 4,500 BlackBerry mobile phones 12 million Expected savings, in dollars, over four-year contract 1 million Number of objects in some individual mailboxes 90 Terabytes of data in migrating systems EPA e-mail migration by the numbers