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Content Migration: The What, Where and How

Friday, June 06, 2014

Posted by Vadim Gringolts, CTO at BinaryTree

When you make the decision to migrate your users’ email, you want to make sure that each user is attached to all of the content that they own. If you ask a user what’s important, the answer is everything—even deleted items! So how can you possibly continue preserving every user’s entire content library? That could be giga - or terabytes’ worth of data!

Today, most clouds offer a very large allotment of disk space; however, there are always limitations and some good reasons for transitioning or retiring legacy content. Two major considerations regarding content are Office 365 does not support large attachments over 25MB in size, and it may not be as easy as you would think to “search” though a large mailbox.


A lot of enterprises are beginning to think about what, where and how content should be transitioned. We advise our clients to categorize content as follows:

  1. Corporate current (content that is valuable to the entire corporation)
  2. Corporate legacy (content that is no longer current)
  3. Personal legacy (content that is important to a user, but not the entire organisation)

More and more, the distinction between a personal mailbox and a corporate mailbox is becoming blurred. After all, most of us use email 24x7, and some of us use the same mailbox for business and personal use. This makes the decision about where to place content even more important. For your end user base, you should consider limiting or filtering out content based on your organization’s guidelines for data storage. For instance, large attachments should likely be in saved in a document management system, not in email.


How might you make the decision regarding migration of the entire mailbox vs. conducting a filtered migration? You could migrate some legacy content or larger attachments to an archive, and/or delete outdated content. A best practice we at Binary Tree champion is to move content to a personal archive and give your users a timeframe and instructions for filtering prior to a sweeping deletion.


Ultimately, there’s a trade-off between efficiency and transparency. Is it really necessary to limit the amount of data migrated? If you retire or archive some content, the transition may take longer, but the disruption is minimised. Should you trade off longer search times for fewer support calls about concerned users trying to find their “missing” content? The ultimate decision is up to the corporation; however, Binary Tree is always available to help you with these decisions and offer guidance.


Bottom Line:

This concludes Binary Tree’s series on our Best Practices for Migration. In past blog posts, we covered key decision points, including: Interoperability, Analysis & Rationalisation, User Transition, and now Content Migration. Our intent was to provide you with some guidelines for messaging migration, based on our experience having enabled more than 6,000 customers to migrate more than 30 million email users, and facilitating some of the most complex migrations on the planet.