Moving from Microsoft Exchange Environment to Google Apps


A number of ways are available for uploading data from an existing mail system to Google Apps. This article highlights the tools available for migrating from Microsoft exchange to google apps.
The migration of data from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps can be performed by an administrator or, alternatively, by users themselves. The administrators' tools perform batch processes. Users' tools on the other hand, can only upload data for one user at a time, namely the data of the user actually running the tool. For administrators, the standard tool for mail migration is Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange.

On the user side, the most complete tool remains Google Apps Sync for Microsoft. There are alternative solutions too, such as Google Email Uploader or Mail Fetcher.
Administrator tools
The solution developed by Google that allows migration from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps is named Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange.
The tool installs on the desktop of an Exchange administrator and is used as follows:
·         Fetch the list of users to migrate by importing a CSV file containing the appropriate information
·         Use the administrator's credentials to access the content of the Exchange server for each of the users defined in the CSV file
·         Fetch the messages, contacts, and calendar events, as requested
·         Convert the messages to the MIME format and upload the message to the associated Google account via HTTP
It is worthy of note that the process handles several accounts simultaneously and that the data is imported into the account from the most recent to the oldest item.
The illustration below shows the working principle for Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange

User tools
There are several applications that allow the migration of messages directly from a Microsoft Exchange mail system to Gmail:
·         Google Apps Sync: This is the preferred tool when users are performing the migration. However, it requires Microsoft Outlook version 2003 or later, on which it installs as a plugin. The tool performs the migration of messages, calendar events, and contacts in one shot. It is able to extract data both from the local archive (.pst file) and from the Exchange server. Provided users download the plugin themselves, the workload for the administrator will remain very limited. The solution also offers the possibility to keep Outlook as the mail client and guarantees a thorough synchronization with the Google suite. with attachments larger than 20 Mb are not taken into account, importing journal    entries, and Outlook tasks are, so far, not supported.
·         Google Email Uploader is the preferred tool in those cases not covered by Google Apps Sync, especially if the version of Outlook is old or when only another mail client, such as Outlook Express or Mozilla Thunderbird, is used. However, situations where an Exchange mail server is used but Outlook is unavailable on the user desktop are rather uncommon. This tool handles the importation of messages into Google. The tool runs on the user desktop and also handles the contacts and preserves folder structure. Let us note that the tool is Open Source (Apache 2.0 Open-Source Software license).
·         Google Mail Fetcher is a minimal fallback solution that exploits the standard and most basic mail protocol, namely: POP. This protocol is supported by any current mail solution and could thus be useful when Exchange is not used.

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