Smooth Messaging Migrations Require Transparency and Full Fidelity

Messaging migrations need to minimize disruptions for the users by making the process as transparent as possible. The user's information should arrive in the new system with maximum fidelity -- meaning that it looks and performs just like the previous system.

Deploying a new system with few changes eases the user's fear factor, reduces training costs, and shortens the implementation phase. Messaging vendors are recognizing the benefits of smooth migrations and are building transparency into their product offerings. For example, Scalix uses TNEF (Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format) to communicate with an Exchange server. Scalix mimics the Exchange server's data format in order to achieve interoperability and coexistence during the migration process.

Smooth migrations call for the following hallmarks of transparency, coexistence, and fidelity:

  • Familiar look and feel of the email client
  • Messages retain Rich Text -- no funny control characters
  • Ability to reply to old messages
  • Same content in user's mailbox, calendar, contacts, notes, and tasks
  • Same public and personal folder structure
  • Same personal distribution lists
  • Same public directory, calendars, and distribution lists
  • Same client- and server-side rules
  • Same network service configurations

... Nancy Cox, with thanks to Ata Rasekhi of Scalix (editor: Richi Jennings)

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