Migrating from Notes Domino to Exchange 2003 using the Exchange Notes Connector


Prerequisites


Before you start your real-life migration you should create a testing environment. The best way for doing this is to clone your domain and the main Domino servers into a virtual services based environment. The purpose of this is not for implementing a test environment without any influence from the live network; but to get an environment which most closely resembles a real life environment. This gives you the possibility to be well prepared for the live migration.


As per knowledge base article 813772, the following releases are supported:



  • Notes Domino Server 6.0.3 and 6.5 or above on Windows Server 2003
  • Notes Domino Server R5 will only be supported on Windows 2000 Server

During the migration you will have to use a Notes Client on your connector server. There is lots of different information on the release that has to be used regarding the IBM or the Microsoft Knowledgebase. In my experience, Notes Client 5.0.10 is the best.


In addition to preparing your Notes environment, you should already have installed Exchange Server 2003 in your current Active Directory infrastructure. That means you should already have distributed the schema updates and deployed the new Exchange Server 2003 with its Service Pack 1. The best practice is now to add a dedicated Exchange Server 2003 as the connector server in your environment to give best performance. On this server you should install the Notes Connector for mail and directory synchronization purposes. If you want to have free-busy information being published during your migration you should have to install Exchange Calender Connector on this box too. Exchange Calender Connector will not be covered in this article but in an article in the near future.


Configuring the Notes Connector


To setup the Notes Connector on your Exchange Server 2003 Connector machine, you will have to select setup.exe from your Exchange-CD and then change the installation by adding the Exchange connector.




Figure 1: Installing the Microsoft Exchange Connector for Lotus Notes


After having successfully installed your connector you will have to configure it. If this is being done properly and the major step for realizing the synchronization is being done.


The following steps need to be done for a successful configuration:


General Configurations



  • Configure name resolution between Notes Domino and the Exchange Connector Server

Prepare your Domino Environment



  • Register a new person with administrative rights. If your security policy requires a password for each user, create an ID file and specify the password in the connector configuration
  • Prevent the new user from being synchronized to Active Directory
  • Grant Depositor rights to the server mailbox (mail.box)
  • Grant Editor rights to other Domino databases to allow Domino users to create DocLinks between documents. The Connector gives you the ability to convert them to: OLE objects, RTF attachments, or URL shortcuts
  • Identify Exchange as foreign domain

Prepare your Exchange Environment



  • Install and configure the Lotus Notes Client on your Exchange 2003 connector server
  • Enable Lotus Notes Domino Proxy Addresses for your users
  • Configure the Connector itself to collect all email from the exchange.box on your Domino Server to route them in your Exchange Environment
  • Wait for directory synchronization to occur (for emails check the windows eventlog)

After this has been done you should test mail routing between both environments using test emails.


How the Connector works


Directory Synchronization


The connector itself works quite easily. It just creates a list of the users in Active Directory and then checks the attribute “ImportedFrom”. This attribute is now set to the GUID of the connector. The DXA process then takes the dxamex.txt file and it is imported by attribute into the objects in Active Directory. If you have a look at each AD object that was created by the notes connector, you will notice a second proxy address of the type NOTES. This is populated with the UNID of that Notes user which was extracted from the user document. The IMPORTEDFROM attribute is set to the connector GUID that does not reflect the user itself.


Mailtransport




Figure 2: Mailtransport from Domino to Exchange


If any emails are being sent from the Domino environment to Exchange, Notes recognizes that this is a foreign email domain and puts each mail into the exchange.box file. The connector server itself monitors this database and each message that was put in there will be delivered to Exchange Server mailrouting services. This service now looks into Active Directory to transfer the message to the recipients’ mailbox itself.




Figure 3: Mailtransport from Exchange to Domino


If any email is being sent from Exchange to Domino, Exchange recognizes that the user has the Notes-specific attribute (including the connectors GUID). It sends the email to the connector who recognizes each new message and transfers it to the appropriate mailbox using the domino mailrouting processes.


Migration Mailboxes


After having successfully created an inter-system mail routing process using the Notes Connector, the next step is now the migration of each user to Exchange. This can be done quite easily using the Mailbox Migration Wizard of Exchange Server 2003. The wizard now has a close look at each object in AD – if need be, it puts contacts and user objects together and then migrates each entry of the users’ mailbox.


Final Steps


After a successful migration the only thing that now has to be done is removing the connector from your Exchange Server box and then removing the Exchange connector server itself, because it is not needed anymore.


For more information have a look at:



http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/guides/e2k3InterOpMig/f6bce4aa-0967-4ca2-b5a3-fce6843b10c1.mspx


http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/guides/e2k3InterOpMig/31703ce5-0bca-4c43-aec2-ab242fe0fcfa.mspx


Conclusion


With the Exchange Notes Connector, Microsoft provides a smart way to migrate from Notes Domino to Exchange Server 2003 without any critical problems. You really do not need any 3rd party tools either. You should only think of them if this process is not the best for your environment and you want to add other features like automatically importing the local names.nsf of each Notes user to contacts or things like this.


For further information or questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

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