Today, we are going to dig deep into email migrations and DirSync for Office 365. If you are a corporate CIO or CTO (or any other decision maker in the IT world) and are trying to figure out which direction to take your company’s cloud resources, this blog will be a page turner.
Email-Annie has this!
Working with Annie, a top guru among email migration professionals, has been exciting mostly because Annie is well-known for diving into the unknown, and mixing it up to get better results.
Our adventures with Email-Annie have taught the team many lessons. For example, we will never again perform a migration in the eye of a hurricane. Or attempt a migration from a cell phone while driving down a dark and twisty road. Or underestimate the power of a slow and steady migration versus a fast and bouncy one. But, by far, the most important lesson we have learned to date is to never, ever attempt to shoehorn a customer into a one-size-fits-all migration solution.
Yes, I admit we were once young and a bit reckless. But now that we are all grown up and trusted by entities far larger than one could ever imagine (or that we could ever speak about), it’s time for us to be mentors and role models.
On this new blog, we will be sharing some of our adventures with you, our fellow IT professionals and peers. Hopefully, we’ll help you avoid some of those dark places — the ones we ventured into, and learned the hard way how difficult it can be to climb out of. We’ll also share some of our happy places… those terrific finds that we discovered just by being curious, and have now become part of our lexicon and work.
Let’s get down to the email migrations and DirSync part of this blog
As I indicated earlier, if you are a corporate CIO, CTO or any other decision maker in the IT world, your approach to a server-based migration is critical because it can, and will, affect the day-to-day life of your professional staff. You will always want to implement a solution based on the specific demographics of your firm. After all, you and your colleagues will have to live with the result, and you really don’t want to roll back a migration once it’s in place (it’s an ugly mess!).
Because there are too many decisions to be made within a server-based migration to discuss in just one blog, we thought it best to start with one example. And while it may seem simple from the outside, DirSync coupled with email migrations carry big consequences once you look deeper.
Let’s say a CIO and his team came to us for a server-based email migration project. We would first tell them how happy it makes us that we were chosen to do the work. Then we would tell them that we can perform their migration in one of two ways:
- One with DirSync
- One without DirSync
Sounds like an easy decision, right? Well, it’s not that simple and here’s why…
What is DirSync?
DirSync is a tool or service that takes Active Directory objects (like accounts, security groups, contacts, and distribution groups) from source A, and makes copies of those objects to source B (like the Azure Microsoft Office 365 Cloud).
Why should we use DirSync?
The benefit of deploying DirSync as part of a migration project is that your users won’t have to keep track of several sets of login credentials in order to access various applications in different environments. These environments can be anything from an on-premise email server, databases, network printers, any local resources, to any cloud-based services like Office 365, Gmail or other hosted platforms.
One log-in for everything keeps it simple for support (and the poor end users who can never seem to remember their passwords!).
What is the main downside of DirSync?
There are so many benefits of DirSync, that the downside can seem remote until it happens to you. For example, if you want to put DirSync on your Active Directory, the advantage of a single point of entry could also turn into a single point of failure. This is especially true when DirSync is connected to cloud resources, which typically have high availability (global redundancy). You really don’t want to interrupt the workflow of your users!
Bottom line: When someone logs in during a power outage, for example, and wants their email password changed, they would not be able to successfully update their password for all resources. This is a direct result of choosing DirSync. On the one hand, DirSync provides easier access for the end user. On the other hand, getting locked out of everything (including your workstation) can get pretty darn uncomfortable. It’s a tradeoff.
Who should not use DirSync?
Firms that don’t have in-house IT staff will probably not be comfortable supporting DirSync for the long term. We recommend firms with at least 100 users and a few full-time IT staff to support any issues that arise. Also, if all your user accounts are set to “never expire”, a DirSync is unnecessary for administration (it’s an extra cost, too!).
What is Dirsync NOT?
Dirsync is NOT an email migration utility. DirSync is for server or cloud-based object access, and only handles objects like those mentioned earlier. DirSync won’t migrate server applications like data in a mailbox, data in Google Docs, data in Word files, etc.
Can I always choose Dirsync?
Of course you can!… Unless Annie of Cloud Advantage says you can’t!
In our upcoming blogs, we will discuss…
- Is email migrations and DirSync secure?
- How hard is it to implement a DirSync?
- Are there any other disadvantages down the road if I decide to do email migrations and DirSync?
- Cool new Office 365 features
- Under what circumstances will I get a DirSync mismatch error?
- How do I run a DirSync with Office 365?
- Why can’t I enable a license for Office 365?
- Issues with Microsoft native tools and why we don’t usually use them
- How to get the most out of your Office 365 online training program
- And many more!
Learn more about email migration and DirSync at Cloud Advantage, our parent company specializing in email migrations without archiving.