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

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Exchange Server with 0 Comments

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

Within the past lots of companies used Notes Domino Server as their primary messaging platform but with the release of Exchange Server 2003 a lot of them are thinking of migrating to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and the best way how to realize this plan. There are a lot of 3rd party vendors selling migration tools from Notes to Exchange but only few of them really having their own tool, a lot of these tools are add-ons relying on the Exchange Notes Connector. This means you should have great knowledge how it works and how it has to be configured. Within this article you will get a deep drill-down on the step-by-step migration process using the origin connector.

Note: This article is published with permission from www.msexchange.org

Prerequisites

Before you should start your real-life migration you should create a testing environment. The best way doing this is to clone your domain and the main Domino servers into a virtual services based environment. The purpose of this is not implementing a test environment without any influence from the live network; with this way you will get an environment most closely to the real world. This gives you the possibility to have a good chance 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 are lots of different information on the release that has to be used regarding the IBM or the Microsoft Knowledgebase. My experiences are best with Notes Client 5.0.10.

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 serve 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 Calendar Connector on this box, too. Exchange Calendar 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 call setup.exe from your Exchange-CD and then change the installation by adding the Exchange connector.

After having successfully installed your connector you will have to configure it. If that 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.

a) General Configurations

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

b) Prepare your Domino Environment

  • Register a new person with administrative rights. If your security policy requires an 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

c) 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 event log)

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

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How the Connector works

a) Directory Synchronization

The connector itself works quite easily. It just creates a list of the users in Active Directory and now 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 person document. The IMPORTEDFROM attribute is set to the connector GUID that does not reflect the user ifself.

b) Mailtransport

If any emails are being send 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.

If any email is being send from Exchange to Domino, Exchange recognizes that the user has the Notes-specific attributes (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 mail routing processes.

Migration Mailboxes

After having successfully created a 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 to each object in AD – if needed puts contacts and user objects together and then migrates each entries of the users’ mailbox.

Final Steps

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

Author Bio

Markus Klein is a MCSA/MCSE Messaging & Security and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He is working as Consultant and IT Senior Trainer at Bechtle AG in the northwest of Germany. He is specialized in Active Directory, Exchange, Security, ISA Server and Clustering on Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 designs, migrations and implementations. Markus is a graduate on economical informatics from the University of Applied Science in Osnabrueck/Germany.

Note: This article is published with permission from www.msexchange.org

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