Given the increasing popularity of cloud computing, it is inevitable that SMBs are turning to cloud computing. Of course, while I would never advocate moving to the clouds for the sake of doing it, barriers do exist for SMBs that have determined they want to shift to the clouds.
Think about it: Just how is a small and medium business supposed to move its existing e-mails from an Exchange or IMAP server to a cloud-based e-mail hosting service, for example? Well, it does appear that Rackspace US has a solution for this. To help companies migrate into the clouds, Rackspace offers a self-service option to move the e-mails off existing e-mail servers into either Rackspace Email or its Microsoft Exchange messaging platforms.
Without any of the usual fanfare or even a press release, Cameron Nouri of Rackspace announced the launch of the company's Migration App service in a blog entry last week. According to Nouri, the highlight of the Migration App would be its ability to automatically migrate from Microsoft Exchange, POP or IMAP servers.
I watched the corresponding video in the blog and the migration process appears to be simple enough. Account details are first of all fed into the Web interface through the use of a CSV template file that is uploaded into its system, which I imagine will contain the server address, user names and passwords. Once completed, it is possible to specify a predetermined date and time for the move, such as over a weekend, after office hours or a public holiday.
Viola! That's all. No further input from the user is required, even when the actual migration starts. E-mails should simply start to flow automatically, and the administrator has the option to receive e-mail alerts to track the progress of the migration process, as well as review the migration status at any time.
Pat Matthews, co-founder of Rackspace Email & Apps summed up the reason why Rackspace created the Migration App, saying, "Migrations should never be a barrier for customers to choose the service that best meets their needs, and no vendor should be able to hold unsatisfied customers hostage because a migration would be too complex or costly."
So what if your SMB's setup has special or advanced requirements and requires a custom migration? Rackspace offers assurance that it has a dedicated transition team on hand to "build a custom migration plan and manage the entire process."
A quick disclaimer, though, that while I watched the video, I have not actually done a migration and so cannot comment on the reliability or experience with it. Also, because this first version of the Migration App only focuses on e-mail, other aspects of your Exchange mailbox -- such as notes, to-do lists, calendar entries, and contacts -- will not be migrated.
Considering moving your e-mail server to the clouds or have recently done so? I look forward to hearing about your challenges and experiences.