The solution

To ensure a smooth transition to the cloud, EPMG enlisted Data Networks, a Microsoft Gold Partner, to manage the project and provide hands-on professional services throughout the migration process. EPMG chose the team at Data Networks because of its experience with successfully completing Office 365 and mailbox migration initiatives for a number of other clients and its demonstrated proficiency in the migration of Enterprise Vault-based email archives.

Data Networks created a comprehensive migration plan around specific milestones to be achieved: 1) set up EPMG’s new Office 365 accounts and synchronize them with EPMG’s Active Directory database; 2) migrate the mailboxes and archives; and 3) transfer knowledge. The finished solution would be Office 365 email and other applications used by both headquarters and remote users connected via Active Directory to Exchange Online mailboxes and archives.

Data Networks used its proprietary Migration Preparedness Checklist to ensure the EPMG environment was ready for its Office 365 transition. Each end user was mapped to a specific license and based on the user-license relationships, Data Networks engineers then created all of the required Office 365 user accounts and correctly synchronized them with Active Directory. Data Networks used QUADROtech applications to accelerate the mailbox and archive migrations – ArchiveShuttle for the archived email and MailboxShuttle for the “live” mailbox email. As explained by Chuck Kiessling, Solutions Architect for Data Center Optimization at Data Networks, “As with all partner technology, our engineers immerse themselves in QUADROtech’s ‘Shuttle’ products and stay current and proficient in all supported versions and their features, ensuring that we can design and execute migrations under virtually all conditions.”

Data Networks transferred more than 600 GB of email archives and performed the live email migration in “cutover” fashion. EPMG organization-wide email services were shut down at the close of business on a Friday and the engineers then migrated all mailbox email and tested several user accounts for their license assignment accuracy and proper email flow during the weekend. By Monday morning, all users started to take immediate advantage of the new Office 365. Data Networks engineers then met with the EPMG IT team to transfer all essential information including the solution’s key features, technical specifications, and user settings.

Mission accomplished

With an always-current, high-availability messaging and Office applications platform now securely residing in the cloud, EPMG is reaping immediate and long-term benefits. According to Daniels, the new Office 365 solution is much easier for EPMG IT staff to maintain and it provides much more responsive archiving and disaster recovery processes. He reports significant improvements in day-to-day mailbox performance and the email archiving process and confirms that the Office 365 mobile device and application management platform provides outstanding support for EPMG’s ever-changing smartphone and tablet device usage in the field.

“We absolutely made the correct decision in hiring Data Networks,” says Jeff Daniels, EPMG Network Engineer. “Our user community wasn’t disrupted during the migration process and now everyone is enjoying the benefits of Office 365. The team at Data Networks is experienced, communicative, and responsive… we’re happy to have them as our technology partner.”

Click here to view the PDF version of the Implementing Office 365 for Emergency Physicians Medical Group case study.