Have you ever wondered what options were available when migrating PST files with Enterprise Vault? There are a lot of different tools and products mentioned in any kind of PST migration discussion, at a high level. I’ve divided this article in to ways that you can do PST migration with Enterprise Vault on it’s own, followed by a section which describes some of the products that you can purchase to complement Enterprise Vault and enhance your PST Migration project.
Firstly then, the ‘in product’ methods for migrating PST files:
Enterprise Vault Locate and Migrate
Sometimes referred to as server driven migration, this option uses functionality on the Enterprise Vault server to locate domains, and then computers, and then PST files themselves. These PST files can be associated with users archives – sometimes automatically. It can take quite some time to scan domains for machines though because by default the locator task tries to contact each machine it finds in Active Directory. If the machine isn’t available on the network at the time of the scan (like many portable machines may not be) then the process has to pause to wait for the connection attempt to time out.
So this approach might be good if you are an organisation that has many desktop class machines, with fewer portable machines.
Enterprise Vault Client Driven Migration
As part of the Outlook Add-in there is the facility to mark PST files (this helps server driven migration as well), and if enabled the Outlook Add-in can also upload PST files from a users machine to a location on the Enterprise Vault server. This is done in chunks, and uses HTTP. There are mixed feelings in the community about the successfulness of a migration using this approach. It does have many benefits such as being able to do ‘chunks’ of data at a time, and it can work on active PST files too. There are a variety of configuration options that can be tweaked for this approach such as only migrating when users are in the office (ie not when they are connected over VPN). Sometimes this approach is too silent in that end-users don’t get to know what is happening, nor can they prioritise particular PST files, and if the upload is causing sluggishness for them, they don’t have a way of pausing the process.
This approach might be good if you are an organisation that has many laptop/portable machines.
Enterprise Vault Server Import
This is good if you have just a few PST files, and involves using the Vault Admin Console directly on the EV Server (though sometimes people implement a good approach of using Roles Based Administration and put this facility on to a workstation machine). It’s a simple approach of specifying the PST file, and the archive to associate it with (and a few bits of other information) and then away it goes.
This approach can be a good idea if you are an organisation that is migrating PST files geography by geography or department by department.
Enterprise Vault Scripted Migration
If you need to do some pre- or post-processing of PSTs you might opt to use Enterprise Vault Scripted Migration. This involves the command line tool Enterprise Vault Policy Manager (EVPM) and is also useful for bulk migrations of PST files, which you have previously collected in a central location.
Enterprise Vault Drag and Drop in to Virtual Vault
An approach which has gained some favour is the totally user driven approach of end-users being allowed to drag and drop data directly from a PST file (or files) in to Virtual Vault. If configured correctly this can periodically trigger a synchronisation to the Enterprise Vault server resulting in those items being archived, indexing, and then available as normal.
There are a series of white papers which will give you a lot more information on the Enterprise Vault side of the migration.. they are a little bit dated now, but still contain a vast amount of useful information. The links for them are:
Many organisations implement a combination of the different Enterprise Vault offered schemes for ingesting PST files. The tricky bit with that is reporting on the overall progress.
Those are the different options when it comes to using ‘In Product’ approaches to migrating PST files… but there are also some fantastic third party products such as:
QUADROtech PST FlightDeck
One of the QUADROtech flagship products is PST FlightDeck which has a vast array of migration possibilities. It is pretty much guaranteed that it’s possible for PST FlightDeck to fit your migration scenario, and there are many options to make it much more ‘user orientated’.. centring the migration around the users to a large extent.
More information is available here.
Another fantastic product is PST Accelerator. It too mixes the scanning for files and automatically figuring out who a particular file belongs to along with allowing administrators to control what goes where, and keeping users up to date and informed of what is happening. There is also scope for delegating some or all of the migration processes through an extensive roles based interface, PST Accelerator can also search across machines and network locations for PST files, and finally reporting and progress information on the migration is also well catered for.
Unfortunately there is no unique answer as it relies on many different things like cost, organisation structure, user feeling and so on. These third party tools also have many, many additional features and can also be used to migrate to Enterprise Vault from other archiving solutions, or even to other archiving solutions from Enterprise Vault, so that might also be worth considering.
Photo from: Stuart Miles