Powerful E-mail Archive Migration Solution

  • Migration of unlimited data volumes without compromising its integrity
  • Support for over 25 different archives, formats and storage platforms
  • Unmatched processing rates: extracting, converting and writing data at speeds over 1.5 GB per minute
Expertise
Business Intelligence
Verticals
ISV

Our Customer faced the need for migrating the existing legacy mail records into a new system. Iflexion brought the company through the process painlessly.

Calendar
8
Duration
Years
Gears
20
Team
People

Context

Our client, a leading global vendor specializing in e-mail archiving and PST content management, needed to retain its leadership in the market. The strategy was to launch a next-generation e-mail archive migration application. Offering both versatile platform support and a minimal to zero-defect risk of data loss or malicious tampering, this new product was designed for both their premium and mid-market clients. Iflexion’s technical expertise, backed by a proven track record in successful data migration solutions, combined with a clear vision of the project’s scope secured the successful bid.

Solution

This solution is a Windows-based platform designed as a client-server model which facilitates the secure migration of archived e-mail content to other archives and/or messaging platforms. Using this solution provides the user with a seamless, user-selected and audited bi-directional data transportation between over twenty-five (25) archive products. This is achieved without compromising any data integrity, while ensuring that the archive remains constantly accessible during the migration.

Functionality

The platform as delivered, facilitates direct migration of any e-mail archive data, while supporting the majority of commercially available e-mail archiving platforms, both in the cloud and on-site. The solution ensures proper workload distribution via the capability to grant user-specific access, which provides the user with the specific tools relevant for his tasks:

  • System administrators can set up migration properties, monitor progress, perform troubleshooting and contact our client’s technical support when necessary.
  • Managers monitor detailed audit reports generated by the system to meet the business and operational needs of the company.
  • Our client’s staff assists end users with migration by licensing their products, setting up the migration environment and consulting with them on their unique data migration requirements.

Rapid Processing Rates

The heart of the solution is a high-performance engine which uses the powerful Exchange Web Services API to automate the migration of archived e-mails. This multi-threaded engine creates a pipeline between almost any commercial provider's archive, Office 365 and Exchange. At processing speeds over 1.5 GB per minute, the engine promises an unequalled processing rate for the extraction, conversion and writing of data. The multi-server design provides for parallel operation of the platform’s servers, with no downgrading of performance and availability of the client’s services during migration.  

High Fidelity of Data

The scalability of the platform’s engine supports the migration of large data volumes without compromising data integrity. All items to be migrated are individually checked, then transferred via a failsafe workflow, eliminating any loss of data and any tampering risks. Every item is audited, in accordance with compliance requirements of end users for secure e-mail record retention. While the probability of item migration failure has been virtually eliminated, a set of analytical and reporting tools which can detect and troubleshoot potential issues has been built into the solution.

Flexible Migration

This application is not merely a bulk transfer solution; it offers intelligent data transfer by enabling the user to analyze the contents of the archive, profile them, then perform selective or complete record migration. Users are able to manage the lifecycle of their e-mail records by defining retention policies in line with their needs and any statutory requirements. Data cleansing and deduplication are supported; users are able to remove duplicates and also filter out any obsolete data by specifying maximum age, specific senders and recipients and the presence or absence of shortcuts/attachments. In addition, the platform provides end-users with specific tools for any legacy shortcut cleansing. All actions are auditable via detailed reports that provide traceability.

Zero User Impact

Maintaining user access to source e-mail archives during migration is crucial to ensure the continuity of the company’s workflow. Bearing that in mind, the Iflexion team designed the solution to read archived databases during their migration without altering any content or restricting end-user access, thus ensuring zero impact on user experience. Migration and the conversion are executed ‘on-the-fly’ without halting the source archiving service. This is achieved by running in a read-only mode for data gathering, its analysis and subsequent migration. However, users are still able to change shortcut preferences or delete unnecessary shortcuts. The application also allows for an ability to schedule migration and limit bandwidth usage so that performance and availability are not downgraded when network and operating system capacities are under pressure. Users can also maintain access to shared items post-migration whereas shortcuts are automatically converted to work with the new archive service. 

Versatile and Flexible Platform Support

When designing the application, it was recognized that customers in this market will have both legacy and new archive formats. As a result, the solution has been designed to integrate with the widest possible range of archive formats found in the industry. Over twenty-five (25) different archives, formats and storage platforms are supported for both data migration and shortcut management.

Development Process

The Iflexion team’s software engineering skills and technology competence were tested to their limits during the rescue of the client’s existing shortcut management tool. The latter was unstable due to poor coding quality and had various technical inefficiencies which were addressed by our team. Iflexion specialists revamped the legacy tool, removing any defects, and allowing it to work seamlessly with the environments that were supported. Initial results, which demonstrated the expertise of our dedicated team, gave the client the confidence to continue with the full-scale project implementation, using Iflexion's expert services.

Iflexion’s dedicated team has been working together with the client for over 10 years now. Initiated in 2006 as a result of the tender won by Iflexion, our collaboration has resulted in the initially delivered migration solution becoming one of the best platforms in the market, capable of powering the most demanding and complex e-mail archive and mailbox migration projects.

Initially, Iflexion specialists met with the client to identify core project requirements, technical design and features. Iflexion proposed a modular architecture, spiced up with a set of innovative shortcut conversion algorithms and an intuitively clear and friendly user interface. This innovative solution was reviewed and approved by the client. The team then proceeded with an agile, iterative development of the platform.

The chosen development framework was Scrum, which ensures that the client is kept informed and involved throughout product development. Scrum promotes the sharing of updates on progress and quality metrics and frequent inspections, with a review meeting being held at the end of each Sprint (iteration) where all stakeholders are informed about the progress. Adhering to Scrum methodology from a team perspective, Iflexion’s dedicated team holds frequent standup and backlog meetings with the use of burn down charts, retrospectives, and Sprint planning, which all prove to be highly effective given requirement fluctuations and new project development iterations. Our team runs a set of automated performance tests and utilizes a previously developed supplemental visual performance reporting tool which provides for a swift forecast and further management of the impact of new functionality on performance indicators. A wide range of Extreme Programming practices such as unit tests, continuous integration, pair code review and performance tests are applied, which, in turn, provides for further achievement of the client’s business goals and results in their complete satisfaction with the quality of the delivered solution.

Technologies

.NET is the primary technology framework used for the solution, together with .NET Remoting API used for the inter-process communications. All client UIs were built using WCF and .NET WinForms, and are based on components using Infragistics. SQL Server was used to build the database layer.

DevExpress, a comprehensive reporting suite was used for the reporting module, which enabled the creation of detailed and complex migration reports. The use of an Apache log4net library considerably simplified the application development process. The solution has been integrated with many archive systems, including, among others: EMC S1 API, HP Riss Query API, Symantec EV API, Centera, EAS API and Exchange Web Services.

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