As we come to the end of our server transition, here are some lessons learned:
– There was much less actual downtime than anticipated. Richard B. had to down the servers only when migrating data, but then he could bring the old servers back up again and test the data on the new servers.
– My attempts to promise a specific day for the cutover were defeated, twice. It would have been better to have told users that the new network would be in place when they saw it in place.
– The new web server was a useful place to post status announcements even while I was building it out. I had thought the entire server would be out of commission for much longer.
– Winter break was the best time to do this transition all year. It was quieter here than at any time during the summer, and users will return gradually over the next week and a half.
– The only big obstacle was the mass migrating of Exchange server accounts from one server to the other. The export utility worked fine, but the import failed. However, since the export creates an individual PST file for each user, it should not be a problem to import them into the new mail accounts individually or to provide users with instructions to import their own PST files if they so desire.
– AD Infinitum has been an essential tool, creating all AD accounts and generating secure, initial passwords for the new accounts on the fly. It’s a great deal for $100.