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Migrating to Novell GroupWise from Microsoft Exchange Guide

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Posted: 26 Aug 2004

Contemplating an Upgrade?

If you are one of the many organizations contemplating an upgrade from earlier versions of Microsoft* Exchange, don't just settle for something more current?migrate to something better. Novell? GroupWise? delivers mail and collaboration with superior security and reliability for a lower total cost of ownership. Plus, GroupWise gives you flexibility with a choice of operating systems (Linux*, Windows* or NetWare?) and a wide range of access options, including Web clients and mobile devices.

This migration guide summarizes the advantages of Novell GroupWise over current versions of Microsoft Exchange and outlines the simple process of migrating existing message stores with calendar items and distribution lists to create a Novell GroupWise solution.

GroupWise vs. Exchange

The major advantages of moving to Novell GroupWise include ease of management, cost, flexibility, security and the Microsoft factor. While a detailed analysis is beyond the scope of this guide, a summary of these advantages is as follows:

Ease of Management

Novell GroupWise management based on Novell eDirectory? makes it possible to easily organize and manage users and groups across organizational and geographical boundaries as well as across system types (such as GroupWise and Exchange). Crossplatform (Windows, Linux, NetWare) management is simplified for administrators with common control and monitoring interfaces. Typical Exchange user to administrator ratios are between 50 to one and 500 to one for Exchange as compared to 10,000 to one for GroupWise.


Due to Microsoft licensing restrictions and application/operating system compatibilities, upgrading to get complete Exchange functionality can be very expensive. Upgrading via the Microsoft route requires you to upgrade not just Exchange but also Windows and Active Directory*. Depending on your existing licensing arrangements, this can be very costly. Microsoft requires licenses for both servers and users while GroupWise is only licensed per user. Independent research indicates the cost to upgrade Exchange averages $400 per user as compared to $120 to $140 to migrate from Exchange to GroupWise.


Novell GroupWise allows for staged migration while accommodating multiple existing versions of Exchange. A migration can take place at a slow, incremental pace or all at once if desired. In addition, GroupWise is platform independent, allowing you to deploy on Windows, Linux or NetWare operating systems?or any combination of these platforms?while using common and consistent management and monitoring interfaces. GroupWise also includes features such as document management which is not available in Exchange.


Due to architectural design differences, such as Visual Basic hooks, Exchange is more susceptible to security attacks than GroupWise. When common viruses such as Melissa, Code Red and Nimda attack Exchange installations, the resulting downtime ranges from one to four days, while GroupWise installations are virtually unaffected.

Microsoft Factor

Microsoft's ?lock-in' strategy simultaneously limits choice and controls features. Key collaboration technologies such as instant messaging were removed from Exchange 2003. At the same time, licensing and compatibility options became more restrictive. Microsoft applies constant pressure on organizations to become ?Microsoft-only shops.?

Planning Your Exchange to GroupWise Migration

With a migration from Exchange to GroupWise, there are several factors that will determine your migration strategy and configuration options. Your options will depend largely upon your existing system configuration is and what your intermediate and/or final system configuration. Here is a list of configuration questions that you need should consider as you plan your migration strategy.

Existing Configuration Consideration

Where is existing data stored?

Messages and Exchange content?such as appointments, contacts, tasks and notes? are stored in two possible locations: the Exchange Message Store, a central data repository often located on the Exchange server, or in PST files. A PST file is a ?personal folders? file that is unique to each user and stored either locally on the workstation or on the network in the user's personal file area. Exchange content that is stored in the Exchange Message Store can be migrated all at once in a single operation. With PST files, the location of each local PST file must be specified in order to move each user's content.

The remainder of this document will discuss migrating the Exchange Message Store. However, if end-users have PST files and want to import them into their GroupWise Archive they can do so using the GroupWise Import Utility for Microsoft Outlook.

New Configuration Considerations

Will the new configuration be mixed or homogeneous?

You must determine whether the new configuration will include only GroupWise with all information from Exchange transferred to the new GroupWise server, or whether Exchange will remain part of the configuration. Often, large sites do not have the luxury of converting everything at once and must stage a migration with coexistence between old and new systems.

A couple of options exist for mixed environments. First, the Exchange server may remain ?frozen? in place with users having access to old messages but all new messages after the switch accessible through the GroupWise system. Second, you may have the need for the Exchange and GroupWise systems to coexist, sending and receiving internal messages between systems and sharing user directories. In this case, a synchronization utility such as the GroupWise Exchange Gateway is required.

Is this configuration permanent or temporary?

A mixed configuration may be necessary while all systems and locations are migrated to GroupWise. Or, you may need both systems to coexist on an ongoing basis to accommodate company acquisitions or mergers. If the configuration is temporary, an Exchange read-only solution might be optimal. If the configuration is permanently mixed, the GroupWise Exchange Gateway will be required. Whether it is a temporary or permanent configuration the Administrator must remove the Exchange mailboxes of migrated users or manually forward them to the new GroupWise account. Failing that, all new mail received by the Exchange mailbox will not be automatically sent to the migrated GroupWise user.

Where will message data reside?

In a complete GroupWise migration, all data resides in the GroupWise data store. In a partial or permanently mixed configuration, message data should exist in both systems to keep them current and compatible.

What will be the e-mail client?

With GroupWise, users have multiple options for accessing their e-mail, and the client(s), use may impact your migration strategy. Exchange supports Microsoft Outlook* and Outlook Express. GroupWise supports the feature-rich GroupWise Windows Client, the GroupWise Cross-Platform Client for Linux and Macintosh*, plus GroupWise WebAccess for mail management using a standard browser or mobile devices. You may opt to continue using Outlook to avoid training and user support. Or, you may implement GroupWise clients and Outlook in combination. Novell ZENworks? provides options for pushing new mail client software to the desktop.

What role will users play in migration?

Users may play a major or modest role in helping you migrate. If message content is stored in PST files, users may need to locate these for you or place them on a network drive. Users can also decrease the migration workload by deleting nonbusiness- related files, emptying ?Deleted Items? folders and generally cleaning up message stores. Users may also be required to install new client software or learn a new client or Web interface.

Migration Options

There are generally two available migration options. The first method is a direct cutover or single-shot transfer, where everything is migrated from Exchange to GroupWise at once. All message content is transferred to the target GroupWise server and user directories and clients are all put in place. One advantage to this method is that the old system is still in place and rollback is possible if necessary. After migration only administration of the new system is required. The disadvantage is that a single-shot migration usually requires significant downtime to transfer the message store, redirect or reconnect the Internet, and to implement new client access.

The second method is a staged migration where the new system is implemented in phases based on location or organization. The advantages to this method are that you can more easily accommodate multiple sites. The migration is incremental with more time to train users and less load on the help desk. The disadvantages are that rollback is harder, both systems must continue to be managed and a gateway must be implemented with manual methods established to keep directories, distribution lists and public folders synchronized.


It is helpful to understand the commonalities and differences between the GroupWise and Exchange architectures before migrating. While both systems support e-mail, calendaring, resource scheduling and personal management, there are differences in how this information is stored and managed. The following chart summarizes architecture components:

GroupWise Exchange Description/Differences
Domain Site The organizational ?realm? of a particular mail system. Each may include multiple segments or subgroups. Often organized geographically. Migration is not performed at this level.
Post Office?a collection of files and databases that define users' mailbox files Server?a particular machine which contains the Exchange mailbox databases Both Exchange Servers and GroupWise Post Offices are often sized for manageability. Migration is usually performed at this level.
MTA (Message Transfer Agent)? delivers messages between post offices and gateways MTA Service?handles message delivery In both solutions, MTA transfers messages between systems.
POA (Post Office Agent)?process that updates user mailboxes on a Post Office Information Store Service?a service that handles requests to Exchange message databases Both update message stores even though the message stores are architecturally different.
GroupWise Archive?allows GroupWise Client to download messages from post office and store them locally Personal Information Store (.pst)? Exchange messages downloaded from the server, stored locally and readable by Outlook Both solutions provide for local storage and access of messages.
Shared Folders?GroupWise Mailbox items that can be accessed by multiple users Public Folders?hold documents or posts; visible by multiple users Similar function (shared content) but different architecture?GroupWise message store versus Windows public file folders.

The Exchange to GroupWise migration process documented hereafter basically converts everything from the Exchange system to a GroupWise.

The Migration Process

After completing the migration planning, you are ready to begin the process of transferring users and message content from Exchange to GroupWise. A key component of the migration process will be the GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange which runs on a Windows client workstation.

The GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange allows you to migrate at once, simultaneously logs errors and corrects them. It is non-intrusive to Exchange and leaves all content on the original server.

A standard migration process should include the following steps:

  1. Prepare Exchange Message Content

    User Preparation?As mentioned above, users can messages, cleaning out ?Deleted Items? and discarding unused directories. Notifying users of the impending migration and requesting that they discard all irrelevant and unnecessary messages will significantly reduce the quantity of messages that must be transferred.

    Message Store Preparation?Two Exchange utilities will help minimize potential data corruption: ISInteg and ESEUtil. ISInteg will search Exchange messages, making sure they are consistent. Repeatedly run this utility until no errors are found. For additional information about how to use the ISInteg utility, see the Isinteg.doc file that is located on the Exchange Server CD in the \SERVER\SUPPORT\UTILS folder.

    The ESEUtil utility defragments the Exchange message store making data more compact and accelerating migration. ESEUtil is located in the Winnt\System32 folder in Exchange Server 5.5 and in the Exchsrvr/Bin folder in Exchange 2000. The utility can run on one database at a time from the command line.

  2. Install Novell eDirectory

    Novell GroupWise is administered using Novell eDirectory and ConsoleOne?. Novell eDirectory provides strong security and powerful management for administering e-mail users in conjunction with other network services. Both eDirectory and ConsoleOne must be installed and available in the network where your GroupWise deployment will exist. The platform flexible architecture of Novell allows you to configure eDirectory on Linux, NetWare or Windows. For complete documentation on installing eDirectory on each of these platforms, see: edir873/index.html

    Note: To manage GroupWise using ConsoleOne on Windows and NetWare, the ConsoleOne software with GroupWise ?snapins? or special modules for managing GroupWise can reside either on local workstation or on the server. For Linux, ConsoleOne must already be installed before installing GroupWise and located in the /usr/ConsoleOne directory. GroupWise modifies ConsoleOne to include these ?snapins.?

  3. Prepare GroupWise

    If you already have Novell GroupWise implemented in your organization you can continue to the next section on ?Creating Users in GroupWise.? However, if you will be implementing GroupWise for the first time or if you will be migrating to a new GroupWise server, you will need to install and configure GroupWise first.

    Novell GroupWise provides you flexible implementation options. GroupWise will run on standard operating systems such as Linux (SUSE? and Red Hat), NetWare and Microsoft Windows. You also have the option of configuring GroupWise Post Office Agents (POAs), Message Transfer Agents (MTAs) and eDirectory on the same server or multiple servers in one or multiple locations. For complete instructions on installing and configuring GroupWise on each platform, see the documentation at index.html.

Supported GroupWise platforms include:

Platform Versions Supported Installation Guidelines
NetWare NetWare 4.2, NetWare 5.1 or NetWare 6.x, plus the latest Support Pack for your version of NetWare When installing the NetWare agents, we recommend you use the sys:\system directory on the NetWare server. This simplifies the use of startup files and ensures that the agent NLM programs are in the server's search path. NetWare 6.5 includes ?pattern? installations that automatically install and optimize a new server running GroupWise.
Linux SUSE Linux Standard Server 8, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, Red Hat* Enterprise Linux 3 ES or Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS The Linux agents are automatically installed to the bin and lib subdirectories under /opt/novell/ groupwise/agents. Do not move the agent software to a different location on Linux.
Windows Windows NT* Server or Windows 2000/2003 Server, plus the latest Service Pack for your version of Windows The default installation directory is c:\grpwise. However, you can install the agents to any directory you want. We recommend not running virus-scanning software unless file and print services are also running. Also, IIS is not required and not running it will minimize your intrusion risk.

The following GroupWise agents are installed as part of a full GroupWise server implementation:

Agent Function
Post Office Agent (POA) Connects mailboxes and sends messages inside of a post office
Message Transfer Agent (MTA) Routes messages between post offices and domains and synchronizes changes with Novell eDirectory
Internet Agent Connects a GroupWise system to the Internet so that messages can be sent and received, internally and externally, using the Internet as a communications infrastructure
WebAccess Agent Provides access to mailboxes through a Web browser or wireless device
Monitor Agent Provides administrative monitoring of the GroupWise agents
Messenger Provides instant messaging capabilities
    Since messaging is always part of the outward face of an organization, it is recommended that you select fast and reliable hardware so that downtime and sluggishness is minimized eliminated. Higher speeds for disk and memory access can be achieved using RAID0+1 and Level 2 Cache. RAID0+1 provides mirrored drives for secure, redundant data protection while still providing high-speed access. L2 cache and the maximum amount of memory can increase file access and overall performance by more than 10 percent.

    Novell GroupWise on NetWare and Windows is multi-processor enabled. The GroupWise POA is particularly suited to a multiprocessor environment, managing TCP/IP client connections, message transfers, database updates and other tasks. To achieve peak performance, load the POA on a multiprocessor server. In addition, GroupWise can be installed on a Windows or NetWare cluster with up to 32 nodes clustered for optimal business continuity and failover protection.

  1. Prepare the Migration Client Workstation

    A Windows workstation (2000/2003/NT/XP) is required to manage the migration using the GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange. To create this workstation:
    • Install Outlook?The migration workstation must have the Microsoft Outlook clien installed (Microsoft Outlook 2003 with SP3).
    • Install GroupWise Client?The migration workstation must have the Novell GroupWise Client 6.5 software installed.
    • Install the GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange

  2. Migration

    The GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange guides you through the transfer process providing you with several migration options. A simple graphical interface will let you easily select options and walk you through each step.

    Note: Before you can migrate Distribution Lists and Public Folder you must first migrate user mailboxes.

    The tool will present a drop down list of Exchange user accounts from which you can select the administrator MAPI profile name and type in the password. You also need to select the destination GroupWise Domain, GroupWise Post Office and eDirectory Tree and Context into which you will migrate the Exchange data.

    Next you will see a list of the Exchange user accounts in your system. Select the accounts you want to migrate and proceed to the next screen.

    The final screen will ask you to specify a default password. This is the password that users will need to know when they first log into their GroupWise accounts. You can set a policy requiring them to select a new password when they first log into GroupWise. You can also limit the items to migrate by date and specify whether items in the Trash and Journal folders will be migrated. When you have set your criteria, you are ready to begin the actual migration. As user accounts are migrated, the GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange will automatically create GroupWise user accounts.

    As items migrate, a progress indicator shows status information. Error, warning, verbose and diagnostic information is logged to a file and displayed upon completion of the migration. Clearing the log will rename it from migrate.log to migrate.001 or a consecutive number.

    Once you have migrated the user mailboxes you can then run the migration utility again to migrate Distribution Lists and Public Folders.

    To migrate Distribution Lists re-start the migration utility and select Distribution Lists. You will have to enter the Exchange Admin MAPI profile and password as before. Now, add all the mailbox files generated by mailbox migrations (some may have been renamed) to the list so that the migration utility can reference the users in the Exchange distribution lists with migrated users. The lists will be recreated in GroupWise using the new GroupWise accounts.

    To migrate Public Folders open the GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange and select Public Folders Proceed through the migration utility as before.

    There are some differences between Exchange Public Folders and GroupWise Shared Folders that are important for you to know. Most importantly, Shared Folders require an owner while Public Folders do not. Therefore you will be asked to assign an owner from an existing GroupWise account. Since public folders belong to the whole organization it will make the most sense to assign them to the Administrator. The new Shared Folders must be accepted by their associated users before they can be accessed.

  3. Establish Internet Connection

    Once Exchange content has been migrated to GroupWise, you will need to establish an Internet connection to provide outside access. If the migration is a single-shot approach, you can move the connection from the Exchange server to the GroupWise server. If both systems will remain in place, you will need to make the appropriate arrangements with DNS routing and IP configuration to accommodate both services.

  4. Provide User Access

    Novell GroupWise allows multiple client options for accessing mailbox messages and appointments. GroupWise is accessible using the following clients:
Client Description Advantages/Disadvantages
GroupWise Windows Client A Windows-based client that provides Windows users (98/ME/XP/2000/2003) with full access to all GroupWise client features Provides full functionality for all GroupWise features
GroupWise Cross- platform Client A client that provides Linux and Macintosh users with access to basic GroupWise client features GroupWise functionality supported for Linux and Macintosh users
GroupWise Web- access Client Web-based client for access via a standard browser, WAP-enabled wireless telephone, Palm OS* device, or Windows CE device for basic feature access Provides remote and mobile access to GroupWise content
POP/IMAP Clients Any standard POP or IMAP client can be used to access GroupWise e-mail No need to retrain or switch clients after migration if this client is already in use
    As an administrator, you have the option of supporting any or all of the clients above. Of course, fewer supported options require less administration. Novell provides a powerful add-on desktop management solution. Novell ZENworks Desktop Management provides the ability to ?push? desktop software (such as the GroupWise Windows client or even Microsoft Outlook) to each user's workstation. Workstation software can be installed automatically and updated or reconfigured remotely by administrators. For organizations in which the migration from Exchange to GroupWise will require client changeover, ZENworks can be a powerful and time-saving option.

  1. Administration

    With migration complete, you are now able to manage users, groups, e-mail, calendaring, scheduling and collaboration using GroupWise with much less effort and expense than with Exchange. GroupWise provides you several administration options for user management as well as agent management. These include:

Management Option Description
eDirectory Provides a view of GroupWise in conjunction with other network resources. The GroupWise view of eDirectory filters relevant information on users and GroupWise components.
Agent Monitor Provides specific view and information about GroupWise agents on multiple platforms in multiple locations with Windows and Linux versions available.
GroupWise Utilities A comprehensive set of GroupWise utilities provides everything from mailbox maintenance to address lookup to moved user status and more.
Novell iManager Novell iManager is a Web-based administration console that provides secure, customized access to network administration utilities and content from virtually any where you have access to the Internet and a Web browser.


Moving from Exchange to GroupWise provides measurable and definable advantages. Companies can realize significant administration savings with the ability to manage more e-mail users with far less effort. They can also achieve cost savings with less outlay for application server and operating system licenses. Users benefit from a feature-rich communication and collaboration solution that is flexible and accessible from a variety of clients and from any location.

Your migration from Exchange to GroupWise is simplified with the GroupWise Migration Utility for Microsoft Exchange, which seamlessly migrates mailboxes, Distribution Lists and Public Folders.

The Novell migration options provide you maximum flexibility while still ensuring security, reliability and scalability. A wide choice of clients combined with support for all major operating systems and the ability to spread functionality across servers and locations?makes GroupWise a clear choice for progressive enterprise organizations.

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