You might recall I was having some trouble fully understanding and visualising how our archived and ingested data would appear in Outlook to our users. I probably unfairly criticised the Mimecast knowledge base documentation for its lack of detail, which would be sufficient for most but not for me who wanted to be 100% sure of every step in the process and so I get the correct information out to staff.
Well my 'Ingestion Facts' in that post are all factually correct, so if anyone is having a similar dilemma, I would have a read, it's a collection of reading many KB's, posting in forums and speaking to support :)
These are the steps I took to get the data ingested
Preparing email data to send to Mimecast
I firstly advised Mimecast that we were ready to send them email data for ingestion. They provided me with a secure FTP connection.
On a test network we used exmerge or export-mailbox commands to extract all mailboxes from historic backup tapes. I named these in the required format i.e firstname.lastname@example.org (for 2008) ...09.pst (for 2009) etc
Our users used PST files for storing their emails. I gave them a deadline for when the PST's would be made read only (see my blog post on how to do this) and a copy would be sent to Mimecast. Until the deadline, I saw everyone on a one-to-one basis to perform some 'housekeeping' tasks, based on my 'Ingestion facts' and made sure they were comfortable creating subfolders of their mailbox moving forwards.
Once the deadline had passed and the PST's were marked as read only, I took a copy of everyones PST files and bulk renamed them to the required naming convention. I then FTP'd them across to Mimecast.
Ingestion and Folder Sync Tasks
Perhaps I caught them at a good time but it took Mimecast's ingestion team just 1 and a half weeks to ingest and index the 1.4TB of email data I sent over to them - impressive!
Now the emails were indexed it was safe to set up Folder Sync tasks in the MSE (Mimecast Services for Exchange). The tasks are created in the Administration Console but you also need a server for the MSE software to sit on.
The Folder Sync task sends metadata of user's subfolders to Mimecast - this means that subfolders are visable in MSO and MPP. I set ours to run every hour between 7am-7pm (this was adequate for our enviroment of 200 users)
We got the users to log into the MPP to get a feel for Mimecast and to see their archived and ingested data for themselves. Many were shocked that their 'deleted' emails had now returned!!
Mimecast Services for Outlook (MSO)
Finally the last piece of the jigsaw - the MSO. It had been a long time coming, mainly because Mimecast were working on version 4.1 which would work in multi-user environments such as RDS/Terminal Services.
I was involved in the beta testing and after a few minor versions they now have a stable release in 4.1.509 which also introduces the DB Sync Tool. This is a seperate application which sits on a server (the SQL server is recommended) and performs the initial sync between Mimecast and the Mimecast-MSO database, which holds all the metadata information required for the Mimecast Archive MMS.
It's a great idea as it takes the load off off the RDS/TS. In beta versions of MSO 4.1, this intial sync without the tool would cause the memory for each OUTLOOK.exe process memory to grow and grow and grow, sometimes over 300MB, which on a RDS/TS server with tens of users can quickly cause the server to run out of resource.
The final word...
I'm really happy with how it's all gone and think Mimecast provide such as good service. I know they have worked particually hard on this new version of MSO 4.1. Next steps will be to introduce some mailbox retention polices, either using Mimecast or just directly through Exchange.
If anyone has any questions regarding my experiences with the Mimecast rollout please feel free to drop me an email