In a previous article “IBM Lotus Notes, are you still here?” we shared our insight into what organisations still running HCL Notes are planning to do. To recap, the options Notes system administrators told us were:
- Do nothing,
- Decommission unused apps and throw them away along with the data.
- Archive the data in such a way that it can be accessed without the need to maintain a Notes environment (including someone to maintain it)
- Migrate the data to a commercially available database Management system such as Mongo or Microsoft SQL Server, so that the Notes documents, metadata and attachments can be reused or repurposed.
- Migrate the full applications to more modern platforms such as SharePoint Online and Office 365
In this blog we’re going to focus on how you can, quickly and accurately, address option 4, and migrate your Notes data in order to future proof it and reuse it in new applications.
It goes without saying that there are many ways to extract and migrate data from Notes. We’re often call upon after an organisation has contracted an “Notes expert” who has spent several man hours creating Notes scripts to extract the data, and is still working through the first application. This approach is labour intensive, expensive and time consuming, the scripts themselves are straightforward enough but before they can be written and thoroughly tested there is an entire process of analysing the structure of the Notes database to determine what is going to to be extracted, what will be ignored, how it will be structured and where it is going to go. Phew, you get the idea!!
Oh, and once the Notes side of it is done you then need to design the database, deploy it and write more scripts to populate it. You may even need a different consultant, someone who understands SQL. This all adds time and cost to your project and to do it properly typically takes several days per application just to get the data migrated. Then there is designing, testing, executing, rewriting and doing it again until it works.
Still think migrating off Notes is a good idea? Many organisations get this far, stop and instead try to keep their flagging Notes servers ticking over.
But there is a better way. Products such as Cimtrek take the majority of the manual effort away and provide a more automated and more importantly repeatable process. This allows you to migrate applications in hours instead of months. As you would expect, Cimtrek offers a number of options for extracting data and the choice is largely governed by what you intend to do with the output.
The most common approach that we see from our customer is those extracting all data, metadata, attachments, ACLs etc. into an RDBMS or NOSQL database. This enables them to automatically use the existing application “structure” to define the database. Also any attachments associated with the Notes application are automatically linked and can be stored anywhere. If a database is not required then another automatic option is to extract the data in XML format - the schema can be adjusted to enable ingestion of the data by an application such as MS Dynamics CRM. Also it is possible to take all attachments and squirt them into a DMS or CMS such as Alfresco.
To complete the picture CIMtrek also has the option to export all this data to a CSV format. With CIMtrek you are in complete control as to where your data goes, and how much. Using CIMtrek and our fully automated approach you are able to migrate your data off Notes faster, more cost effective and more reliably.