Seamless migration for 10K seats—and many other complexities

A strategic partner's challenge to Intermedia

The Background

The strategic partner highlighted in this case study assisted with the preparation of this report and agreed to its publication, but declined to be identified publicly to preserve the private label nature of its offering of Intermedia services. The partner is therefore referred to as “the Provider” in this case study. Please contact Intermedia for more information about this case study, or to discuss your particular needs.

For over 20 years, the Provider that is the subject of this case study had been servicing business users around the globe. With more than 10,000 Exchange mailboxes under management, they sold their services both directly as well as through their reseller channel. They maintained multiple Exchange 2010 domains in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

In 2014, though, the Provider’s Exchange business hit an inflection point: their infrastructure was aging, and their customers were demanding Exchange 2013.

“After investigating the upgrade process, we determined that there would be no ROI in building out an Exchange 2013 platform,” said the Vice President and Managing Director of the Provider. “Especially when you consider the effort required to migrate 10,000+ mailboxes and the increased customer support the migration would demand.”

An Intermedia Strategic Partner

Company Profile:
For over 20 years, the Provider that is the subject of this case study had been servicing business users around the globe.

Industry: Email and IT services

Headquarters: Undisclosed

Since: 2015

Company size: 10,000+ seats

The Challenge

The Provider wanted to keep their current customers and grow their Exchange business. But they also wanted to refocus their internal resources on their proprietary offerings—instead of investing those resources in a platform they didn’t want to upgrade.

“The obvious solution was to outsource our Exchange business to a provider like Intermedia,” said the Provider VP. “This solution posed a clear advantage in terms of cost structure without disrupting our Exchange business model.”

But the outsourcing solution also raised four strict barriers that Intermedia would have to overcome:

  1. A complex migration, performed seamlessly. Intermedia would have to migrate more than 10,000 mailboxes spread across multiple domains in datacenters in three countries.
  2. Complete behind-the-scenes presence. The Provider did not want their customers or partners to know that their Exchange service was now being hosted by a third party.
  3. Identical features and functionality. Intermedia would have to customize its offering to match the needs and functionality that had been previously provided by the Provider.
  4. Integration with the Provider’s proprietary products. The Provider would continue managing their own offerings, including email archiving and anti-virus/anti-spam; Intermedia would need to integrate with them.

The Solution

The partnership took form very quickly, proceeding from the first introduction to the first mailbox migration in just a few months. An agreement was signed, and Intermedia immediately got to work:

  • Intermedia’s Cloud Concierge™ team of migration experts began aligning people and processes to migrate 10,000+ mailboxes across more than 500 accounts.
  • Engineering began customizing the Intermedia partner portal to support the Provider’s legacy and ongoing businesses in three countries.
  • Most significantly, Intermedia’s operations team sprung to build out a brand new datacenter to support the Provider’s Canadian customers. This included procuring datacenter space in British Columbia, acquiring hardware to build out the racks, and building a domain to support Exchange, Intermedia’s HostPilot® control panel, and all of Intermedia’s other services.

Supporting the Provider with a new proprietary migration method

“Perhaps the most complex element of the Provider’s requirements was their desire to reduce end-user disruption almost to a nonexistent point,” said Leibholz. “In a typical Exchange mailbox migration, the end-user has to remove their current Outlook profile and create a new one.”

“The Provider wanted to eliminate even this step for its users,” Leibholz continued. “So Intermedia developed a proprietary migration methodology to support this type of migration. This was no small feat—not only because of the scale, but also because the mailboxes had to be migrated into three different datacenters in three different countries.”

Intermedia’s new tool, specifically designed for high volumes of mailboxes and accounts, let Intermedia’s Cloud Concierge team pipe mail into different datacenters on an account-by-account basis. With this tool, the migration could be performed in one process, instead of a different process for each datacenter. This accelerated the migration considerably. And at the moment of cutover, the user needed only to close Outlook and re-open it.

Today, this tool is available for internal use not just by Intermedia, but also by strategic partners like the Provider. They can use the tool to perform their own high-volume migrations.

Maintaining strict white-labeling

Normally, Intermedia offers white-label capabilities to its partners so that the partners can shield Intermedia’s identity from their direct customers. But in this case, the Provider did not want their partners to be aware of the Intermedia relationship.

“Intermedia took their white-labeling to another level,” said the Provider’s VP. “Not only did they customize the partner portal for our needs, but they also adapted their sales collateral for our needs—both direct and channel, for our US, UK and Canadian businesses.”

“They also adapted their systems to allow us to keep some of our Exchange customers on our servers in the UK,” he added. “We loved the flexibility they showed in accommodating the nuances of our business.”

When the Provider approached us, they thought they had an intractable challenge. What they didn’t realize is that we’ve performed much bigger migrations in that past. We knew we could meet all their requirements for success.

Bob Leibholz, SVP of Sales and Business Development
Intermedia

Our Exchange business is stronger than ever. With our migration and branding requirements, we gave Intermedia what we thought was an impossible test—and they passed with flying colors.

Redacted, VP
Provider

Products They Use

The Results

Intermedia enabled the Provider to preserve their business model while outsourcing their Exchange business. With a competitive set of products that now includes Exchange 2013, they’re growing their Exchange business while keeping their technical resources focused on other projects.

Key results for the Provider include:

“Our Exchange business is stronger than ever,” says the Provider’s VP. “With our migration and branding requirements, we gave Intermedia what we thought was an impossible test—and they passed with flying colors.”

How Intermedia ensured a smooth migration

Intermedia’s Cloud Concierge team built strong processes that were overseen by a team of PMP-certified project managers—in addition to support from Intermedia’s sales engineering team.

Phase I—September 2014

Phase II and Phase III —Nov–Jan 2014

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