In the past, I've had to migrate less-common email clients, such as Pegasus Mail and Eudora, to Microsoft Outlook. Outlook's import/export functionality proved less than reliable, with random freezing and unhelpful error messages. Outlook IMAP support also left much to be desired, often hanging and always slow, making it an awkward migration solution.

Transend Migrator is designed to move mail from legacy mail clients and servers to more commonly used systems reliably and with verbose logging so that it's easy to troubleshoot any problems that might crop up along the way. Although Migrator's primary intended use is to move mail from legacy systems, there's no reason why you can't migrate to a legacy client or server if needed.

On starting the application, you're presented with a simple interface for single-user migrations, which Figure 1 shows. Although the interface is divided into E-Mail, Address Book, Calendar, and Task/To Do categories, all the necessary information entered for Email can be automatically copied so that a migration task can be launched without entering the same username, password, and path information in the other categories.

 Figure 1: Migrating a single user in Transend Migrator
Figure 1: Migrating a single user in Transend Migrator

During my testing, I used a combination of connection types, including IMAP4, MAPI, and PST with Outlook, Gmail, Windows Live Mail, Pegasus Mail, and Exchange Server. Migrator proved to be very reliable in maintaining the integrity of the data in the target and in providing verbose logging .

Exchange/Outlook Systems

Migrator supports Exchange Server 2003 and later (32-bit) and Outlook 2003 and later (32-bit). The first thing that strikes you about the options for migrating Exchange/Outlook-based email is that Migrator uses MAPI to pull and push data through Outlook or personal folder store (PST) files (non-MAPI). You can't make a direct connection to an Exchange server using remote procedure call (RPC); you can use only IMAP4. There's an option to work with offline folder store (OST) files as the data source if Outlook is configured in Exchange Cached mode. However, as Transend notes, OST files are not a reliable source for data migration.

There are a few prerequisites before you can migrate to or from Exchange/Outlook. The computer on which Migrator is installed must belong to the same domain as the Exchange server. The user performing the migration needs to have Receive-As permission on the mailbox database where the target email accounts are located. Outlook must also be installed on the same computer as Migrator and be the default mail client.

The documentation for preparing an Exchange server for migration was disappointing. Working through the documentation was confusing, as I wasn't always able to determine what scenario the technical instructions were intended to match. It would be better if the Help files and white papers were organized by migration scenario. I was also disappointed to find that instructions for working with Office 365 weren't available yet for Migrator 10.5. However, Migrator 10.5's support for Exchange Web Services means that migrations to Office 365 will be faster and more reliable than the IMAP-based migrations used in Migrator 9.x.

Other Messaging Systems

Where Migrator comes into its own is support for a wide range of different messaging systems. In the list of source systems, you'll find email clients such as Eudora, Pegasus Mail, and Thunderbird. Web mail is also supported, and I was able to connect to my Gmail account with no problems. Although not listed as an option in the drop-down menus, it's possible to connect to Windows Live Mail (Hotmail) via IMAP.

Advanced Features

Migrator offers many advanced features. You can choose to exclude certain folders from the source and migrate folders to an alternate destination on the target. You can do address translation, which is especially useful for converting x.500 addresses to standard SMTP. You can migrate mail to an HTML or PDF format, which would be handy for creating searchable archives. Migrator also includes a separate application, Message Vault, specifically for archiving mail.

But the most powerful feature of Migrator is the batch mode for moving multiple mailboxes simultaneously. Batch mode works by adding data to a table of generic predefined variable names ($Var1, $Var2, and so on). Data can be entered manually or loaded from a spreadsheet. Once the migration table is created, the variable names can be inserted as needed on the migration setup screen for a single user. Batch migrations can be scheduled using the GUI or the command-line interface.

An Email Migration Swiss Army Knife

Migrator provides support for most email systems you're likely to come across; if not, it's flexible enough that Transend's support staff can help provide a tailored solution. Unlike Outlook's import/export features, Migrator is reliable, and its comprehensive logs help you easily track down any issues. If you need to migrate mail from or to legacy mail servers, or if you need filter or modify Exchange mailbox content, Migrator is a good solution.

Transend Migrator
PROS: Comprehensive support and reliability for migrating mail from different messaging systems
CONS: Documentation could be improved; no wizards for setting up batch migrations
RATING: 4 out of 5
PRICE: $49 per user, plus optional $25 per user for technical support; volume license packs available
RECOMMENDATION: A good solution for migrating single users or entire organizations from esoteric messaging systems to more common platforms.
CONTACT: Transend • 650-324-5370 • http://www.transend.com/