Tuesday, 29 January 2013
1/29/2013 03:13:00 am 3

Pros and Cons of GroupWise to Outlook/Exchange migration:

In this post my main focus is to draw a brief comparative analysis of GroupWise and Exchange. GroupWise and Exchange both are widely used Email applications among business users. However, while working in business domain you may face many situations when you require migrating from GroupWise to Outlook or Outlook to GroupWise.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of switching between the two Email clients. So, that you can make a better choice and plan a successful migration strategy before actually implementing the migration process.

Read before migrating from GroupWise to Exchange:
  • Some users find Outlook an easy to use Email client application that is used with exchange server. So, they usually prefer to migrate from Exchange to Novell GroupWise Server.
However, Outlook that is a front end application can also be used with GroupWise. 
  • Those who are long term Exchange users and have to switch to GroupWise, find it difficult to use the full features of Novell GroupWise Server due to unfamiliarity with the application. Thus it requires higher learning curve for them to work with Novell GroupWise.
Same is the case for long term GroupWise users. Switching to Exchange server, makes the users need some extra time for getting familiar with the new application.
  • Novell GroupWise is secure email system that is internally encrypted end-to-end, always has been. LDAP authentication, encrypted data stores, SSL & promptly patched code are some extra features that add to its security.
Exchange has patches EVERY MONTH, GroupWise once in six months average wise .Patching, fixing and repairing  Exchange or GroupWise depends totally on the users technical knowledge and relevant expertise. So before migrating from GroupWise to Exchange or GroupWise to Exchange, get a preplanned strategy.
Other wise, you may require additional cost for taking proper care of the maintenance and security aspects of Exchange/ GroupWise as well as for training needs of the user. 
  • You can easily backup the Exchange mailboxes, but as the mailbox size increases manual backup becomes difficult. So for that you require to purchase some extra Exchange backup software.
You can use GWAVA Reload for taking GroupWise backup; it can restore a mailbox in a few minutes, runs on Linux. As per the user’s feedbacks, Linux backup and restore are faster than Windows backup and restore.
  • In Outlook all the mailbox data is stored in PST file format on local user system, that makes email archiving and handling easier in case of Outlook.
GroupWise also supports the PST feature (called caching) that makes all user mailbox data to be stored on local user system. Besides that the user can also store an archive, to make the caching database small and faster. GroupWise shares data is by proxy and shared folders, calendars, address books, and even folder structures.
  • Some users migrate from GroupWise to Exchange to avail the benefits of Outlook Client such as:
    • Outlook provides you the folder lists on the left side of the client window that let you view your mailbox and PST archives in the folder lists that eliminates the extra need to select your mailbox or your archive to view them.
However, I must remind you that any mail sent from that shared mailbox is not stored in the original mailbox but in the user who is sending the email. In a proxy (in case of GroupWise) the email stays in the original mailbox.
    • If you access other mailboxes as a proxy then, Outlook let you open that mailbox in the same folder list as your own mailbox or PST folders.
    • Outlook provides much better, flexible and effective front end. Outlook offers more interactive features (such as task management, notes, forms, rules and alert etc.) and tools that makes it more powerful and popular among the users. Some, users prefer to use Outlook with Exchange to avail these features.
    • Some users prefer Outlook as it provides better meeting scheduling feature that let you search free and busy times for meetings.
Those who want to know the power of the GW client my go through the books like the Power user guides provided by the GW community.
  • Using Exchange & GroupWise has its own advantages but sometimes, switching between the two Email systems may lead the user to trouble. Such as:
    • Migration will add an extra expense to organization as, it involves purchasing new hardware as well as it requires moving the previous mailbox data to the new Email system. If cost is considered a factor then, it’s better to upgrade GroupWise to new version instead of migrating to Exchange. 
    • If you want to use new versions of Exchange then, you would also require latest version of Windows platform for supporting the AD. Otherwise you have to face issues related with your AD environment and improper functioning of Exchange. 
    • Performing maintenance on Exchange could create an issue for the new Exchange users. If database gets corrupt then, restoration and transaction logs replay process could add an extra headache for them. 
    • GroupWise is comparatively stable with increasing number of users but Exchange could require greater number of administrators as the number of user increases.

The choice between the two applications may vary from one user to another according to their personal preference, business needs or experience. So the above information couldn’t be used to deny the importance and strong existence of both the applications. Each has its plus points.

If you are long time GroupWise user then, obviously it would to difficult for you to immediately switch to a new Email client and get familiar with it. Same is the case for Outlook. So, evaluate & plan the migration strategy before actually migrating Otherwise, it may lead to loss of manpower as well money rather then being beneficial.


  1. Bashing exchange and groupwise doesn't help much. Unless you have a balanced article, such as this one. Lots of sites have tried to compare the two products. Listng the benefits and drawbacks of migration is useful. Someone considering a migration should consider these points. How might you compare this to an exchange upgrade? Interesting points.
    Thanks Amanda for your article.

  2. A sensible article covering GroupWise migration to Exchange. I do consulting work on many GroupWise to Exchange migration projects via my business - . If anyone needs any consulting help for their GroupWise to Exhange migration, please get in touch with me via the website.

  3. Nice article on pros and cons of exchange migration. The real problem arises when you start migration. If you find any error messages on post exchange migration issues , then stay tuned at techslate.