Exchange Migration project

Hi All.

I have a complicated project on my horizon that I'd like to get some feedback for. I'm sure there are proven methods for accomplishing what I need to do, and that may include any third-party solutions that I am certainly open to. So here goes:

My company (we will call this Company A) is merging with another company (Company B). We are assuming their company name, but we are the "winning" IT group moving forward in this merger. Both A and B are using Exchange 2010 for corporate email. Here is what I need to accomplish:

1. Establish a link between the two Exchange environments so that we can all share the same Global Address List as well as calendar free/busy information. This plan only needs to last as long as it takes for us to get fully to point number 2 below.

2. The way that we are going about Exchange (because neither company has a robust enough hardware platform or storage to bring the other company into their existing infrastructure) is to build a new Exchange environment and then migrate both companies into this new space. In light of this, we will essentially be migrating all mail objects (+/- 3000) into a brand-new Exchange 2013 platform.

Before I continue, any challenges to doing it this way?

Both companies have their own domain of course. CompanyA.local is one side, and CompanyB.com is the other. In the end, all users and accounts will have the same SMTP domain address, which currently is CompanyB.com. However, we purchased a new domain name to use perhaps internally at first, but possibly as an internal name for both companies going forward - CompanyC.net. So essentially a new domain but keeping the mail domain name of CompanyB.com. Is this confusing?

We have read a bit about federation as a solution for tying the two domains together, but it looks pretty messy and challenging. Maybe this is the only way to go - appreciate the feedback. But also wondering if a third-party tool can do the job easier.

Lastly, we will of course need to migrate all of the mailboxes, contacts, calendars, public folders - etc. to the new Exchange 2013 platform in CompanyC.net. Do all employees from Company A need to have user accounts built in CompanyC.net's AD PRIOR to migrating their mailboxes? And if we are using CompanyC.net as our new structure going forward for both companies, I am assuming that we will need to create user accounts, groups, DL's, etc. for the Company B employees as well? Lots of moving parts to this project and I appreciate any feedback or suggestions or potential gotcha's that I might encounter.

Thanks!
symbionincAsked:
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
There is unfortunately NO alternative to federation IF you want to have full two way access to things like calendars.
No matter what trusts are in place you can only, at best, get free busy information of users in the other domain.

Having been through a very similar situation recently, I feel your pain!
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
IF you have the budget for it, talk to Dell about the Quest migration tools. The very very best enterprise migration tools on the market. We migrated just over 4000 users over a single weekend with very little in the way of problems.
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