We all use emails. Most of us aren’t aware of the background activity going on to make it possible for us to seamlessly email each other and share information instantly.
Along with the convenience of seamless communication comes the problem of data management. One of the problems in that sphere is the migration of data during changing any one of these things: mail server, mail service, or mail client.
Types of Email Migration
Usually, the task involving switching between different email clients and therefore the data migration involves data files. Most email clients don’t support same file format. Making it a bit trickier to get the data transferred back and forth.
Many basic home users access their data using web-based client like Gmail. In that case, all their data are stored on servers anyway. Even if they are using desktop based email client, they can simply add their IMAP supported email account to the new client. And all the data will be synced from servers to the new client.
But it gets more complicated when the database is big and when the data you want to migrate are stored locally.
Here we will learn a few different ways of data migration involving emails and related content.
One of the simplest method is to forward the email you want to move. For example, if you are moving from Mac Outlook to Mac Mail, you can forward the email in Mac Outlook to the email account you are using with Mac Mail.
Content or Data File Conversion:
This is one of the most used method for email migration. Whatever data file your current email client is using, you can convert it to the format that your new client supports.
For example, if you are moving from Mac Outlook to Windows Outlook, you can use a third-party OLM to PST converter to convert the native Mac Outlook file to the native PST Outlook file for Windows. This method requires a third-party file converter.
Email Server and IMAP Sync:
Suppose you have a lot of emails in an email client but they are stored locally. You want to move them to another client on a different computer. It’s not feasible practically to forward each email. What you can do is first add an email account to the original client and let it sync the local data to the servers. Then add the same account to the new client and this time let it sync the data from servers to the client’s database. This is of course too long and tedious and requires data to be transmitted twice unnecessarily, adding to the possibility of data integrity loss.
MX Record Modifications and Property Mapping:
These are technically complex methods to migrate data across different forms of servers and are applicable only to few cases. By modifying the MX record and by mapping the properties as suited to different cases, you can get the data moved from one place to the other.
In some cases, the source and the destination can be the same emailing program, in which case you can simply copy the database or files and move them to the new client’s directory. For example, you can import the MBOX files from one Apple Mail to another Apple Mail in a different computer. MBOX is a generic file that can also be used with Thunderbird and other popular email clients. Another data file that often gets used by many programs is EML.
In a large migration scenario, you would have to rely on third-party services, but for a basic migration need, the in-built features of an email client can suffice. Typically, corporations rely on services that are targeted towards data migration of emails. All those tasks have to be handled depending on the context like supported data files formats, need for separate administrative login, need for monitoring, reliability, and high security.