On April 7th HCL held a new webinar to further clarify what migrating your mail from the IBM cloud means and why if you haven’t taken some steps in that direction you need to do so soon.

Despite the whole pandemic situation we are all facing, the date for the end of service has not changed, it is still July 16th, so now is the time to take action.

One very important thing to keep in mind: Replication continues to be the only supported method of data extraction from SmartCloud Notes. Other methods of data extraction are not supported by HCL Software.

Here is an overview of the HCL DS Cloud Strategy:


As you can see, for Connections, Domino, Sametime, DX it’s business as usual in a private cloud or on-premises, as the customer desires. 

The Partner Cloud Strategy

The partner cloud is the path this webinar focused on. The Partner Cloud is formed of a select group of companies, handpicked by HCL to provide hosting for HCL’s software. They will be selling the software-as-a-service to those customers who were previously in Smart Cloud Notes. Future additions are taken into consideration to some of the software offerings like Volt, Secure Chat and Mail, offering outside Digital Solutions and in the HCL software group, but these are some future considerations that HCL will announce when the time comes. 

HCL’s core cloud strategy can be summarized as following :

  • Establishing and expanding a core set of geo-based partners that HCL believes are well-poised to deliver cloud services to customers.
  • Driving greater product innovation and velocity, that can scale to meet customers’ demands as their businesses evolve.
  • Constant delivery and improvement in the core product, Domino v11.0.1, Connections 6.5 CR1, ST 11, DX 9.5
  • Investigate and invest in a SaaS Delivery model for future offerings

Without further ado, here are the HCL Approved Cloud Hosting MSPs:


As in the past webinars on this topic, HCL did stress that you need to start your migration by choosing a partner if you have not done so so far because time is running out.

Concept and Product Definitions:

Here are some terminology that keeps being referenced with regards to HCL Digital Solutions and cloud: 

SmartCloud Notes: Also known as SCN; A SaaS Service for email, calendars, and contacts in the Cloud. Provides both Notes Client and Web Access for mail. This is the service that will end starting on July 16th. 

Verse: Verse is an advanced Web UI for Domino, available both in the cloud and on-premise. Verse provides mail, calendar and contact services and is considered a ”client”, similar to how we refer to Notes or iNotes, rather than a cloud service. Migrating a Verse mailbox is no different than migrating an SCN Mailbox. 

When customers originally provisioned their data into the cloud, their account into Smart Cloud Notes they would have done it in one of two ways :

  • SCN Service Only: Also known as “SCN Hosted” a deployment model for customers whereby the entire management, directory, certificate structure, and administrative functions are contained within SCN. There is no Hybrid configuration, nor on-premise services for the mail service. This is most common in small mailbox deployments. The service owns the certifier.
  • SCN Hybrid: SCN Hybrid is a deployment model that includes a hybrid deployment of Domino server components and the use of the customers’ existing on-premise Domino directory and administration server for management activities. This is a common deployment model for large mailbox deployments. The customer owns the certificate.

In order to make sure this offboarding runs as smoothly as possible here are the things to keep in mind: 

  • Test, Test, Test: Test the process using some test users or run a pilot. Understand the process, throughput and transfer times.
  • Timing is important: A period exists during the process when mail cannot be delivered. Plan taking that into consideration.
  • User notification: Make sure your users know what to expect and when to expect it. You should include here end users, help desks, not just the administrators.
  • Suspend Renames in SCN
  • Plan for Delegates: A delegate who has moved on-premises cannot access the mail of a delegator who remains in SCN.

Hybrid Offboarding consists of 7 steps:

  1. Identify Mail Files 
    • Identify the server and file path of the primary replica of each SCN mail file Can be done viewing “Mail Users View” in NAB Also consider applying SCN Mail File Analysis Reporting Template– A custom addition to the Domino Directory that supports gathering mail file information and storing it in the directory. It works best when run using a Notes ID with administrator access to the mail files.
  2. Replicate Mail Files
    • Add admins & add staging server(s) to ACL of SCN mail files
    • Create Staging Server (Optional) or replicate mail files directly to new mail servers
    • Pull data from LLN Servers to staging Servers
  3. Provision Mail Files in On-Premise Environment
    • Replicate mail from Staging Server (Optional) to new on-premise Domino Mail Server
    • Update ACL’s and Mail templates on Mail Servers
  4. Update Domino Directory
    • Suspend User Subscription from SCN
    • Update Domino Directory to point user at on-premise mail file (typically done on Admin server)
    • The directory will then replicate with SCN
  5. Perform Delta (Catchup) Replication
    • Force Additional Pull from cloud SCN mail server to capture any additional mail
  6. Reconfigure Clients
    • Update location documents and connections documents.
    • If Web, redirect users to new mail servers via IDP or URL redirect
    • Reconfigure mobile clients
  7. Decommission SCN
    • Change Mx Record to point on-premise
    • Remove staging environment
    • Keep SCN subscription (suspended) if you use Archive Essentials until your archives are exported.

Service-Only Offboarding comes with some particular challenges. Number one, the customers don’t have access to the Domino Directory. Also, the certificates are not customer-generated and last but not least, identifying Mail File Locations is not available to SCN Admins.

Now, with all of that taken into consideration, here are the steps that need to be performed for this unique offboarding:

  1. Implement ”Super Delegate”: The Administrator will add “Super Delegate User” to all mail files in SCN Admin Console using ACL Update Utility
  2. Identify Location of Mail Files: A Service Request to HCL Software is required to get a list of user mail file locations and names.
  3. Provision Mail On-Premise: Create new Domino mail environment on-premise, with (optional) staging server
  4. Replicate Mail Data: Replicate (Pull) Mail from SCN (LLN Servers) to Mail or Staging servers. Update ACL’s and Mail templates on Mail Servers
  5. Perform Catchup Replication: Depending on the amount of data, additional catchup (delta) pulls of data may be required.
  6. Reconfigure Client: Reconfigure on-premise clients (web, mobile, nodes); Change MX Record; Suspend SCN Accounts; Perform another Catchup Replication
  7. Decommission SCN: Remove the migration of clients/servers. Keep SCN subscription (suspended) if you use Archive Essentials until your archives are exported.

Here are some other things you need to take into consideration with this offboarding:

  • NOTE: Journaling to Connections Cloud Compliance for Email (Barracuda) is EOS July 15, 2020.  Customers can make arrangements directly with Barracuda for archive content migration. Please reach out directly to Barracuda at Soniansales@barracuda.com 
  • MX Records: MX records can be moved at various stages of the process
  • Anti-Virus: Changing AV/AS Spam solutions will impact user’s perspectives of spam filtering.
  • Consider impacts to Integrated Applications and IMAP Users
  • Mobile Device Management. These processes will require the reconfiguration of Traveler services on a user’s mobile device
  • Delegate relationships should be captured where possible, since it may influence the timing of certain individual migrations. A delegate who has moved on-premises cannot access the mail of a delegator who remains in SCN.

As you might expect, the webinar replay is available for you to watch in case you missed it. Of course, feel welcome to contact us with any questions you might have about the offboarding process.