Office 365 Migrations 101

Office 365 Migrations 101

Office 365 Migrations

Part of Office 365 is Exchange Online which provides a cloud-based messaging solution. This article will discuss some of the important factors that you need to know so that you can plan a migration strategy for your client. There are many ways to migrate data from Office 365 Exchange Online to on-premises email organizations. One of the questions that many people have when planning any type of Office 365 Migrations to Exchange Online is how to optimize migration velocity and improve the data migration’s performance.

There will be many factors that will come into play when determining a migration path and how to highlight the important feature of upfront planning. To do this you will need to evaluate and analyze the following paragraphs. You will need this so that you can put together a deployment plan and migration strategy.

SIZE

The first deciding factor will be the size. You will want to know the size of the mailboxes and the number of mailboxes as well. You are able to migrate using a PST type of import/export, but this would probably not be logical for anything besides a few mailboxes. The size will definitely impact migration timetables and this, in turn, will impact coexistence requirements.

COEXISTENCE

You need to determine during the migration process what level of coexistence you require. For example, if your entire migration will take place on the weekend then the deciding factor should be quite simple. However, there are times that during the migration you will have a specific amount of time where you need to coexist. The customer’s expectations and desires for whatever coexistence period will definitely impact the strategy.

PROVISIONING

You need to ask yourself how you plan to provision all of your user accounts. Are you planning to provision with an import or by leveraging a synchronization tool? Is your organization small enough so that you can manually plan and create additional new accounts? These are a few very important questions that you need to determine about provisioning.

MIGRATION SOURCE

One thing that can have a big impact on your Office 365 Migrations plan is what you are migrating from. Is the source IMAP, Exchange, or another email solution? Will you need to migrate calendar contacts and information? It is well-known that a migration source can greatly impact the ease or the difficulty of how these items can be migrated.

IDENTITY MANAGEMENT

It is important to determine your approach to identity management. Will it be a single sign-on type of requirement? Will the identities connect to an on-premise identity source or will they exist in a cloud? Once you have gathered all of the above decision factors then your next step will be to come up with a migration strategy. You want to utilize these decision factors so that you can determine which method is best suited for all of your customers.

Utilizing the Office 365 Migrations deployment will allow you to migrate user mailbox content from a source email type system to Office 365. Cutover Migration is when you do all of this at one time. Using a Cutover migration is recommended when you use a current on-premise exchange organization such as Exchange Server 2016, Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. It is also something that you would use when there are fewer than 2000 mailboxes.

CONSIDERATIONS

It requires careful planning to set up an email cutover migration. Before you start, there are a few things that you should consider:
– You will be able to move all of your email organizations to Office 365 within a few days. You then will be able to manage all of the user accounts in Office 365.
– You can migrate a maximum of 2000 mailboxes to Office 365 when you use a cutover Exchange Migration. However, it should be noted that the recommendation is to only migrate 150 mailboxes at a time.
– The primary domain name that will be used for the on-premise Exchange organization needs to be verified as a domain that is owned by your Office 365 organization.
– Once the migration is finished, every on-premise Exchange mailbox user will now be a new user in Office 365.

After your Office 365 organizations and on-premises are set up for the cutover migration, it is important to know that your users could be impacted by host set-up tasks. You need to make certain that all desktop computers are set-up for Office 365 and that they are updated. This will allow a user to utilize local user credentials so that they can sign-in to Office 365 from a desktop application.

A user who has permission for application installs can set-up updates on their own desktop. On the other hand, an update can always be installed for any user by the administrator. Once the updates are completed a user will be able to send emails from Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, or Outlook 2013. There may be a potential delay in some of the email routing until the MX record is changed.

CUTOVER MIGRATION

At this point in the article, you may be wondering how exactly cutover migration works. The following 9 points will explain this unique process:

  1. An administrator will communicate any upcoming changes to the users and will verify domain ownership with a domain registrar.
  2. An administrator will prepare the servers for cutover migration.
  3. An administrator will create a migration endpoint which is a matter of connecting Office 365 to an on-premise email system.
  4. An administrator will migrate the mailboxes and afterward verify the migration.
  5. An administrator will provide Office 365 licenses to all of the users.
  6. An administrator will configure the domain so that routing email can be sent directly to Office 365.
  7. An administrator will confirm that the routing has changed. He will then delete the cutover migration patch.
  8. An administrator will complete all post-migration tasks in Office 365.
  9. An administrator will send a welcome letter to all of the users and let them know how they can sign-in to their new mailboxes