How To

How to Migrate from Live Exchange server to Office 365 (Exchange Online)

With the growing popularity of Microsoft’s cloud platform, most of users want to switch from the current environment to the cloud. However, the challenge comes when users want to move their on-premises Exchange to Office 365 is not easy to execute with native options. Therefore, in the upcoming section, we will discuss a manual solution to migrate from Live Exchange server to Office 365. Before that, let us discuss some native options to perform the Express migration, along with its advantages.

Express Migration – A Remarkable Entry in Native Options

For an administrator, there are a variety of native options like cutover migration, staged migration, hybrid migration to migrate on premises Exchange to Office 365. Likewise, Express Migration is considered a better alternative to cutover migration in small as well as medium organizations. Moreover, it shows the latest entry of native options. According to Microsoft, there is no outage duration for users with Express Migration, as it enables mail flow continuity throughout the entire data migration process. Express Migration is a quick way to move mailboxes from Live Exchange to Office 365 with an ease.

Advantages of Express Migration

At certain times, migration from Exchange Server to Exchange Online can become quite difficult for small businesses. These native options, i.e., hybrid and cutover usually demands complicated infrastructure and server setups. Although Express Migration perfectly suits the demands of small or medium organizations, with a lot of advantages like:

  • Sync your passwords and usernames from on-premises
  • No need to recreate or rebuild Microsoft Outlook profile
  • Zero downtime during migration from Live Exchange to O365

Pre-requisites to Perform Express Migration

Follow this approach to migrate email messages if you:

  • Have any kind of platforms such as Exchange 2016/ 2013, and Exchange 2010 server on-premises.
  • Do not require the directory synchronization to manage each user.
  • Target to switch to MS Office 365 over a short period of time.

Manual Steps to Migrate Data from Live Exchange to Office 365

Go through the following steps to perform conversion from on-premises to Exchange online. Let us have a look:

Step 1: Preparing Express Migration (Check Domain)

Before proceeding further, make sure that you have already signed up for MS Office 365 subscription and have a confirmed domain. An external domain name has been added the Alternative UPN suffix in ‘Active Directories Domains & Trusts’. Now, follow the set of instructions to do so:

  • Right-click on Active Directory Domains and Trusts, and choose Properties:
  • For adding an alternative UPN suffixes, give your verified email account name and select Add option. Press OK button to save the settings.
  • It will ensure that the on-premises users are already assigned their UPN suffix to their corresponding email domain name. Under Active Directory Users & Computers, choose properties, and click the Account tab and provide the suitable domain name against a user logon name.

Step 2: Start Express Migration from MS Office 365 Portal

  • Go to the Admin Center of Office 365 portal, and find the Users, and then click on Data Migration.
  • Be sure that you have Exchange 2016/ 2013/ 2011 or SBS 2011, before downloading and executing the Hybrid Configuration Wizard. This wizard will help to establish the hybrid deployment within on-premises Active directory. Also, it allows to state and configure multiple parameters for the hybrid deployment. To do this, initially it will create the HybridConfiguration object and to gather the existing Exchange server and Active Directory topology configuration data.
  • Also, you can learn to create and configure the new hybrid deployment here.

Step 3: Manually Run Directory Synchronization

To do the migration of small businesses, choose Office 365 Minimal Hybrid Configuration, and then, click Synchronize users & password one time option to move the user mailboxes without any trouble. This can install the Azure AD Connect for data conversion and sync. Choose the default Express settings and synchronization to accomplish the task. After finishing the migration process, you can now manage the users with the help of following options.

  • Cloud-only: A solution to handle new users and passwords in MS Office 365 portal, but there is no connection with your on-premises accounts.
  • Azure AD Connect: This approach involves all operations related to synchronization identity data between Azure AD and on-premise platform.
  • Microsoft Essentials Dashboard Integration: A centralized path to administrator Office 365 mailboxes, and distribution groups without having an Exchange Server.

Step 4: Assign Office 365 License to Normal Users

Once the Azure AD Connect can synchronize a mailbox user (with their exact passwords), then you must have to assign Office 365 license to move mailboxes from Live Exchange to O365.

  • Under the Admin center, select Users and then, Active Users
  • After that, go to Edit option to assign the product licenses.

Step 5: Initiate the Mailbox Data Migration

Once a list of licenses assigned, you can start the mailbox migration, with the help of following steps:

  • Now, select Users and then, Data migration
  • Then, choose Exchange according to the data services on the Migration page.
  • On the Data migration page, choose Start migration to allow moving the user mailboxes that you need to export.

Note: It is a better way to run the migration test for two or three users, before moving them all at once. It is advisable to ensure that everything will be perfect as expected.

Step 6 – After Data Migration, Update DNS Record

DNS record is very helpful for mail systems to track where all the emails need to be delivered. If your Live Exchange to Office 365 migration is completed, you have to set up your DNS record too.

  • In Admin center, go to Settings, select Domains and, then update the domain name

Challenges Faces While Using Express Migration

Undoubtedly, Express Migration is a simple and reliable migration method, but it has some drawbacks like:

  • Performs batch conversion at the same time.
  • It only supports one data migration endpoint.
  • Migration process is performed only for licensed O365 users.
  • Some elements may not be synchronized with Exchange Online during migration, thus it creates an unexpected trouble.

The ‘Express Migration’ method is not a good choice for large organizations. Moreover, this approach will take much time during migration from Live Exchange server to Office 365. Thus, users can take helps of a reliable third-party tool named as Exchange to Office 365 Migrator. It is the best application to migrate mailboxes from Live Exchange Server to MS Office 365 without any data loss.

Bottom Line

There are many cloud-based email applications available in an online market. But, Office 365 is one of the best applications among them due to its advanced features. Thus, everyone wants to migrate from Live Exchange to Office 365 (Exchange Online). Therefore, in the above blog, we have discussed a step-by-step guide to move Live Exchange mailbox to Office 365. Else, users can opt for a third-party tool to perform the conversion process.




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