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How is the migration from Exchange 2010 to Office 365 any different than other scenarios? First, before Exchange 2010, there was no way to create a Hybrid environment with Office 365. What is more, Exchange 2010 is one of the most popular source servers. That is because for companies which have more recent server versions, it would be a shame to leave to the cloud just yet, relatively soon after deploying a new Exchange release, and when the support is still available. Finally, there are some additional steps you need to take when you migrate from Exchange 2010 to Office 365.
Exchange 2010 is the oldest Microsoft-created mailbox server to be included in the Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment Assistant. That is good news. The Assistant is a tool which asks you questions and generates an Exchange to Office 365 migration plan. It includes most of the popular migration scenarios. Bear in mind that this tool is meant primarily for single-forest, single-domain environments. If you have a more complex deployment, prepare for some guesswork.
There are three native paths you can take to get your company from Exchange 2010 to Office 365:
The cutover migration is as simple as getting all users from the source server and pasting them in Office 365. Sounds simple, but there is much more to that. In another article, you can find a detailed cutover migration plan. Below, you can find some steps you need to take before you migrate mailboxes from Exchange 2010 to Office 365.
First, you need to prepare your environment. The preparation and planning might take less time than the actual migration, but it still requires a lot of attention. Below, you can find a short task list for a cutover migration.
The migration is less scary when you see what you have to do on a list. Still, remember that the whole task requires a lot of work and time. It may also include some steps which have not been listed above. It is best to study the topic well before attempting the migration.
The Hybrid deployment is a kind of migration and more. It is a modern approach to the staged migration available for Exchange 2003 and 2007. Exchange 2010 and Office 365 Hybrid is an environment in which the on-premises Exchange and Exchange Online coexist. This method is especially useful if there is a lot of data to migrate and the process is bound to take a lot of time. Hybrid is the only native method available for migration of over 2000 mailboxes. In fact, Hybrid is recommended for migration of 150 mailboxes and more.
There are organizations which do not use the Hybrid deployment as an intermediate stage, but as the final environment, which has users distributed to both on-premises and the online environments, depending on what each user needs.
The Hybrid environment is created using a dedicated Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW). See this article for a step-by-step guide on how to use the HCW and solve problems connected with deploying a hybrid environment.
The last native migration makes use of the Office 365 PST Import Service. The general idea is to export Exchange 2010 mailboxes to PST files, and then to upload them into Office 365 organization. This method requires an admin to do some manual work. This includes creating Office 365 environment practically from scratch.
Exporting all mailboxes to PST is best done with PowerShell and New-MailboxExportRequest. The PST files need to be in a shared mailbox or on a file server. From this location, you have to upload them to the Azure storage location and create a CSV mapping file. The PST Import service uses the mapping file to import PST files to the right user mailboxes.
Microsoft also offers an option to ship physical drives to them, which requires you to copy PST files to physical storages and to send them to Microsoft. The cost for this service is $2 per GB of data.
Each of the above native methods for Exchange 2010 to Office 365 migration has some drawbacks. The Cutover migration is an all-or-nothing solution and is not recommended for more than 150 mailboxes. It also does not allow Exchange and Office 365 coexistence. The Hybrid configuration takes a lot of time, and you are likely to encounter some bumps in the road. With Office 365 Import Service, I do not know where to begin. PST files are… archaic. PST Migration is neither automatic, nor fast or reliable. It is only a good option if you do not have much data to move and you do not mind recreating your Exchange 2010 environment in Office 365 from scratch.
There are also native limitations which are common for all the solutions listed above:
The limitations of native solutions force many companies to use third-party tools for migration.
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