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With the advent of cloud computing, each business organization wants to encash the benefits of moving their onsite resources to Office 365. It is a cloud platform from Microsoft which provides an enterprise-level emailing system at an optimal price. There are multiple reasons which attract you to office 365.
Although the benefits of Office 365 are a lot, if you ask any of your Exchange Administrators who have earlier migrated Exchange mailboxes to Office 365, he would tell you that it is not an easy job. You must prepare a lot and test several scenarios before actually going for the migration.
Here are some points which will help you to evaluate the pros and cons of Exchange to Office 365 migration –
Selecting the most appropriate migration method is the first and foremost job of each Exchange Administrator. There are multiple Exchange migration methods to migrate mailboxes to Office 365. You need to find a method depending on the Exchange Server version and the number of mailboxes. Here is a list of various migration methods –
As you want to instantly migrate the mailbox, and start using them on Office 365, you should correctly estimate the required time for migration. If you do not migrate the data in multiple batches, then it may take an unreasonable time to complete the migration. So, it is wise if you create multiple batches and divide the data for better migration.
Before starting the migration, you should make sure that your current Exchange Server environment meets all the necessary pre-requisites and Exchange is in good health. And, you should have an Office 365 plan that fits your current requirements. Also, you should have all the technical requirements to start and complete the Office 365 migration in time.
Before running the actual migration, you should run some demo migrations. Try to migrate a small set of mailboxes. If these demo migration works, then you can try to run larger batches.
Migration may impact the availability of the Exchange Server, and you should know and adjust to it. For example, while you run a migration in Exchange Server 2003, then the mailboxes will become unavailable. So, be ready to face such changes.
The version of Exchange Server has an impact on the migration process. If you have Exchange Server 2007 and 2010, then you will have to make several changes in the environment. The method of the migration essentially depends on the version of Exchange Server.
Older versions of Outlook like Outlook 2007 and 2003 are not compatible with Office 365. So, if you are not planning to use Outlook web application, you should have a later version of Outlook application for your end users.
Before starting the migration, you should prepare your Exchange server environment. There is a tool in Office 365 named Health, Readiness and Connectivity checks tool. It will check how much the environment is ready to migrate mailboxes from the Exchange server.
Every kind of migration takes time to complete, and you need to have patience. Each migration type (like staged migration and hybrid migration) has its own challenges, requirements, and changes in settings. So, be patient with the whole migration process.
There are several inbuilt features in Exchange Server and Office 365 which can make the migration process easier. Some guides like Exchange Deployment Assistant also can be useful in the migration process. But many third-party tools make the migration process completely automated. You can easily migrate either Offline EDB files or Live Exchange Server to Office 365. So, don’t hesitate to try them.
Appendix: Some common questions faced by administrators before Office 365 migration
Here are some migration-related questions that every Exchange Administrator faces while planning the migration.
A- The number of mailboxes decides the migration method. The distribution list and public folder come secondary, but they also weigh up the size of the data. Depending on the volume of data and the number of mailboxes, you can decide the type of migration.
Small organizations want a quick migration, and they can prepare their data easily. Here, cutover migration is the suitable migration method where a lesser number of mailboxes are migrated.
A- Office 365 supports all types of email platforms from which the migration can be committed. If you are migrating the content from any platform other than Exchange, then the hybrid migration will not apply to you.
A- It is easier to migrate the emails, contacts, calendars, and permissions. If the Exchange has multiple Active Directory environments from the earlier migrations or mergers, it is right first to run a test migration and then go for the large-scale one.
A- All these applications are supported by different manual migration methods. When different platforms are involved in the migration, you need to adopt the migration method suitable for each platform. You can try professional solutions, as well.