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Summary: Businesses often need platform migration for efficient data management. Microsoft offers native solutions, like cutover migration, to seamlessly transfer Exchange to Office 365. This involves domain verification, creating migration endpoints, and starting migration batches. For a more streamlined process, Kernel Migrator for Exchange is recommended, offering flexibility and security without mailbox limitations.

Businesses often find it imperative to undertake platform migration in order to optimize data management, ensuring it remains both cost-effective and highly productive. A fundamental aspect of this migration process involves preserving the functionality of older data within the new platform. In the realm of email communication, it is crucial to maintain an active and robust mailbox capable of seamlessly transitioning to a new environment. Microsoft, cognizant of these critical business needs, provides native migration solutions designed to facilitate the seamless transfer of Exchange to Office 365.

Office 365

Office 365 encompasses a suite of cloud-based services, among which Exchange Online serves as the robust email solution. In the Office 365 cloud ecosystem, the email experience mirrors that of on-premises Exchange Server. Following migration, Office 365 empowers end users to conveniently access their emails from any browser and device, offering unparalleled flexibility and convenience.

Among the various migration strategies available for transitioning from Exchange to Office 365, the cutover migration stands out as the most straightforward option. Exchange Cutover migration, as it’s known, involves the seamless transfer of your entire mailbox data from any version of Exchange Server to Office 365 or Microsoft 365. This method is particularly well-suited for smaller organizations, thanks to its scaled-down scope and simplicity.

To successfully execute a cutover migration, ensure your on-premises Exchange Server is at least version 2003, with compatibility extending to as recent as 2019. This method can also seamlessly handle older versions of Exchange Server, facilitating swift migrations of MS Exchange 2010 mailboxes to Office 365. migrations of MS Exchange 2010 mailboxes to Office 365

How to run the cutover migration?

Before initiating the Exchange cutover migration from on-premises Exchange to Office 365, it’s essential to make certain adjustments to the source Exchange Server environment. Starting the migration directly is not possible without these necessary preparatory steps.

  • You should configure Outlook Anywhere on the source Exchange Server as it will be useful in connecting the email migration services to the on-premises Exchange Server.
  • You should use a certificate from a certification authority during Outlook Anywhere configuration.
  • After establishing Outlook Anywhere, you should run it to verify that it can connect with Exchange Server.
  • The server account that you use to access the Exchange organization should have FullAccess and Receive As permissions to migrate mailboxes from Exchange to Office 365. When you grant permissions to other Office 365 mailbox users, then they will be ready for migration.
  • Make sure that the desired mailboxes are not hidden from the address lists.
  • In your on-premises Exchange Server, disable Unified Messaging. After completion of migration, you can turn on Cloud Voicemail in Office 365.

Note: The cutover migration method offers the capability to seamlessly migrate mailboxes, mail users, contacts, and mail-enabled groups, including their respective memberships. Prior to commencing the migration process, it is advisable to clear any other objects.

Once you’ve successfully completed all the necessary prerequisites, you’re ready to proceed with the migration process. This journey involves distinct steps and milestones at various stages of the transition.

Step 1. Verify that you own the same domain in Office 365

The Exchange cutover migration process seamlessly transfers email addresses from your on-premises Exchange server to Office 365, with the domain name serving as the crucial link connecting these two environments. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that you have verified ownership of the same domain within your Office 365 account.

  1. In Office 365 Admin Center, follow Setup>>Domains>>Add domain.
  2. Input the domain name that you use on on-premises Exchange and click Next.
  3. To verify the domain name, choose either GoDaddy or any other registrar to input the DNS records. For other registrars, choose the option to add a TXT record instead and click Next.
  4. Follow the steps provided for the DNS hosting provider and add the TXT record to check the ownership.
  5. In the domain wizard, click verify now and check the verification page. Then, click Finish.
Step 2. Connect the email system with Office 365 using the migration endpoint

The migration endpoint encompasses the essential credentials and configurations necessary for establishing a connection between the Exchange Server and Office 365. Primarily, it empowers the concurrent migration of multiple mailboxes.

  1. Open Exchange Admin Center and go to the Recipient category, choose Migration.
  2. Click three dots and choose Migration endpoints.
  3. Click New on the migration endpoint page.
  4. Choose Outlook Anywhere as the migration endpoint type and click Next.
  5. On entering the on-premises account credentials page, enter the given fields like email address, account with privileges, and password of an account with privilege. Click Next.
  6. When Office 365 relates to the Exchange Server, then its details are mentioned. Choose Next.
  7. Note: If the connection to the server cannot be established, please provide the necessary information for both the Exchange Server and RPC proxy server.

  8. On the new migration endpoint page, mention the name of the endpoint and click new.
  9. We will establish a new migration endpoint essential for the Exchange cutover migration to seamlessly connect with Office 365.

Step 3. Start migration batch
  1. In the recipients’ category in the Exchange admin center, choose Migration.
  2. Click New and choose Migrate to Exchange Online.
  3. On the migration type page, select cutover migration and click Next.
  4. Choose the migration endpoint that you have created and click Next.
  5. On the Move configuration page, input the name of the migration batch and click next. It will start to appear on the migration page.
  6. Start the batch page shows you two options – to automatically start the batch or manually start the batch later. You can make your choices and click the start option.
  7. Click new and a new migration batch will be created.
  8. The Office 365 cutover migration batch will start to appear in the migration category.

Step 4. Start the batch

The earlier three steps create a batch that gets saved in the migration section under the recipients category. But the batch does not start automatically.

  1. Go to recipients and click Migration. Choose the batch and click Start.
  2. The batch will start successfully, and the status will be changed to syncing now.

The Office 365 cutover migration batch will require some time to complete the migration of all mailboxes, ensuring uninterrupted use throughout the process.


The Cutover migration process involves transferring all mailboxes from an Exchange Server to Office 365. This procedure, however, can be time-consuming due to its prerequisites and numerous steps. To streamline this migration, consider employing an automated solution such as Kernel Migrator for Exchange. This powerful Exchange migration tool enables you to initiate an instant migration job with minimal user account information, ensuring the utmost security during the transfer process. Notably, it maintains the data’s integrity, providing significant flexibility for your migration needs. Unlike cutover migration, Kernel Migrator for Exchange imposes no limitations on the number of mailboxes you can migrate, allowing you to seamlessly transfer an unlimited number of mailboxes from Exchange to Office 365.

Kernel Migrator for Exchange