Migrate Exchange to Office 365 – Quick Methods

Aftab Alam
Aftab Alam | Updated On - November 22, 2022 |

Read time 9 minutes

Business and Enterprises versions of Office 365 provide a special service for Exchange Online. All the mailboxes, along with their features, Active Directory assistance, information, and other metadata completely. The Exchange Online is available universally and does not require a dedicated hardware infrastructure like an on-premises Exchange server. It is not surprising that users will like to migrate Exchange to Office 365 and enjoy cloud services.

Microsoft provides different manual techniques for on-premises Exchange to Office 365 migration, and each technique allows to conduct migration from different versions of on-premises Exchange Server and mailboxes.

Migration Methods of Exchange Server

In this discussion, we will go through different migration methods and see which method you should choose for your business environment to conduct a safe migration. If you are not using a professional solution for Exchange Server migration, you need to study the migration scenario carefully and choose the migration method accordingly.

Method 1. Exchange to Office 365 Migration using professional tool

Kernel Migrator for Exchange is a highly efficient migration software that smartly assists you to migrate On-premises Exchange to Hosted Exchange, Office 365 to Microsoft Exchange 2013, and more. If you want to simplify the migration, use an automated Exchange Migration tool. Here is the procedure for migrating the on-premises mailboxes to Office 365 using the tool:

  1. Start the software, create a project, and provide a new name to the migration job. Then click Next.Start the software,
  2. Select Exchange Server from the ‘Migrate From’ drop-down.Select Exchange Server
  3. Input the Exchange Server details like DC, IP address, username, and password. Click Next.Input the Exchange Server details
  4. Select the mailboxes using the checkboxes. Click Next.Select the mailboxes using the checkboxes
  5. Select Office 365 from the drop-down in the ‘Migrate To’ section.Select Office 365
  6. Input the Office 365 credentials and click Next.Input the Office 365 credentials
  7. Apply filters like Message Classes, Date Range, and Folders as required; then click Next.Apply filters
  8. Map the source mailboxes to the destination Office 365 mailboxes and click Next.Map the source mailboxes
  9. Select a number for the bad items for the migration. The migrator tool will skip the mailbox if it reaches the limit. Click Next.Select a number for the bad items
  10. Provide the account name which will get the notification at different stages of migration. Click Next.Provide the account name
  11. Select a period of the day to allow the migration.Select a time-period
  12. Schedule the migration at a convenient time.Schedule the migration
  13. Verify the summary of the migration and click Finish.Verify the summary of the migration

Thus Exchange to Office 365 migration successfully completed using this tool.

Method 2. Migrate Exchange to Office 365 using Cutover Migration

A Cutover Migration is the direct migration of Exchange mailboxes to the destination Office 365. Using this methodology, you can migrate all the mailboxes to Office 365 at once. But there are some conditions related to the method you should take care of in advance.

  • You can migrate up to 2000 mailboxes using a Cutover Migration, but it is suggested to go for only 150 mailboxes in a migration batch.
  • The method is available for the Exchange Server 2003 and later versions.
  • In Office 365, you should own the domain name, which is used as the primary domain name in on-premises Exchange.
  • You should have licenses for all the user mailboxes migrated to Office 365.

After fulfilling all these conditions, you can start the migration process.

Cutover Migration Process

To migrate Exchange to Microsoft 365, follow the steps:

  1. By connecting with your DNS hosting provider, verify that you own the domain name. TXT record of the DNS provider is used to verify the domain ownership.
  2. Create migration endpoint using Outlook Anywhere.
    • In Exchange admin center (EAC), follow Recipient>>Migration>>More(•••)>>Migration Endpoints.
    • Click New+ on the Migration endpoints page.
    • Choose Outlook Anywhere on the Select Migration endpoint type page. Then click Next.
    • Input On-Premises Exchange Server Administrator credentials. Click Next.
    • After connecting with Office 365, the endpoint will show the connection strings. Click Next.
    • Provide a name and click New to create a new migration Endpoint.
  3. Create a Migration batch.
    • In EAC, follow Recipients>>Migration>>New (+)>>Migrate to Exchange Online.
    • Select the migration type as Cutover migration.
    • Confirm the migration endpoint. Click Next.
    • At the Move Configuration page, provide a name to the migration batch and click Next.
    • On the Start the batch page, you can select between two options – ‘Automatically start the batch’ and ‘Manually start the batch later.’ Choose your choice as per your convenience. To create a new migration batch, click New.
    • Now go to Recipients>>Migration. Select the batch and click Start. The status of the migration batch will convert to the ‘Syncing’, and migration will start. After the migration, the status will change to ‘Synced.’

Method 3. Migrate Exchange to Exchange Online using Staged Migration

Staged migration is a suitable migration option for the on-premises Exchange Server 2003 and 2007. It follows a similar working procedure of cutover migration, but it takes the assistance of a CSV file to include the number of mailboxes to procedure to migrate Exchange to Exchange Online.

Let’s go through the staged migration procedure to migrate Exchange to Office 365.

  1. By connecting with your DNS hosting provider, verify that you own the domain name. TXT record of the DNS provider is used to verify the domain ownership.
  2. Create Office 365 users with the help of directory synchronization. Use either Microsoft Azure Active Directory Synchronization Tool or the Microsoft Azure Active Directory Sync Services (AAD Sync) to synchronize the users.
  3. Create a CSV file and fill in the details of on-premises Exchange using the following parameters:
    Email Address, Password, Force Change Password
    Example- raven@contoso.com, 123!@#, False
  4. Create Migration Endpoint using Outlook Anywhere.
    • Follow Recipient>>Migration>>More(•••)>>Migration Endpoints.
    • Choose New + on the Migration endpoints page.
    • Choose Outlook Anywhere on the Select Migration endpoint type page. Then click Next.
    • Input On-Premises Exchange Server Administrator credentials. Click Next.
    • After connecting with Office 365, the endpoint will show the connection strings. Click Next.
    • Provide a name and click New to create a new migration Endpoint.
  5. Create a staged migration batch
    • Follow Recipients>>Migration>>New (+)>>Migrate to Exchange Online.
    • On the Select a migration type page, click Staged migration, and then click Next.
    • Browse the CSV file from its location. Click Next.
    • Check and verify that the migration endpoint is listed and selected at the Confirm the migration endpoint page. Click Next.
    • Provide a name to the migration batch on the move configuration page.
    • On the Start the batch page, choose among two options: automatically start the migration or manually start the migration later. Now, choose new to create the batch.
    • Now follow Recipient>>Migration. Select the batch you have created and choose Start.
    • The status of the migration batch will change to syncing.

All these migration methods are popular and can be chosen as per the environment of your organization. However, these methods involve lots of preparation and settings.

Conclusion

For Exchange to Office 365 migration, administrators will have to employ different strategies depending on their migration scenario. Cutover migration and Staged migration are two different migration methods. But if you use a professional tool like Kernel Migrator for Exchange, you can try it in any migration scenario. The tool makes it easy for you to migrate Exchange to Exchange Online. The data will be instantly accessible, and you will not feel any downtime during the migration. You will also get a complete migration report after the migration.