Manage the Migration to Exchange Online

Migrating to Exchange Online isn't hard, but you should make sure to allow plenty of time and have a backout plan ready before you get started.

By Jabez Gan | Posted Apr 27, 2011
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In our last look at Exchange Online, we considered how to conduct a pre-deployment trial. If you've decided to move to Microsoft Exchange Online, what's your next step? Let me prep you for a quick tutorial on what to do next, for a smooth migration to Microsoft Exchange Online.

Tools for Migration

For businesses, moving to a new system doesn't mean a fresh start. IT needs to ensure that data can be migrated from one platform to another; otherwise it will be a challenge for users to get to work on the new system. In other words, migrating to a new system needs to be as seamless as possible for end users.

In an Exchange setup, data migration is possible if the IT infrastructure is using any of the following:

  • On-premises Exchange
  • POP3
  • IMAP

To do the migration, Microsoft has two tools available for us to use: Microsoft Online Directory Synchronization Tool, and Microsoft Online Migration Tool. These tools alone are enough for us to migrate from on-premise/off-premise Exchange, POP3 or even IMAP to Microsoft Exchange Online/BPOS.

The Process

There are two phases when it comes to the migration: Moving the data (email) from the old mail server to Microsoft Exchange Online; and the change of MX records. Let me break them down:

Phase 1: Migrate the data

Step 1. Directory Synchronizing (On-premise Exchange only): This step is just to run the Directory Synchronizing tool, keying in the credential for the BPOS and domain administrator's account, and this tool will synchronize the local active directory user accounts to BPOS. This is straightforward and works 99 percent of the time. One thing to look out for, though: The tool will not install on a 64-bit server, nor Windows Small Business Server.

2. Microsoft Online Migration Tool: Using this tool, mailboxes from other servers can be copied to Microsoft Exchange Online. As long as the old mail server is running on either POP/IMAP, or on-premise/off-premise Exchange, this tool can help you migrate.

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