How to Migrate from Hosted Exchange to Office 365?

 En Exchange Server, Kernel Data Recovery, Office 365

If you use Exchange as a part of your work life and have performed migration at some point in time, then you might be aware that different versions of Exchange need different methods of migration. In this article, we are going to perform the migration from hosted Exchange to Office 365. In this case, if you are using Exchange Server 2007, then the staged migration is the best possible method that will suit you.

But, if you are using Exchange Server newer than 2007 like 2010, 2013, 2016 or 2019, then you need to perform either a Cutover Migration or a Hybrid Configuration method. When it comes to Cutover Migration, there is a drawback of this method where you can’t perform selective migration. Because this method migrates all users at once, which is a mess if your client doesn’t want all of them, you will then need to reconfigure their Outlook profiles to get rid of the unwanted users.

On the other hand, Hybrid Configuration allows selective migration, but it is not that easy to use. If you want to do it with Hybrid configuration, then you need to make sure that all your configuration settings and certificates are correctly done. Though, it is not very difficult to have all the configuration settings and certificates correct but even a single mistake in it can make you to work all over again. This can be very time consuming, and no one wants that.

Now, what is the solution to this? Which method can be used to perform this migration smoothly, efficiently and without wasting time? The answer is Minimal Hybrid Configuration which is also popularly known as Express Migration or perform it with the help of an automated Migration tool. Minimal Hybrid Configuration was launched by Microsoft, and it is not at all complex like hybrid configuration and cutover migration. Unlike hybrid configuration, which follows a strict prerequisite, it needs a minimum configuration and certificate settings.

Here we are going to discuss the steps involved in Minimal Hybrid Configurations.

Step 1- The very first step towards the migration is verifying the ownership of Office 365 domain. Before initiating the migration process, you need to perform this step because of the importance it holds. When you proceed further, you will create the email addresses for your users in the Office 365 environment. So, it is very necessary to add and verify your domain.

Step 2- Next step towards migration is that you use your global admin credentials and sign-in to your Office 365 account. While doing this, you need to make sure that the system you are using is domain-joined with the on-premises organization. Once you have entered the credentials, you can initiate the migration.

Step 3- The next step brings User Provisioning. This page will ask you to select either one from “Synchronize my users and passwords on time (Recommended)” or “I will install Azure Active Directory Connect later on my own.” You need to select the first one, i.e., Synchronize my users and passwords on time (Recommended) and install Azure AD Connect Wizard. Install it and follow the instructions.

Step 4- Now, this is the stage where you need to allocate the license of Office 365 to users. Once you have allotted the license to the users, the next thing that will be assigned to them is cloud mailbox so that their on-premises mailbox data will be migrated to those mailboxes.

Step 5- After performing all the above-stated steps successfully, you now need to initiate the migration. Now, it’s time to perform the mailbox migration, so you need to move to the data migration page. While doing this process, it is always suggested that you migrate a few mailboxes in the start. If the migration is successful, only then move to transfer all mailboxes.

Step 6- At this stage, all your migration might be done, and you need to update the Public DNS Records. For this, you need to switch MX record so that it is pointed to Office 365. By doing this, you will line all the new emails sent to this mailbox to Office 365.


Use an Expert Method

Another way to perform this migration is by using an automated method provided by a third-party. Here, we are going to use Kernel Migrator for Exchange-Express Edition, which is a remarkable tool that can perform this migration quickly and efficiently. Let’s see how:

Step 1- Once you have installed and run the software, you need to click on the Add button available on the software home screen to add the Source mailbox.

Step 2- Provide the correct credentials of hosted Exchange here, select the mailbox type and click on the Add button.

Note: Because, we are performing hosted Exchange migration, you need to enter Proxy Server Name.

Step 3- Now, you will see that your source mailbox has been added, add the destination mailbox by clicking on the Add button.

Step 4- Enter the credentials of Office 365, select the mailbox type and click on the Add button to proceed.

Step 5- Now, when you have added both of your mailboxes, it’s time to map the accounts. Select the destination account and click on Set Filter and Migrate.

Step 6- This step will ask you to select the migration type by clicking on the drop-down. Once you are done with it, click on the Migrate button to proceed.

Step 7- In this step, apply filters as per your requirement, select the checkboxes as per your migration requirements and click on I am OK, Start Migration.

Step 8- Wait until all the instances take place and click on OK to finish it.

Facts you need to know before performing the Migration

In this blog, we have talked about the migration between hosted Exchange and Office 365. We have discussed two methods, one of which is a manual method called Express Migration while other is an automated approach by Kernel Migrator for Exchange-Express Edition. So, here are a few things you need to know about both of the methods.

Minimal Hybrid Configuration/Express Migration

We have already discussed that this method is the most suitable option for the hosted exchange to Office 365 migration because of the minimum configuration and certificates it requires, but there are many features and advantages you compromise with while using this method. Let’s have a look at what those disadvantages are.

  • With Express Migration, you won’t be able to experience Cross-premises Free/Busy sharing
  • With Express Migration, there is no TLS secured mail flow between on-premises and Exchange Online.
  • Another drawback is there is no cross-premises eDiscovery.
  • You will see that there is no automatic Outlook on the web and ActiveSync redirection for migrated users. In fact, the user will lack OWA and Outlook anywhere redirection for migrated users.
  • As a user, you must know how important automatic retention is, but with this method, you won’t experience automatic retention for Archive mailbox.

Kernel Migrator for Exchange – Express Edition

Kernel Migrator for Exchange is a third-party solution for the migration. Here, we have used it to migrate mailboxes from hosted Exchange to Office 365. However, its capabilities are not limited till here, it can perform many other Exchange and Office migrations with several other benefits, let’s discuss them.

  • With this migrator, you can migrate from Exchange to Exchange mailboxes, Office 365 to Office 365 mailboxes, Exchange hosted/on-premises to Office 365 and vice versa.
  • This tool allows you to migrate unlimited mailboxes using ‘Import from CSV’ option.
  • There is no complicated configuration settings and certificates required.
  • Comes with a filter option with the help of which you can move folders based on date range, item type, subject type, etc.
  • It supports on-premises, hosted and cloud Exchange deployments.
  • And the most attractive feature of this tool is that it comes with a trial version with the help of which you can perform a free migration.


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