Discover the different types of M365 migrations, and learn how to choose the right one for your business
As the use of cloud computing is becoming common, an increasing number of businesses are migrating to Office 365. The cloud-based communication, collaboration, and productivity abilities offered by office 365 help businesses stay in the competition. However, regarding M365 migrations, there are several options to consider. This article highlights the different types of M365 migrations.
- Transitioning from Exchange 2003 or 2007 to Exchange Online in Microsoft Office 365 can be achieved through a staged migration. This method is suitable for medium-sized companies, particularly those with more than 2,000 mailboxes, that are currently using on-premises Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007. However, it is not available for organizations using Exchange 2010 or 2013.
A staged migration involves moving mailboxes in batches over a specified period. In addition, it requires using the directory synchronization tool to replicate accounts from the on-premises active directory database. By the end of the process, all mailboxes will be hosted in Office 365. Throughout the migration, Microsoft 365 users will still be able to exchange emails with users who haven’t migrated yet. However, they will be able to access calendars and delegates once the migration is completed.
- A cutover migration immediately transitions from an on-premises exchange system to Office 365. It involves migrating all resources, such as mailboxes, contacts, and distribution groups. Unlike staged migration, this method does not allow the selection of specific objects to be migrated. Once the migration is complete, every user will have an Office 365 account.
A cutover migration is best for organizations with less than 2000 mailboxes and currently using Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013. Microsoft suggests that companies with less than 150 users use this method due to the time it takes to migrate many accounts. However, every user’s Outlook profile must be reconfigured to connect to Office 365 after the migration.
- Office 365 hybrid migration is a method that enables the integration of Office 365 with on-premises Exchange servers and existing directory services. Thus, allowing for the synchronization and management of user accounts in both environments. One of the key benefits of a hybrid migration is its flexibility in moving mailboxes between Exchange Online and on-premises servers. For example, you can choose which mailboxes to migrate to Office 365 and which to keep on-premises.
Additionally, you can synchronize passwords and set up single sign-on to streamline logins for your team across both environments. To use a hybrid migration, your organization must have more than 2,000 mailboxes and be using Exchange 2010 or a newer version. However, suppose you are not using Exchange 2010 or a newer version. To enable hybrid deployment connectivity, you must install at least one on-premises Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 (SP3) server.
- Unlike the other three migration methods that rely on Exchange, an IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) migration allows users to be moved from any email system that supports IMAP migration, including Gmail. During an IMAP migration, data is extracted from the source mailboxes and transferred to Office 365.
However, only emails are transitioned; all other items, such as calendar items, tasks, and contacts, remain in the original inbox and must be manually migrated by the user. Additionally, before initiating the email migration, a mailbox must be created for each user, which is not required for other migration types. IMAP migrations are limited to 50,000 total mailboxes and 5,000,000 items. Once the migration is complete, any new mail sent to the original mailbox will not be migrated.
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