How to Prepare For an Office 365 Cutover Migration - CWPS

Posted by Gary Utley on May 2, 2018

IT professionals understand the value of planning before the go-live happens. How many disasters have occurred because a lack of planning has stymied a project? In the transition from on-premise applications, to the cloud, what are the key planning metrics that any IT manager must address before making either an Office 365 cutover migration or an Office 365 hybrid migration?

First, the Office 365 Cutover Migration

If we were to break out the actual steps needed before the Office 365 cutover migration it would be something like this:

  1. Communicate go-live dates with users.
  2. Prepare servers by creating emails in Office 365.
  3. Migrate mailboxes.
  4. Complete post-migration activities.
  5. Welcome users.
  6. Re-configure domain to route email to Office 365.

While this seems like a simple six-step process, it certainly touches on the high points of the tasks you must undertake. It’s true that the cutover migration process is actually the easier of the two migration approaches to Office 365. One thing to keep in mind; the maximum for a cutover migration is 2,000 mailboxes. Microsoft suggests you do these in batches of 150. 

The first step for a full-cloud or Office 365 hybrid migration is to verify the domain. Your IT manager will need to verify your corporate domain by proving that you own it. Basically, there’s a TXT record from Microsoft that must be added to the DNS.

You should also check if anyone is running the old Exchange Server 2003; this will need to be updated before the migration. Also, you must also assign individual licenses once their mailbox is migrated. 

These are just some of the things to expect during a cutover migration. Now let’s look at a hybrid migration and the complexities involved. 

How About the Office 365 Hybrid Migration?

The second most common way to migrate to Office 365 is via a hybrid approach. Mixing on-premise Exchange mail with the Office 365 cloud could be the best deployment method for your organization. EdTech points out that while this approach is more complex, it “supports long-term coexistence and the ability to move mailboxes back and forth between Exchange and Exchange online.” EdTech also says there are actually about 200 tasks that are crucial to making this type of migration a seamless process. 

Things to keep in mind include the fact that the minimum requirement for hybrid migration, exchange server has to be at least Exchange 2010 SP3 or later in order to use Microsoft Hybrid Configuration Wizard. For Exchange 2007, you will have to either upgrade the exchange server to Exchange 2010 SP3 or utilize third-party migration software.

The Microsoft Office TechCenter offers assistance around Exchange Server deployment that may be helpful. Microsoft also offers a cool infographic to give you a sense of what happens behind-the-scenes in an Office 365 hybrid migration. TechGenix also has a good article on the steps necessary for a hybrid migration.

Contact CWPS when you’re ready to make the switch. We can help ensure that your deployment is seamless, no matter whether it’s a cutover or a hybrid go-live.

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Topics: Office 365, migrating to office 365