Deploying an Exchange 2013 Hybrid Lab Environment in Windows Azure (Part 30)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Introduction

In part 29 of this article series revolving around what the Windows Azure service is all about as well as how you deploy an Exchange hybrid deployment in Windows Azure, we took a look at the public folder side of things. More specifically, we went through the options we have at our disposal, when it comes to configuring coexistence and migrating public folders to Exchange Online in Office 365.

Let’s get going…

The Mailbox Replication Service (MRS) Proxy

So as some of you probably know, the Mailbox Replication Service (MRS) Proxy service helps facilitate cross-forest remote mailbox moves. It’s often used when performing a cross-forest migration from a legacy Exchange organization (containing at least one Exchange 2010 or 2013 CAS server as the MRSProxy must be enabled in the source organization) to an Exchange 2010 or 2013 organization. The MRSProxy makes remote mailbox moves more seamless because it, among other things, encapsulates all communication between the organizations in HTTPS packets. If an organization decides to move to Exchange Online in Office 365 (which is the case in this article series) and the organization uses an Exchange hybrid deployment, they also use the MRS Proxy.

With hybrid deployments based on Exchange 2013, the MRS Proxy was enabled back when we ran the hybrid configuration wizard (HWC), so unlike what was the case in the past, we do not need to enable this service manually anymore.

However, to be on the safe side, we’ll verify the service is enabled. To do so, we’ll open the Exchange admin center (EAC) on one of the Exchange 2013 servers or from a remote desktop client, then click “servers” and then the “virtual directories” tab.

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Figure 1:
Virtual directories on the Exchange 2013 servers

Under the “virtual directories” tab, open the property page for each EWS (Default Web Site) virtual directory on each hybrid server and ensure the “MRS Proxy enabled” is ticked.

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Figure 2: Enabling MRS Proxy on the Exchange 2013 hybrid servers

Moving Mailboxes to Exchange Online

It’s time to move a few mailboxes to Exchange Online. Unlike with Exchange 2010 based hybrids, in Exchange 2013, we use so called migration batches and migration endpoints for this task. In a hybrid deployment scenario where we have Exchange 2013 on-premises and the Exchange 2013 based Exchange Online version, we can create new remote move requests using the following methods:

  1. Via the Exchange admin center on an Exchange 2013 hybrid server on-premises
  2. Via the Exchange admin center in Exchange Online
  3. Via Remote PowerShell connected to Exchange Online

In this article, we will use the second method, but later on in this series, I will also talk about the differences between method 1 and 2 as well as provide you with sample cmdlets for method 3.

Using the Exchange admin center in Exchange Online

To move mailboxes to Exchange Online using the Exchange admin center in Exchange Online, we need to go to first open the Exchange admin center and then click on the “Office 365” tab in the top left corner.

Now click on “recipients” and then “migration” as shown in Figure 3.

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Figure 3: Migration tab in the Exchange admin center

Click the “+” and select “Migrate to Exchange Online” to launch the “new migration batch” wizard.

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Figure 4: Selecting “Migrate to Exchange Online”

In the “new migration batch” wizard, select the first option “Remote move migration (supported by Exchange 2010 and later versions)”, which is the one to use when you want to move mailboxes using the mailbox replication service (MRS).

Click “next”.

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Figure 5:
Selecting the remote move migration option

We are taken to the “Select the users” page and as the name indicate, this is where we select the user mailboxes that we want to move to Exchange Online. Click the “+” sign and then select the user mailboxes you wish to move as shown in Figure 6 and 7.

Note:
If you plan on moving large batches of user mailboxes, you also have the option of specifying the users using a CSV file.

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Figure 6:
Clicking the “+” sign

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Figure 7:
Selecting the user mailboxes that should be moved to Exchange Online

With the user mailboxes selected, click “next”.

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Figure 8:
User mailboxes specified

Now we need to provide the credentials for a user that is a member of the “Organization Management” role group in our on-premises Active Directory.

Do so and click “next”.

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Figure 9:
Specifying credentials of on on-premises Exchange administrator

The “new migration batch” wizard will now try to automatically determine the migration endpoint (MRS Proxy FQDN) to be used. If it doesn’t succeed, you have the option to enter it manually. The migration endpoint usually matches the external URL configured for the EWS virtual directory. In my case, it’s “mail.azurelab.dk”.

Note:
On this page you will also be notified about whether the MRS Proxy is enabled or not.

Click “next”.

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Figure 10:
Remote MRS Proxy FQDN

It’s time to name the migration batch. The name can be anything, but if you are going to create multiple migration batches with randomly selected mailboxes, it’s usually sufficient to just call them “Migration Batch 1”, “Migration Batch 2” etc.

On this page, you should also make sure the correct target delivery domain is listed. This should be “yourtenantname.mail.onmicrosoft.com” (in my case “azurelab.mail.onmicrosoft.com”).

Finally, you have the option to specify whether an associated archive mailbox should be moved and configure the bad and large item limit. Here we will just stick with the defaults.

Click “next”.

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Figure 11:
Remote Move configuration

We’re now taken to the “start the batch” page. Here we can specify the recipient that should receive an email with migration information and a link to a CSV based migration report.

On this page, you also have the option to specify whether the migration batch should be started manually, automatically or whether it should be scheduled to occur sometime in the future. Same goes for the completion of the migration batch.

Click “new”.

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Figure 12:
Starting the migration batch

The migration batch will now be created and as can be seen in Figure 13, an alert is also generated that can be seen by all global administrators logging into the portal, while the migration batch is running.

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Figure 13:
migration dashboard status

In the migration dashboard, we can see the actual status for migration batch. To see more details about each mailbox, let’s click “view details”. On the migration batch detail page, we can see the mailboxes listed, the status for each and how many items that have been synched to the mailbox that is provisioned in Exchange Online.

The mailboxes will go through a “validating”, “queued”, “syncing” and “synced” state.

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Figure 14:
Additional migration batch details

After a while (depending on number of mailboxes, size of the mailboxes and number of items in each mailbox), they will all eventually end up in a “synced” state as shown in Figure 15.

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Figure 15:
All mailboxes synced (aka completed)

With a mailbox moved, you can also choose to download/open the move request log for that particular mailbox. This is often relevant, if a mailbox has failed or have skipped items etc.

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Figure 16:
Move request log for a mailbox

Back in Figure 12, I chose to complete the migration batch manually, so once the mailbox data for each mailbox has been fully synched to Exchange Online, I need to click “Complete this migration batch” to finalize the migration batch.

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Figure 17:
Completing the migration batch

Click “yes”.

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Figure 18: Migration batch completion warning

After a little while, the status for the migration batch will changed to completed (remember to refresh the page) and the migration report will be sent to the recipient specified back in Figure 12.

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Figure 19: Migration batch completed

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Figure 20:
Email sent to specified recipient after migration batch has completed

This concludes part 30 of this multi-part article in which I provide you with an explanation of what Windows Azure is and how you configure an Exchange 2013 hybrid lab environment in Windows Azure.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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