Exchange 2019: Migrate from another version or to Hosted Exchange

Companies today are either migrating email to Microsoft Office 365, Google, or to a partner that has Hosted Exchange. Now you may be thinking, migrations are a real pain because you have to export mail, and the PST files become too big and end up corrupting, and it is just time-consuming. Well, if you had to do that, yes, it does take quite a bit of time. The biggest challenge today with companies running legacy versions of Exchange (Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2007) means they cannot introduce Exchange 2019. Exchange 2019 only supports environments with Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016. Generally, it would have to be a two-step approach. They would need to introduce a newer version of Exchange, perform the migration, decommission the old Exchange servers and then introduce Exchange 2019 and then migrate again. Depending on the size of the org, this can take months and also includes frustration for users. In this article, I want to talk to you about two platforms that I have worked with that do migrations from your on-premises Exchange Server to a Hosted Exchange or to Microsoft 365 without the need to bring in new hardware and new Exchange servers.

exchange 2019 with exchange 2016
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We will be talking about:

  • MigrationWiz
  • CodeTwo

Now, you can also use them to do migrations from legacy to a new forest, for example, in your environment, or if your company has been acquired by another company, you can do the migration across as well. There are a few scenarios. Right, so how does this work? Let’s look at MigrationWiz.

MigrationWiz

This is a high-level overview of doing a migration. Here are the steps involved:

  • Create a MigrationWiz project and load/add your customer information.
  • You need to add an endpoint (source). This would be from the customer’s Exchange Server or could be from Google or Microsoft 365.
  • You need to add an endpoint (destination). This would be the provider you migrating to or the new company or simply moving from your old forest to a new one.
  • You now need to select the items you want to migrate. This can be public folders, email for individual users, or multiple users. Select your migration option. Is it going to be a backfill or a straight cutover?
  • Lastly, you need to start your migration.

Bear in mind that it does take a hit on your line with the migrations. You need to also be aware that there is a cost involved to do this. You can head over to MigrationWiz (BitTitan) for pricing.

You might want to only do the first month’s email and calendars as an example for all users and then slowly migrate the rest of the data or if you want to move immediately, then do a cutover. Just remember, you might need to ask your ISP to assist with additional bandwidth while you do the migration.

CodeTwo

exchange domain controllers

The next tool you can work with is called CodeTwo. They have a whole lot of migration options. Here are some of the options you can look at:

  • Exchange-to-Exchange migrations.
  • Microsoft 365 to Exchange migrations.
  • Cross-forest or cross-domain migrations.
  • Migrate from legacy versions of Exchange to Exchange 2019.
  • Supports cutover, staged, and hybrid migrations.
  • Supports migrations from G Suite, Zimbra, and any other IMAP servers.

Here are some steps about the Exchange-to-Exchange migration:

  • CodeTwo works with Exchange Web Services (EWS) as the preferred protocol for performing the migration.
  • The program is installed in the source domain.

There is a whole checklist/manual of things you need to perform, which I’m not going to cover in too much detail. CodeTwo gives you the option to try the product out for 30 days before purchasing it. As with MigrationWiz, please check CodeTwo’s website for purchasing information.

There you have two tools that can assist you with your migrations. I have seen some companies export all users’ email to PST, trash the entire Active Directory, build new Exchange 2019 servers, and presented the users with new mailboxes and imported the PST files. It is a bit risky doing that as you never know when a PST file will get corrupted, and you lose data.

So to recap, here are the options for performing migrations to Exchange 2019:

  • Using a third party like MigrationWiz
  • Using a third party like CodeTwo
  • Performing a double-hop migration where you install Exchange 2016 and then migrate everyone off Exchange 2010 and then decommission the Exchange 2010 servers and install Exchange 2019 and then perform the same migration over again.
  • Export all email to PST and then build a new forest and import the PST files again.

When you migrate to Exchange 2019, consider data integrity

Just remember, when you are doing migrations, data integrity is crucial. You do not want to lose data, whether it is for a client or for your company. Get proposals from both and showcase it to your manager or to the client’s management support team and let them decide which way they would like to go with the migrations.

Don’t forget to check the bandwidth for your customer or company to ensure that you have enough to do migrations as well as have enough for users to perform their daily tasks, especially when they work on the Internet.

If you want to move your data to Mimecast as a provider, for example, they will send you an encrypted hard drive where you can copy all the PST files.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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