Introduction to Exchange Online- Uncovering BPOS (Part 6) – Cleaning up and decommissioning on-premise Exchange servers

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

 

 

 

Introduction

 

In part 5 of this article series in which we take a deep dive into Exchange Online, we enabled a few of the disabled user accounts in the MSOL Administration Center, and then installed the Microsoft Online (MSOL) migration tools so we could migrate actual mailbox content from the on-premise Exchange mailboxes to MSOL user mailboxes.

 

In this part 6 of this article series in which we take a deep dive into Exchange Online, we will clean up our on-premise environment, re-route inbound e-mail to Exchange Online and look at how you access your Exchange Online mailbox using various e-mail clients.

 

Deleting the On-Premise Mailbox for Users Migrated to MSOL

 

With our 10 Test users migrated to Exchange Online, the next step would be to delete the on-premise mailbox for these users. Currently messages sent to the migrated test users from senders on the Internet not part of the Exchange organization or users in our on-premise environment will be delivered both to the test user’s on-premise mailbox and Exchange Online mailbox.

 

To delete the on-premise mailbox of the migrated test users launch the MSOL Migration Tools console, and then select the Mailboxes Already Migrated node in the navigation pane as shown in Figure 1. Then mark the 10 test users and click Delete local Mailboxes in the Action pane.

 


Figure 1: Marking Mailboxes that should be deleted

 

We will now be presented with the Delete Mailbox wizard’s Welcome page (Figure 2). Take note of the warning and click Next.

 


Figure 2: Delete Mailbox wizard – Welcome page

 

On the Review Mailboxes page (Figure 3), click Delete.

 


Figure 3: Delete Mailbox wizard – Review Mailboxes page

 

The mailboxes of the selected users will now be deleted and the AD user objects will be converted to Mail User objects (mail-enabled users). Click Finish.

 

Note:
Although the mailboxes of the test users will be deleted, they will only be in a disconnected state. That is the mailboxes, per the mailbox retention settings, will be held in the respective Mailbox database for a period of 30 days before they will be permanently deleted. So within 30 days after the mailbox has been deleted, you are able to re-connect it to an AD user of your choice.

 


Figure 4: Mailboxes have been deleted successfully

 

With the on-premise mailboxes deleted, let’s open the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and select the Mail Contact node under the Recipient Configuration work center (Figure 5). Here you should see the ten test users as Mail Users.

 


Figure 5: AD users converted to Mail Users

 

Let us open the property page of test user 1. As you can see in Figure 6, the Mail User is configured to be visible in the Global Address List.

 


Figure 6: Mail Users visible in the GAL

 

Let us now select the E-Mail addresses tab (Figure 7). Here you can see that all e-mail is forwarded to [email protected]

 


Figure 7: Forwarding address for Mail Users

 

Sidebar: Remove forwarding for migrated users

 

If you want to roll back some of the user mailboxes that has been migrated to Exchange Online (for which the mailboxes has not been removed yet), you would need to remove the forwarding address, so that mail once again are delivered to the users local mailboxes. Of course you would need to do so before you delete the on-premise mailbox. Otherwise you have to create an AD user and configure it accordingly.

 

To remove forwarding for one or more migrated users, mark the users in the MSOL Migration Tools console, then click Remove forwarding in the Action pane (Figure 8).

 


Figure 8: Remove forwarding for a migrated user

 

This opens the Remove forwarding wizard shown in Figure 9. Click Next.

 


Figure 9: Remove Forwarding wizard – Welcome page

 

On the Review Mailboxes page (Figure 10), click Remove and then Finish.

 


Figure 10: Remove forwarding wizard – Review Mailboxes page

 

All messages sent to these users from senders not part of the Exchange organization or on-premise users will now be delivered to the on-premise mailbox only. Bear in mind though that an e-mail message sent from a user that has been migrated to Exchange Online will end up in the mailbox on Exchange Online even though forwarding has been removed in the on-premise environment. This fix this issue, the user must be deleted in the MSOL Administration Center followed by a re-synchronization with the DirSync tool.

 

Switching your MX record to point to Exchange Online

 

If/when you have migrated all mailboxes to Exchange Online and you do not plan on keeping any Exchange 2007 servers in your on-premise environment (run in a hybrid mode), next step would be to re-route incoming mail from the Internet to Exchange Online.

 

Note:
If you have a large complex Exchange organization where you plan to keep some of your servers or users in the on-premise environment you may not want to switch inbound e-mail to Exchange Online but rather have it forwarded to Exchange Online via your on-premise Exchange transport servers.

 

To re-route incoming e-mail to Exchange Online, open the MSOL Administration Center, and click on the Domains subsub underneath the Users tab (Figure 11).

 


Figure 11: Domains tab in the MSOL Administration Center
Now open the property page of your domain. Notice External Relay is currently enabled. Select Authoritative and click Save.

 


Figure 12: Making MSOL authroitative for our domain

 

Now open the property page of the domain again and then select the Inbound Messaging tab and click Enable.

 


Figure 13: Enabling inbound messaging

 

Read the note and click Enable once more.

 


Figure 14: Note on enabling Inbound Messaging for our domain

 

We have now enabled inbound messaging and the next step is to change the MX record for the domain on the DNS server hosting our domain. Instead of pointing to our on-premise envronment it should be configured to point to Mail.Global.Frontbridge.com which is the Internet host through which all inbound messages to Exchange Online users are routed.

 


Figure 15: Inbound Messaging successfully enabled

 

Most DNS providers allow you to modify your MX record via a web-based interface as shown in Figure 16.

 


Figure 16: Updating the MX record at our DNS provider

 

When the MX record has been updated, we can switch back to the MSOL Administration Center and verify that the changes were reflected. To do so, open the property page of the domain and then select the Verification tab.

 


Figure 17: Verifying the MX record change has reflected in MSOL Administration Center

 

Note:
My tests showed that a MX record change were reflected in the MSOL Administration center within few minutes, but in worst case it can take up to 72 hours.

 

When all your users have been migrated to Exchange Online and you have re-routed incoming mail to Exchange Online, you can begin decommissioning your Exchange servers. After decommissioning any Exchange servers you may have in your on-premise environment, the migration to Exchange Online has been completed.

 

Congratulations!

 

Accessing Exchange Online Mailboxes using various E-Mail Clients

 

This very last section in this article (actually in the whole article series) will explain how you access an Exchange Online mailbox using various e-mail clients.

 

To begin with we will take a look at the MSOL Sign-In application. This application, once installed and configured, makes it possible for your end-users to open Outlook on their machine without getting prompted for credentials.

 

To install the MSOL Sign-In application, first download the setup files from the MSOL Administration Center (Figure 18).

 


Figure 18: Download MSOL Sign-In Application from the Administration Center

 

With the Setup file downloaded, execute setup. On the Welcome page (Figure 19), click Next.

 


Figure 19: Setup Wizard – Welcome page

 

Accept the License Agreement and click Next (Figure 20).

 


Figure 20: License Agreement

 

Specify an installation path and click Next (Figure 21) and then Install.

 


Figure 21: Specifying an installation path

 

When setup has completed, click Finish (Figure 22).

 


Figure 22: Setup completed successfully

 

Now accept the MSOL Customer Portal License Agreement and click Next (Figure 23).

 


Figure 23: MSOL Customer Portal License Agreement

 

You now need to enter the credentials of the respective Exchange Online user.

 


Figure 24: Entering credentials of Exchange Online user

 

If this is the first time you logon to MSOL, you will be prompted to change your password (Figure 25).

 


Figure 25: Changing your password

 

In order to achieve an uninterrupted user experience, you are now told to close all browser windows you may have open. Do so and click Continue (Figure 26).

 


Figure 26: Close any open browser windows

 

Now make sure Outlook is checked and then click Apply Configuration (Figure 27).

 


Figure 27: Applying configuration

 

The MSOL Sign-In application will now launch Outlook and automatically configure the Outlook profile (Figure 28).

 


Figure 28: Outlook profile being created

 

If we open the Outlook Connection window (can be done by holding down CTRL while right-clicking on the Outlook icon in the system tray and then selecting Connection Status window), we can see that Outlook will establish the necessary connections to the global catalog and Exchange servers (Figure 29).

 


Figure 29: Outlook Connection Status window

 

Since Outlook is configured in cached mode, it will take a few minutes before your local copy of the mailbox is synchronized.

 

You can now start using Outlook just like you did when you connect to an on-premise mailbox.

 

Next time you reboot your computer the MSOL Sign-In application will start automatically and log in with the credentials you specified earlier on, which means that you would not be prompted for credentials when you launch Outlook via the normal Outlook shortcut.

 

Note:
If you have many users on Exchange online and all of them needs to access their mailbox using Outlook, you’re probably interested in having the MSOL Sign-In application automatically deployed to your end-users workstations. Good news is that the guys over at the Microsoft Online blog have posted an .adm file you can use to deploy the application using GPOs. You can find the .adm file here.

 

Accessing your Exchange Online Mailbox via Outlook Web Access (OWA)

 

Here are the URLs available for accessing your Exchange Online mailbox via OWA:

 

 

  1. If your mailboxes are located in the US datacenters, click here.
  2. If your mailboxes are located in the EMEA datacenters, click here.
  3. If your mailboxes are located in the APAC datacenters, click here.

 

Finally you have the option of launching OWA via the MSOL Sign In application (Figure 30).

 


Figure 30: Launching OWA via the MSOL Sign-In application

 

Exchange ActiveSync

 

In order to configure a Windows Mobile device (or another other device supporting Exchange ActiveSync protocol), you should use the following URL: yourdomain.microsoftonline.com

 

Outlook Anywhere

 

When you want to access your Exchange Online mailbox via the Outlook client, you should make sure the Outlook profile is created by the MSOL Sign In application as described above.

 

We have reached the end of our BPOS journey, I hope you liked it.

 

Summary

 

In this part 6 of this article series, we cleaned up our on-premise environment, re-routed inbound e-mail to Exchange Online and looked at how you could access your Exchange Online mailbox using various e-mail clients.

 

 

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

 

 

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