Migrate From Exchange 2016 to Office 365: Steps and Considerations

When we enter the digital world the most preferred platform is we choose Office 365. It’s popular due to its productivity tools,...

When we enter the digital world the most preferred platform is we choose Office 365. It’s popular due to its productivity tools, 24*7 support, and collaboration features like Teams and SharePoint, making communication better.

If you have decided to move your entire data from On-Premise email platforms to cloud-based environments. Then, this is a little bit complex procedure, and if you are not familiar with the transition. So, it could be more difficult to migrate from Exchange 2016 to Office 365 as well as migrate from Hosted Exchange to Office 365 hassle-free.

It is recommended to execute the procedure after going through the entire guidelines of this transition. Within this comprehensive guide, you find all the credible approaches related to this query, so don’t skip any part of this.

Before starting with the instructions of the same, we will first understand the benefits of Microsoft 365 over an Exchange server.

Why Opt for Office 365 Instead of On-Premise Exchange Server?

There are many advantages offered by Microsoft 365 one of the main benefits to opt for this is that this is a cloud-based platform. With this users can easily access its data from anywhere, which enhances the remote work experience.

Moreover, there are other many features provided by the same because of which users have decided to migrate from Exchange 2016 to Office 365 including:

  1. Office 365 offers various subscription plans with which you can easily choose which type of productivity tools or services you want. Plus, with every plan MS provides 24*7 support if you are facing any issues. On the other hand, Exchange Server lacks many advanced features and is tedious to operate for a naive user.
  2. Microsoft 365 automatically updates its security measures and guarantees that it provides the full advantage of the latest technology. With the Exchange Server Admin has to update it manually which is a time-consuming procedure.
  3. With Online Exchange you gain the benefits of the productivity services like Teams, SharePoint, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, etc.
  4. The cloud-based environments(Office 365) provide robust security measures to protect your all information wisely.
  5. Suppose your data vanishes because of some reason. Then in this scenario Office 365 helps you to recover your entire data easily as the information is stored in the cloud. This ensures the risk of data loss at any time.

After reading about the merits of Online Exchange users have the curiosity to know the solutions of “how to move mailbox from Exchange 2016 to Office 365”. If yes, don’t worry since in the next part of the phase we will discuss the same.

Manual Approaches to Migrate From Exchange 2016 to Office 365

Before starting with the transition steps we will start learning why users need to proceed with the migrations which are as follows:

  • What does our organization hope to achieve with this move?
  • What data do we need to move?
  • How much money are we willing to spend and what will we get in return?
  • Is our team ready for this method?
  • How much data do we want to move and what kind?
  • Can our computers handle the way we’re moving things?
  • When can we start and how long will it take?
  • Is it safe, and what do other experts suggest?

With the above reasons, we understand that the basic reasons to migrate from Exchange 2016 to Office 365 depend on the needs of your organization or individual. However, to proceed with the transition Microsoft provides four different solutions which are cutover, staged, hybrid, and IMAP migration approaches.

If we talk about the compatibility of these traditional approaches, they are outlined below:

  1. Staged Migration: Exchange 2003 and 2007
  2. Cutover Migration: Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013
  3. Hybrid Migration: Exchange 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019
  4. IMAP Migration: Exchange Server 2007, or later versions

So, with the above explanation, it is evident that to migrate from Exchange 2016 to Office 365 there is only one manual approach which is hybrid migration. Let’s have a look at the instructions of the same:

Steps of the Hybrid Migration Method

To perform the task efficiently, here are the pre-requisites which you have to follow:

  • If you want to take your time moving Exchange data in a few weeks or less,

  • If you’re using Exchange 2010, 2013, or 2016 servers (not older than 2010),

  • If you plan to stop using directory synchronization for user management,

  • If you have a server to install the Azure Active Directory Synchronization tool.

First, you have to confirm the domain to migrate from Exchange 2016 to Office 365, and below are the outlined steps of the same:

  • Log in to your Office 365 admin account and go to Setup

  • Choose Domains to access the domain page

  • Click Add Domain on the Domain page to launch the domain wizard

  • Enter your on-premises Exchange server domain name in the Add a Domain section and proceed by clicking Next

  • You’ll see the Verify Domain page; select either Sign in to GoDaddy or Add a TXT record and click Next

  • Follow your DNS hosting provider’s instructions to confirm domain ownership

  • Add your TXT or MX record and wait up to 15 minutes before moving to the next step

  • Once done, click Done in the domain wizard, and then Finish on the verification page.

After completing this procedure start with the hybrid migration procedure to migrate from Exchange 2016 to Office 365:

Using global admin credentials, log in to Office 365 on the system connected to your on-premises Exchange Server. Access the Exchange Hybrid Configuration Wizard via the Data Migration page in the admin center and follow the steps.

  • Access the Office 365 admin center and navigate to Setup >> Data migration.

  • Choose Migration and click Exchange under Select your data service.

  • Proceed by clicking Next on the Hybrid Configuration Wizard page, using the default settings to connect to the Exchange Server.

  • On the Credential page, select Use current Windows credentials for on-premises Exchange Server. Enter admin credentials and click Next.

  • Select Minimal Hybrid Configuration on the Hybrid Features page, then click Next.

  • Lastly, click Update on the Ready for Update page to prepare on-premises mailboxes for migration.

  • Visit the Data Migration page and choose Setup >> Data Migration. Select Exchange from the Migration page.

  • Pick the user mailboxes for Office 365 migration and click Start migration.

So, it is evident from above that this approach seems to be complicated and lengthy. It is better to get help from automated approaches which we will cover further.

Migrate From Exchange 2016 to Office 365: Using Smart Solution

To proceed with the migration procedure luckily there is one utility known as SysTools Exchange to Office 365 Migration Tool. The important thing to know about this is that this has no limitations, Plus, if you need to transfer your information in bulk then this solution helps you to migrate data in one go.

It provided the features to Exchange On-Premise 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. Plus, this utility is compatible with Windows Server 2012, 2016 Windows 10 & 11 (64-bit), so you won’t face any compatibility issues with this.

Here are the steps of this approach to move mailbox from Exchange 2016 to Office 365:

Step 1. Download and launch the migration tool.

Step 2. Choose ‘Exchange’ as the source and ‘Office 365’ as the destination.

Step 3. Select desired categories (like emails, and contacts) in Workload Selection.

Step 4. Use Date Filter and Group Mapping for better control.

Step 5. Enter Exchange Server details (version, admin email, Active Directory).

Step 6. Provide Admin Email and Application ID in the Destination section.

Step 7. Add source users using Fetch Users, Import Users, or Download Template.

Step 8. Click ‘Start Migration’ to initiate the process smoothly.

With this utility, you can proceed with the migration task hassle-free, and overcome all the drawbacks of the traditional approach.

Final Words

Switching from Exchange Server to Office 365, whether from On-Premise 2010 or 2019, can be complicated. To proceed with the migration task simply, this guide explains a detailed manual method called Hybrid Migration, but it has several limitations. So, we’ve found an automated solution to migrate from Exchange 2016 to Office 365 flawlessly with its instructions.

Written by Harsh Sharma
I am a technical content writer and working in an IT company.

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