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Looking for someone who has completed O365 migration and decommissioned Exchange env.

Posted on 2013-05-28
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Last Modified: 2013-05-29
Hello Everyone,
I am looking for someone who has completed an Office 365 migration AND then decommissioned their entire Exchange environment (or if you haven't, I'm interested in what your plans are for your MX server).  

I am investigating Office365 and trying to find out if it's possible to use SSO and dirsync without maintaining an on-premise Exchange server.  Microsoft support recommends keeping an MX server on premise to manage some settings but, I'm concerned that this recommendation is short-sighted.  I started a thread about it on their forum...

http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/613/p/163308/479206.aspx 

It would be great if I could discuss this with someone who has actually completed this transition.
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Question by:Scottbem
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Schnell Solutions
ID: 39201717
Hello,

We have completed many Office365 transitions with different methods: CutOver, StagedMigration and Hybrid mode using (ADFS and DyrSync). But it is like is listed in the link that you wrote, the Hybrid mode preferably will require the OnPremise server
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Author Comment

by:Scottbem
ID: 39201898
Hi schnellsolutions,
I prefer to not have an Exchange server on premise.  We are only a 40 person company and it doesn't make much sense to maintain an on-prem MX server if I don't have to.  

What I really would like is to maintain ADFS, dirsync AND manage email in the O365 console.  

Did you find that you needed the on prem MX server for anything?
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

by:
Schnell Solutions earned 750 total points
ID: 39204282
nope,

On premise MX servers were used pointing to the OnPremises servers with the hybrid implementation, in the cases where the emails are received first by the onpremises servers and if the mailbox is not there them route the email to the Office365 mailbox (With the Hybrid implementation both platforms coexist). Sometimes it happens that clients having the Hybrid mode they decide to have all the mailboxes in the cloud, so in that case they have change their MX records to point to Office365 in order to simplify the structure (Here OnPremise records are not needed anymore)


In another hand, when using the cutover or the staged migration these records are replaced by the Office365 ones, because in this cases the onpremises servers are completely eliminated


The problem here is exactly what you express... Hybrid mode is much more confortable and automatized from the administrative perspective, but it is oriented to medium and big size companies with more than 1,000 mailboxes, in this way it justify to have an OnPremise implementation in order to simplify the administration. And anyway these environments really have an hybrid because they can have mailboxes in both platforms. But with a small business must of the time is not worth to keep with the OnPremise implementation (Many of the cloud benefits are gone)
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LVL 42

Assisted Solution

by:Vasil Michev (MVP)
Vasil Michev (MVP) earned 750 total points
ID: 39204514
Yes it is possible to use ONLY dirsync and SSO, you do not need any local Exchange servers for this. It is however important to understand, that in such situation you will have to manage the accounts from your local AD, so having at least the AD schema extended with the Exchange attributes will be great help (otherwise you will have issues with adding aliases, permissions, etc).

The other option is to simply keep one Exchange server running locally, so you can take advantage of the EMC, however this is not mandatory.
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Author Comment

by:Scottbem
ID: 39204551
Thanks guys, I've been talking to MS support as well regarding SSO and Dirsync and keeping an on prem MX server.  I just got an email back from them this morning and they "strongly recommend" keeping an Exchange server around (no matter what type of migration you use) AND they also recommend keeping it current (a statement I didn't see in any documentation).  

I'm going to ask them about whether or not I need CALs and will post what they respond with.  

I was hoping for an easy way to get rid of my Exchange 2003 server without having to upgrade it but, it looks like that won't be possible.  Guess I'm in for a fun time whether I choose to use Office 365 or not.
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