We are planning to migrate to Office 365 - Exchange Online (broadening to Lync and SharePoint at a later stage). We have a number of staff who will form a pilot team and test the new functionality. We would need them to experience it as close to what it will be as possible, so ideally this will be will be with their current AD and on-premise Exchange accounts.

We have an on-premise Exchange 2010 server so I understand we wouldn't be able to use a staged migration to migrate some staff but not others. Am I therefore correct in thinking that we would have to go to a hybrid deployment, move their mailboxes to O365 and that's it or are there any other considerations?
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Vasil Michev (MVP)Commented:
Staged migration and hybrid deployment are two very different things, the second goes beyond mailbox migration and offers a lot more functionality.

If possible, best option is to have hybrid with AD FS in order to use the same set of credentials. This might be a bit overkill for small companies, so a bit more input from you is needed to give you the best option. Using dirsync with passwrod sync instead of AD FS might be more relevant to small companies, although not the same.

Another thing to consider is the number of users you want for the pilot, the default trial accounts come with 25 licenses each. For anything more you will have to contact your MS partner.
HypervizorAuthor Commented:

So if we use hybrid (we're not worried about single sign-on as with DirSync I understand this has password sync and therefore will provide same sign-on) we can then migrate the pilot users across, complete the pilot and if OK, batch / fully migrate everyone across?

No other considerations?
Vasil Michev (MVP)Commented:
Well hybrid is a big consideration, you need additional configuration (at least one on-prem 2010 SP3 server), public certificate, etc. It will however give you the best experience, mailboxes will be migrated by means of remote mailboxes move, you will keep unified GAL and free/busy access with the on-prem mailboxes, etc. With hybrid you can configure advanced mailflow scenarios, on- and off-board users as you deem necessary and manage both organizations from your on-prem Exchange.

Take a look at the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant if you havent done so already for all the little details:


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