To Synchronize Office365 or Not

Hi,

I am going to be migrating a client from SBS 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials for onsite file and server functions and Office365 for Mail/Exchange.  The question I have is whether I should configure Office365 to use directory synchronization (available in the Midsize business package) or Small Business Premium which then keeps the internal server and cloud services separate.

My first instinct was to use the directory synchronization for less management (single sign on, password,etc.).  But the more I read, the more warning I see about how this is a very permanent design choice, user configuration can no longer be done through the cloud interface, and is more complex to manage.

There are only 15 users max, without a lot of turnover, so it wouldn't be too much management if there are two user account lists.

For those that have taken on Office365 what is your suggestion.

Thanks,
Charles
WilMaTechAsked:
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Office 365 is fully integrated into Server 2012 Essentials and Server 2012 Essentials actually has its own synchronization tool.  So you don't need to worry about it.

Here are the details:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj593240.aspx

So, if you migrate the current mailboxes up to Office365, after you migrate your server over, you just assign the Office365 mailbox to the AD user account and your done.  When a new user is created in the future, it will automatically provision a mailbox in Office 365 (as long as there are available licenses).

Be sure to follow the official migration documentation to be sure you don't leave anything else out.
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WilMaTechAuthor Commented:
Thanks Jeffrey, that's really helpful information and links.  

Do you know if for the synchronization built in to Server Essentials to work, you need a specific Office365 plan?  Would it work with Small Business Premium, which officially doesn't include AD synchronization or would I have to get Midsize which says it does.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Yes it works with Small Business Premium.  It's a plug-in to Server 2012 Essentials and is not dependent on which Office 365 plan you get.

Jeff
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