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Exchange 2010 to Office 365 Hybrid or Staged?

A customer has this setup:

Onprem Exhange 2010 SP3
AdConnect sync working
Office 365: All users licensed and have mailboxes (that they not use yet)

For now they only use 365 for donwloading and installing Office PC applications.

Now they want to move their Exchange system to Office 365 as well. They insist on using Migrationwiz for transfering mailbox data, and they want to do it in batches/stages.

Which solution should we choose? Hybrid or staged and how about the mailflow when some mailboxes are transfered to 365 and other mailboxes are not and how will onprem/365 know when a mailbox is transfered if using migrationwiz for copying data.
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Todd Nelson
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Personally, I would recommend a hybrid migration from Exchange 2010 because it has the least amount of impact on the end users.  The Outlook profile is retained with all of its custom settings (i.e. name cache [aka auto-complete], signatures, OST file, etc.).

If you go with a staged migration, you will have to convert the user mailboxes to mail-enabled users (MEU) and create a new Outlook profile for each (assuming Outlook is the mail client).  These are not a fun or trivial tasks.  And if using Exchange cached mode, the mailbox will be re-downloaded after the mailbox is moved.

As far as MigrationWiz goes, I love the tool but there is a per mailbox price.  And if there are Outlook clients, it would be important to utilize DeploymentPro as well to reconfigure the Outlook profiles to retain the settings.  One thing to note is that unlike hybrid and staged migrations with MigrationWiz the mailbox are replicated (a copy on premises and a copy in O365).

Regarding mail flow for hybrid and staged, you will maintain the existing MX record(s) until all mailboxes are moved to O365.  So, mail will continue to be received by the on premises environment but then based on where the mailbox resides messages will be delivered to the appropriate location.

Regarding mail flow with MigrationWiz, it will be similar to a cutover where mail isn't delivered in a coexistence scenario like hybrid or staged unless you create forwarders to the associated O365 mailboxes or change MX record(s) to O365.

Hope that helps.
What is your user base? Do you have application or servers, which uses Exchange server extensively? Provide these details to answer further.
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Amit we have approx 200 users accessing Exchange using Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2016 and smartphones Android, IOS, BlackBerry

I think we will go for the Hybrid. You say the outlook profiles are retained if using hybrid, but you also say that if using Migrationwiz we have to use Deployment Pro to reconfigure Outlook. I don't understand then or  do you meen that Deployment Pro is only if we would do a staged migration?

Again I think we will do a Hybrid setup and use Migrationwiz for mailbox data copying. Should we then use forwarding on the mailboxes fully copied?
In your case cut-over migration is best.

But I think a cutover will give more end user support or can we retain Outlook and smartphone settings. Will autodiscover just take care of all that?
Yes, some extra work required for cut-over migration. However, as your user base is only 200, it can be done easily. Refer:

Again, if you still prefer for hybrid, you can go with hybrid. I am recommending, what MS vendor recommended for office 365 migration. As per Exchange deployment assistant tool.
BitTitan MigrationWiz is a third party vendor tool to migrate mailboxes and BitTitan DeploymentPro is a third party vendor tool to reconfigure Outlook profiles.

With a hybrid migration you don't need any third party tools--namely BitTitan in this example.  The hybrid migration allows you to migrate mailboxes using the Office 365 Exchange Admin Console.  No third party tools are needed for migration or Outlook reconfiguration.
All users have mailboxes already in Office 365. Migrationwiz will copy mailbox data. What we need is the best way to minimize postmigration tasks and enduser support.

The customer want to do it in phases of groups of users, so there wil be a period of time where some users will access their onprem mailbox data and other users will access their O365 mailbox data.

We need to ensure the following:
  • Mailflow to the mailbox where the receiving user is accessing it.
  • Autodiscover coexistence. Some users will need autodiscover against onprem exchange while other users will need autodiscover against O365 (free/busy information must work across users accessing onprem and users accessing Exchange Online)
  • Hopefully not have to reconfigure users Outlook profiles
  • Hopefully not have to reconfigure smartphones Android, IOS, BlackBerry
  • Decommision onprem Exchange safely when all users are accessing Exchange Online

I agree that no third party tools are needed for the hybrid, but the custome insists on using Migrationwiz, and thats what brings me a lot of questions.
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Todd Nelson
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Thanks Todd. But how about mail delivery in the period of the project when some users are accessing their 365 mailbox and some users are accessing their onprem mailbox. And the same about outlook connectivity.
The best bet is to consider Exchange Server Deployment Assistance a web based application just you have to select what kind of deployment you were interested and then its provide you step-wise instructions to get this job done. To plan and implement a hybrid migration, you can use Exchange Server Deployment Assistant. For details, please visit: Plan an Exchange Online hybrid deployment in Office 365

For the detailed steps of staged migration, you can visit: Perform a staged migration of email to Office 365

There are many paths to migrate data from an on-premises email organization to Exchange Online in Office 365. When planning a migration to Exchange Online, a common question is about how to improve the performance of data migration. Here is an article for exchange online migration performance and best practices.

Mail flow best practices for Exchange Online and Office 365 (overview):

Hope this helps!
With hybrid and staged, the user connects to wherever the mailbox resides--if on premises, then Outlook remains connected to the mailbox on premises; if in Exchange Online, Outlook automatically is reconfigured and connected to the mailbox in Exchange Online.

With MigrationWiz, the user remains connected to their on premises mailboxes until all mailboxes have been migrated.  Then after a cutover of DNS, you will use DeploymentPro to reconfigure Outlook to connect to their mailboxes in Exchange Online.

Mail Flow...
With hybrid and staged, mail is delivered on premises and then based on the "targetAddress" attribute or the whether a mailbox has been converted to an MEU, mail is delivered to wherever the mailbox resides on premises or Exchange Online.  It's seamless.  When all of the mailboxes have been moved to Exchange Online, DNS is cutover (by you) then mail is delivered directly to Exchange Online.

With MigrationWiz, all mail is delivered on premises until the DNS cutover (by you), unless you created forwarders to forward the mail to Exchange Online.

I have now a Hybrid setup running (I think)

I have troubles mooving my first testmailbox from onprom to 365: I have created a new question for that here:
I give up on moving the mailboxes in the hybrid setup. I will go for migrationwiz.