Thursday, May 23, 2024

Setup a Hybrid Exchange Environment

When it comes to migrating from your On Premises Exchange environment into Office 365, one of the easiest ways for co-existence is to setup and configure a Hybrid system. This means that the migration process can done over an extended time frame without adversely affecting any of the users. They can all communicate effectively with email, collaborate on meetings and share documents, regardless of whether they are still On Premises or in Office 365.

I have put together a walk through here using videos to describe all of the processes. As you will see by the video lengths, the total time spent is under an hour. Yes, that is the time that you can get a Hybrid setup completed provided you follow the steps and know your way around each of the items. This is what I am here to teach you.

A Hybrid Overview

In this first video, I talk through what Hybrid actually is and how it all works. This will give you a good grounding on what you are achieving here and is a great place to start.

On Premise Walk Through

Here I run through pretty quickly what the current On Premises system looks like. It shows the Domain Controllers and the Exchange Server that I am using, along with the basic layout of mailboxes. With this information we can then go ahead and start the actual configuration.

Creation of Office 365 Tenant

Obviously it is essential that you have an Office 365 Tenant. If you do not, then here is how to create one. It shows how to get this very initial configuration done and gives the Exchange On Premises system somewhere to connect to. Remember that this is a basic configuration and there are a lot of additional items that you may want to do to it. Feel free to configure these either before or after the Hybrid setup at your leisure. However you want to have all this done before users start logging in, or you have production data in the cloud.

Configure Azure AD Connect

This process connects the On Premises AD servers to the Office 365 Tenant to get all of your identities into the cloud. A key step that you want to follow closely. Remember that with OU segregation you do not need to have all of your identities there, but if you were to go back and ‘stop syncing’ a user, then their cloud identity is removed which prevents them from accessing the Office 365 Tenant and any data they have there. NB. This is held for 30 days, so if you made a mistake just resync the user and it all comes back! Good to know.

Quick Azure AD Sync

This is a quick extra video showing how you can force a sync from AD to Office 365 without waiting for the 30 minute schedule. Great if you are making lots of little changes and want to see their effects.

Run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard

Now to the actual configuration. Here we run the HCW and perform the binding of the On Premises Servers into Office 365. Follow this one carefully and you will have a working Hybrid system. Remember that once you complete the setup then the system is live!

Migrate a Test User

Before you want to get all excited and start migrating hundreds of users it is probably best to migrate just one and do some testing. Make it a dummy account that you can play with, one that doesn’t affect anybody. This next video shows how to migrate that single user and get them into Office 365.

Now that you have completed all the steps, welcome to Hybrid Exchange.

Next Steps

As an additional set of tasks I have included two here. They are for blocking access to Office 365 from other countries and for setting up Multi-Factor Authentication using a Conditional Access policy. Hope you find them useful.

Please remember to subscribe to the YouTube channel! Thank you.

Mark Rochester
Mark Rochester
Mark currently works in the cloud space assisting large companies to migrate from either on premises to the cloud, or cloud to cloud. His experience with Enterprise migrations spans more than 25 years which basically makes him old. However, with all the oldness creeping up he still finds technology massively exciting. Please reach out for a chat anytime you would like. :-)

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