Exchange Online Migration From POP3



  • Our POP3 provider is shutting down their POP3 server on August 31st, so this has forced us (which is a good thing) into Exchange Online. We got our quote, link to setup account and approval to proceed from our Office Manager. I've done several searches for best practices and even consulted another forum with some questions but no straight talk and conflicting info. Tip of the hat to the ML community in that I tend to find the best advice here.

    Oh, and I have a weeks vacation next week too. SO, 3 days remaining this week and then I had planned to come back head first into the migration on the 18th. Unless I could do it the next three days.

    SO my questions are:

    • Can the POP3 and new Exchange Online be running at the same time, even after various DNS MX entry changes?

    • Do I need a downtime night? Or can I do this progressively?

    • We will be uploading PST files as, for years, we just downloaded POP3 mail to PST files to local hard drives that were not backed up. So, I know I'll need time for that. I was planning on starting with the low usage email users first and working my way up.

    • Is there a good guide online to this kind of migration? I feel I can search well but not finding a good, handy guide to this.

    I found this article about keeping the POP3 and Exchange Online up at the same time: thoughts? http://community.office365.com/en-us/w/exchange/786.simple-domain-sharing-for-smtp-email-addresses.aspx

    Thanks!
    Brian



  • I did this for a small customer a short time ago (though they were on another hosted Exchange solution, not using POP3 - so you'll actually have an easier time with it).

    Can the POP3 and new Exchange Online be running at the same time, even after various DNS MX entry changes?

    Yes, Sorta. Once you change the MX records (hopefully only with ones containing the O365 information) all new mail will go to Office 365.
    Once the change is made, I'd create an entirely new Outlook profile (you are using Outlook, right?) and connect to your Office 365 account. You can add a second connection to your new Outlook profile that is a connection to your POP3 account. If the naming convention that you used to connect to the old POP3 was the same as the name for the MX records, you'll have to use a local host file to fake out these clients until DNS propagation is complete and you no longer need to connect to the POP3 provider.
    Example of this: Let's say your MX record is Mail.acme.com and your POP3 server is also Mail.acme.com, when you change the IP address for Mail.acme.com, you won't be able to connect to the POP3 site any longer by name, you have two choices, either create an entry in your local host file to force your computer to the old IP, or if you client allows (I'm not sure if Outlook does or not) you might be able to put the IP address of the POP3 server instead of a FQDN (in this case Mail.acme.com)

    You will set all mail received from the POP3 to be delivered to your Office365 inbox, by passing any need for a local PST file.

    Do I need a downtime night? Or can I do this progressively?

    I can't see any way to do this progressively, that said, you could visit all of your users and setup their new Outlook profiles connected to Office365 and the POP3 as noted above before switching the MX records, additionally you'd need/want to connect their old PST files so the users have access to their old email until you are able to import the old PSTs into Office365.
    In this scenerio, your mail would still be delivered to your POP3 account, but your Outlook client will pull down the mail and instantly send it to your Office 365 account, no longer putting new messages into the local PST.

    We will be uploading PST files as, for years, we just downloaded POP3 mail to PST files to local hard drives that were not backed up. So, I know I'll need time for that. I was planning on starting with the low usage email users first and working my way up

    Sounds good to me.

    If you were using an online type of webmail, it might have been possible to suck the messages directly from the server into Office365, but since you have it all in PSTs you'll have to upload from those.

    How many users do you have?



  • @Dashrender

    We are right at 50 users and purchased 55 licenses for future use...17 on E1 and the rest on basic email only. 5 are in the field and would need me to send them directions on changing the settings in their phone/tablets.



  • Your Office365 partner will probably do all of this for you.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Your Office365 will probably do all of this for you.

    Huh?



  • @garak0410 said:

    @Dashrender

    We are right at 50 users and purchased 55 licenses for future use...17 on E1 and the rest on basic email only. 5 are in the field and would need me to send them directions on changing the settings in their phone/tablets.

    Why pay for licenses you're not using? You can literally add new users any time.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @garak0410 said:

    @Dashrender

    We are right at 50 users and purchased 55 licenses for future use...17 on E1 and the rest on basic email only. 5 are in the field and would need me to send them directions on changing the settings in their phone/tablets.

    Why pay for licenses you're not using? You can literally add new users any time.

    With the office manager only wanting to be billed once a year with no autodraft on the card on a monthly charge, she made the decision to buy extra...didn't question it...



  • @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Your Office365 will probably do all of this for you.

    Huh?

    Sorry. The word partner got missed.



  • You can always run email servers side by side. MX records determine where the email goes.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Your Office365 partner will probably do all of this for you.

    How does the partner create new profiles on the end user machines?



  • @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Your Office365 partner will probably do all of this for you.

    How does the partner create new profiles on the end user machines?

    Same way as anyone else. You grant access. Many partners have migration teams that do this stuff.



  • @scottalanmiller They wanted $5,000 to assist...I was thinking this wouldn't be too hard, even if I had to do it all in an evening...



  • @garak0410 said:

    @scottalanmiller They wanted $5,000 to assist...I was thinking this wouldn't be too hard, even if I had to do it all in an evening...

    We are a partner that often does free migrations. Desktop profiles are never free but that price seems awfully high for so few users.

    Did the partner offer something really compelling to make them a great option?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @garak0410 said:

    @scottalanmiller They wanted $5,000 to assist...I was thinking this wouldn't be too hard, even if I had to do it all in an evening...

    We are a partner that often does free migrations. Desktop profiles are never free but that price seems awfully high for so few users.

    Did the partner offer something really compelling to make them a great option?

    No...except lowest price I could get...



  • @garak0410 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @garak0410 said:

    @scottalanmiller They wanted $5,000 to assist...I was thinking this wouldn't be too hard, even if I had to do it all in an evening...

    We are a partner that often does free migrations. Desktop profiles are never free but that price seems awfully high for so few users.

    Did the partner offer something really compelling to make them a great option?

    No...except lowest price I could get...

    But that said, I've YET to complete the sign up so they have not been given credit for it... :0



  • You kinda need downtime. There is a period of time

    Isn't the price set my MS? The price comes from them not the partners. We, as a partner, can't vary the price only raise the service level.



  • Can I ask what price you got?



  • Back in topic....

    You don't need downtime per se. But...

    You have many hours while the MX records propagate. During that time it is best to not have people using the email if you can help it.



  • Uploading PSTs can be done after the core migration is done.



  • Generally the main migration you want to do in a single shot. Like Friday night into Saturday.

    Then once new emails are working and everyone is functional you look to migrate historic emails.



  • @scottalanmiller has pretty much nailed this one.
    But I suggest changing the TTL on your MX records to something extremely short a week before your migrate. This will simply let mail flow to the new destination faster.
    Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.25.53 PM.png

    Then setup Office 365. Get Outlook configured on all of the clients and send out an email with the information on how to connect their mobile device. Then flip the DNS and wait for mail to flow in.
    Once mail is flowing in, hit each user and drag/drop their email from the PST folder to the new Office 365 folder. Outlook will then handle getting the old email sent up to Office 365.
    Finally nuke the local PST files after August 31st and you have confirmed that each user is fully in sync



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Can I ask what price you got?

    For E1: $8.00 a person
    For Just Exchange; $4.00 a person



  • I haven't read every single post on the thread so forgive me if I repeat something someone says.

    1. Do not buy more licenses then you need right now there is no reason at all very easy to add and subtract as needed
    2. $5,000 to do a migration for 50 users!! Wow they are nuts. That is a MASSIVE amount of $$ for a small migration.
    3. SAM is right 🙂


  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Back in topic....

    You don't need downtime per se. But...

    You have many hours while the MX records propagate. During that time it is best to not have people using the email if you can help it.

    I was thinking a Friday Night...going around to every workstation, setting up the new mail server info and then uploading the PST's. I'll send our mobile users home with directions on how to update their mobile devices (I am sure I'll get calls).

    I was hoping I could at least set myself up on the new system and then slowly roll people to it...saw an article where people could still be on the POP3 (see original post) and on the new system but wasn't sure if that applied to my situation.



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    I haven't read every single post on the thread so forgive me if I repeat something someone says.

    1. Do not buy more licenses then you need right now there is no reason at all very easy to add and subtract as needed
    2. $5,000 to do a migration for 50 users!! Wow they are nuts. That is a MASSIVE amount of $$ for a small migration.
    3. SAM is right 🙂

    Can I go ahead and get Exchange Online and purchased and mess around in the "control panel" before rolling out? I know nothing will happen until the MX records are updated but just wanted to make double sure. Would like to get in and enter users info, set up address book, etc.

    Also, the reason we purchased extra licenses is we only want to pay once a year and if we add during the year, it is a payment away from the yearly mark. Office manager was totally against monthly draft on our company card.



  • @garak0410

    You can go ahead and get things setup and even use the email until your MX records are updated your email would just be something like [email protected]
    Go play to your hearts content 🙂

    Ahh ok the extra licenses make sense though, even from the management side of things I do not understand paying for more money per year to make it a once a year bill. Save money that makes a little more sense.



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    @garak0410

    You can go ahead and get things setup and even use the email until your MX records are updated your email would just be something like [email protected]
    Go play to your hearts content 🙂

    Ahh ok the extra licenses make sense though, even from the management side of things I do not understand paying for more money per year to make it a once a year bill. Save money that makes a little more sense.

    I agree but I've learned to just "go with it" on her decisions... 🙂 The problem is, though, if we find out that people may be better suited with the E1 plan and we want to move them up to it, we'll still have to pay then and there. 🙂

    I am checking our MX records information now and may post a question about that....you guys rock!



  • @Dashrender said:

    I can't see any way to do this progressively, that said, you could visit all of your users and setup their new Outlook profiles connected to Office365 and the POP3 as noted above before switching the MX records, additionally you'd need/want to connect their old PST files so the users have access to their old email until you are able to import the old PSTs into Office365.
    In this scenerio, your mail would still be delivered to your POP3 account, but your Outlook client will pull down the mail and instantly send it to your Office 365 account, no longer putting new messages into the local PST.

    This would seem to be a pretty good way to have the users experience as little change as possible.
    Here are some steps:

    1. create all users on Exchange
      a) log into the web interface for one user and make sure you can send an email from that account and it appears to be coming from your domain, if not, you need to fix this first
    2. create DNS records for autodiscover as directed by MS (DO NOT CHANGE THE MX RECORD, yet)
    3. create new local Outlook profiles for everyone
      a) connect users to O365
      b) attach POP3 account to profile, delivery of the POP3 items needs to go to Office 365
      c) Import contacts only from PST to O365 (contacts alone won't take but a min or two on average)
      d) attach their PST file to that profile (they'll have two sets of inboxes, sent mail, etc, but at least they will have access to their old email)
      e) TEST
    4. Now you can change your MX record to O365's settings. You'll start receiving your new mail directly in O365
    5. after at least double your MX records TTL (if set to 24 hours, wait 48 hours) you can visit the client workstations and
      a) remove the POP3 account from the Outlook profile
      b) disconnect the PST file
      c) import the contents of the PST to O365 (depending on the size and how fast your internet connection is, this might take a while)

    The issue I see with these steps is that you'll probably end up with doubled contacts. You did the first contact import so that users would have access to their contacts in O365 immediately. I suppose if you deleted them all from the PST before disconnecting it in step 5b you wouldn't have any double up.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @Dashrender said:

    I can't see any way to do this progressively, that said, you could visit all of your users and setup their new Outlook profiles connected to Office365 and the POP3 as noted above before switching the MX records, additionally you'd need/want to connect their old PST files so the users have access to their old email until you are able to import the old PSTs into Office365.
    In this scenerio, your mail would still be delivered to your POP3 account, but your Outlook client will pull down the mail and instantly send it to your Office 365 account, no longer putting new messages into the local PST.

    This would seem to be a pretty good way to have the users experience as little change as possible.
    Here are some steps:

    1. create all users on Exchange
      a) log into the web interface for one user and make sure you can send an email from that account and it appears to be coming from your domain, if not, you need to fix this first
    2. create DNS records for autodiscover as directed by MS (DO NOT CHANGE THE MX RECORD, yet)
    3. create new local Outlook profiles for everyone
      a) connect users to O365
      b) attach POP3 account to profile, delivery of the POP3 items needs to go to Office 365
      c) Import contacts only from PST to O365 (contacts alone won't take but a min or two on average)
      d) attach their PST file to that profile (they'll have two sets of inboxes, sent mail, etc, but at least they will have access to their old email)
      e) TEST
    4. Now you can change your MX record to O365's settings. You'll start receiving your new mail directly in O365
    5. after at least double your MX records TTL (if set to 24 hours, wait 48 hours) you can visit the client workstations and
      a) remove the POP3 account from the Outlook profile
      b) disconnect the PST file
      c) import the contents of the PST to O365 (depending on the size and how fast your internet connection is, this might take a while)

    The issue I see with these steps is that you'll probably end up with doubled contacts. You did the first contact import so that users would have access to their contacts in O365 immediately. I suppose if you deleted them all from the PST before disconnecting it in step 5b you wouldn't have any double up.

    Good Stuff here...thanks...about to complete our signup...



  • @Dashrender outlook is smarter than that. The standard import process in outlook has an option to ignore or overwrite duplicates.

    Your steps are fairly good, I would do it a bit different, but isn't that how it always works?


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