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Office 365 Cutover Migration: Planning the Migration Process

When migrating to Office 365, one of your top priorities should be planning the actual migration process. Because it’s arguably the most convenient and most aligned option, most companies opt for the Office 365 Cutover Migration method.  A well-planned migration process will help you save time and get your systems and operations back on track quicker than expected.

Make the smart move and plan your migration carefully—here’s how:

Add Your Domain Name for Office 365

As part of your migration requirement, you’ll have to add your standing domain name to Office 365. This will help you easily modify your mail exchanger record (MX record) on your Domain Name System (DNS) to direct to Office 365.

This sounds a little complicated, but it’s pretty simple to do. It will, however, take some time. To prepare for that, you’ll have to do add your domain name prior the migration, as the verification process may take a while.

Take note: even if the display reads, “Setup in Progress,” additional DNS records for your Office 365 will start working correctly. Regardless, this still could take as long as 72 hours to complete.

Know the Number of Mailboxes that Need to be Migrated

You have several options for your migration process, and one of the most important parameters to consider when choosing which option to use is the number of mailboxes.

Ideally, Microsoft advices using the cutover option for companies with 150 users or less, but it can actually cater for mailboxes less than 2000. The reason Microsoft highly recommends this is because moving 2000 mailboxes will definitely take a while to complete. Consider this wisely in your migration plans as this can greatly affect the flow of your operations and success of your migration.

Secure Valid 365 Subscription

office 365 cutover migrationDuring 365 migration, you’re effectively transferring your company’s mailboxes from your Exchange Server to Office 365. By virtue of this process, you will need a valid subscription to Office 365 for each of your mailboxes to be migrated. Your existing Exchange Server Client Access License will not be applicable.

Know Your Servers

When planning, make sure your existing on-site Exchange Organization is any of the following organizations in order to effectively use cutover migration:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
  • MSFT Exchange Server 2007
  • MSFT Exchange Server 2010
  • MSFT Exchange Server 2013
  • MSFT Exchange Server 2016

Prepare for Email Disruptions

Basically, the more mailboxes you migrate, the more time it’ll take. This point requires some careful consideration, as the move will (almost definitely) disrupt any and all communications via email. Expect a lot of your outgoing messages to bounce back during the migration process.

Consider Post Migration Period

Unfortunately, your worries might extend post-migration. As mentioned earlier, changing the MX record on your DNS will take some time to complete—which is why you’ll have to make way for a transition period. It’s best to do your migration over the weekend or after hours on a Friday to give it the maximum time to process without hurting your company’s operations.

Duly consider all these factors when planning for your eventual move. Cutover migration may be much simpler than all the other methods, but it definitely has its boundaries and limitations. Make sure your company meets all these planning tips in order to drastically lessen the risk of complications during the transition.

If you’ve carefully considered all the intricacies and potential problems of cutover migration—i.e. mailbox limit and server type—then good for you! Next up is using these planning tips for a successful transfer. With all that secured, your complete Office 365 cutover migration and regular operations are just one heavy moving weekend away.


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