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Office 365 Migration Types – Best article for early learners

Introduction

With the ever-increasing use of cloud computing, more and more businesses are making the switch to Office 365 for its cloud-based communication, collaboration and productivity abilities.Microsoft 365 or Office 365 supports several methods to migrate email, calendar, and contact data from your existing messaging environment to Microsoft 365 or Office 365

In this article we are going to see Office 365 Migration types available for Exchange to o365

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Office 365 Migration Type

When it’s time to choose between Office 365 migration types, below are the factors we need to consider before proceeding,

  • How much time do you need to migrate?
  • How big is your migration budget?
  • How much data do you need to migrate?
  • Which existing email system are you using?
  • Which version of Exchange Server are you using?

Types of migrations

  • Staged migration
  • Hybrid migration
  • Cutover migration
  • IMAP migration

Staged Migration

As the name suggests, staged migration is a method in which the accounts are split into batches before moving to Office 365. This is done over an extended period. Consider using staged migration in the following cases.

  • There are over 2000 mailboxes
  • You are using the legacy Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
  • You are experiencing unexplained failures while migrating a large number of mailboxes and splitting them into batches improves the chances of success
  • The email migration is complex, and end-users cannot be disrupted with tight deadlines

How to do staged migration in Office 365

  • Synchronize the existing users with Office 365 using AD sync
  • Generate a CSV list of all the accounts to be migrated
  • Create a batch to move email, contacts, and calendar items to Office 365 and convert the existing accounts to Office 365 mailboxes
  • Repeat the last two steps for every batch

Advantages of staged migration in Office 365

  • Maximum flexibility in moving the accounts
  • Minimizes the chances of being stuck with tight deadlines
  • Reduces disruption of major business services for end-users
  • The batch sizes can be managed for optimal performance

Disadvantages of staged migration in Office 365

  • Need to be planned because of the complexity
  • A dedicated administrator has to be actively involved throughout the process
  • Out of Office messages are not migrated with user mailboxes

Hybrid migration

Some organizations might have to retain their on-premises servers while simultaneously moving to the cloud-based Office 365 services. Such a scenario can arise wherein admin wants to manage their AD accounts on on-premise while users can use Office 365 mailbox and services on the cloud.
One of the greatest benefits of MRS-based moves is that we don’t need to recreate Outlook profiles and re-download the OST after migration, because we keep the same ExchangeGuid and mailbox signature of the mailbox when it is moved. With hybrid remote moves, we migrate all the data that is contained in the mailbox and we cannot skip any data (like dumpster or junk folder)

How to do hybrid migration in Office 365

Hybrid migration is a slightly more complicated process and is best outsourced to experts due to the complexities involved. There are several pre-requisites for the hybrid deployment most important of which is the version compatibility of the Exchange servers. The Office 365 subscription must include Azure Active Directory synchronization to support hybrid deployments. Then the appropriate permissions should be available for the deployment. The generic steps for hybrid migration could include:

  • Creation of remote migration endpoints
  • Enabling MRSProxy service for on-premises exchange servers
  • Use remote move migration type for moving on-premises mailboxes to Exchange Online and complete the migration batches
  • Enable offline access for web Outlook
  • Advantages of hybrid migration in Office 365
  • Secure connection between on-premises and Office 365 accounts
  • Shared domain name, calendar, username and password for both accounts
  • Integrated control for on-premises and Office 365 accounts
  • Message tracking, MailTips, and multi-mailbox search features for both accounts
  • Office 365 archiving features extensibility to on-premises Exchange mailboxes
  • Free/busy information sharing is possible both ways.

Disadvantages of hybrid migration in Office 365

  • Creates avoidable complications due to the concurrent existence of mailboxes
  • Necessity to use Azure Active Directory and Office 365 password syncing
  • Compulsion to keep the legacy Exchange servers active for longer periods

Cutover migration

A cutover migration is the simplest method to move mailboxes to Office 365. It is similar to staged migration except for the fact that all mailboxes are moved at once. Needless to say, the number and size of mailboxes are significantly smaller while opting for cutover migration.

How to do cutover migration in Office 365

  • Create a security group in Office 365 for the new mailboxes
  • Connect the servers of the existing system with Office 365
  • Move mailbox items to Office 365
  • Re-route incoming mails by changing DNS records
  • Confirm migration completion

Advantages of cutover migration in Office 365

  • One of the simplest migration types available
  • Can be done within a few days
  • Compatibility with legacy Exchange servers starting with Exchange 2003
  • No need for syncing passwords
  • Distribution groups, contacts, and other items are also migrated

Disadvantages of cutover migration in Office 365

  • Less flexibility in terms of selectively moving objects and mailboxes
  • Extensive manual configuration requirements on individual desktops
  • No Azure Active Directory synchronization between on-premises servers and Office 365

IMAP Migration

While the other three Office 365 migration types depend solely on Exchange, an IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) migration allows you to transition users from Gmail or any other email system that supports IMAP migration.

An IMAP migration pulls information from your source mailboxes and hands it over to Office 365. However, IMAP migration doesn’t transition anything other than email. Calendar items, tasks and contacts all stay in the original inbox and have to be migrated manually by the user.

You’ll also have to create a mailbox for each user before initiating the email migration – something other migration types automatically create for you.

IMAP migrations have a limit of 50,000 total mailboxes and 5,000,000 items. And once the migration is complete, any new mail sent to the original mailbox won’t be migrated.

Disadvantages of IMAP migration in Office 365

  • You can only migrate items in a user’s inbox or other mail folders. This type of migration doesn’t migrate contacts, calendar items, or tasks.
  • You can migrate a maximum of 500,000 items from a user’s mailbox (emails are migrated from newest to oldest).
  • The biggest email you can migrate is 35 MB.
  • If you limited the connections to your source email system, it’s a good idea to increase them to improve migration performance. Common connection limits include client/server total connections, per-user connections, and IP address connections on either the server or the firewall.

Microsoft reference URL

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Compress and Archive IIS logs using PS Script

Compress and Archive IIS logs using PS Script

The low disks space may lead to cause service outage to the customer if that unnoticed.
As we know most of the disk space gets occupied by log files and that could be any log files on windows or third party application running on windows.

Exchange servers can consume lot of IIS log files over time.As a best practice administrators configure IIS to store logs on a different disk to avoid problems, rest will wait for free disk space alerts and manually remove old logs from time to time.

Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update installation Best Practices – Part 2

This article will continue demonstrate the remaining step by step installation procedure for installing cumulative update for Exchange 2013 DAG

Cumulative Update

Send & Receive connectors configuration Backup

Once you done with the exchange virtual directories backup as mentioned in the part 1 make sure to export the configuration of Send & receive connectors . This result will help you to refer in case any mismatch occur in send & receive connector configuration post CU upgrade

Open exchange PowerShell and run the following commands to take the send and receive connector backups,

$FormatEnumerationLimit =-1

Get-sendConnector | fl | Format-List | Out-File “C:\sendconnector.txt”

Get-ReceiveConnector -Server | fl | Format-List | Out-File “C:\erver1_Receiveconnector.txt”

Disable Services

Prior to cumulative update upgrade disable third party and below services.This will help you to upgrade the cumulative update smoothly

  • BES Client
  • Antivirus services
  • Monitoring appplication services
  • Qualys Cloud Agent
  • SplunkUniversalForwarder
  • Scan mail for Exchange
  • Backup Services ( Data Protector , Netbackup )

OWA Customization Backup

In case if your organization / customer customized their owa page then you have to take the backup of owa theme from the following path

c:\program files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\FrontEnd\HttpProxy\owa\auth\15.0.1365\themes)

Certificate Revocation

Starting with IE 7.0, server certificate revocation checking is enabled by default.You can disable this feature by clicking Internet Options on the Tools menu, selecting the Advanced tab, and uncheck the Check for server certificate revocation check box as shown in the figure. You need to restart IE in order for this setting to take effect.

Disabling the revocation check in production environments isn’t recommended, so you must make sure to enable it again after cumulative update upgrade. Certificate revocation checking protects your clients against the use of invalid server authentication certificates either because they have expired or because they were revoked (e.g., when a server certificate was compromised).

certificate revocation
certificate revocation

Execution Policy

By default execution policy is Unrestricted. In case your organization configured the execution policy to RemoteSigned or Restricted then make sure to set the value to Unrestricted by using the following command

Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

Make sure to revert back the value to original once the cumulative update is over

Upgrade cumulative update

You can download the cumulative update from Microsoft download center.In this article i am going to show you how to upgrade cumulative update 23 .You can download the cumulative update 23 from the below given link

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=58392

Once the cumulative update downloaded you can extract the file in to the separate folder.

Cumulative updates and Service Packs should be installed in the internet-facing site first, before installing in other sites in the organization.

  • The first servers to be updated in a site are the Mailbox servers.
  • The Client Access servers are updated second.
  • Edge Transport servers can be updated last.

Now the scenario we are going to see is upgrading the cumulative update on multi role server ( Mailbox , CAS & HUB ) infrastructure

So before start the upgrade, put the server in to the maintenance mode by manual or inbuilt script. Here we are going to use the inbuilt script to put the server in to maintenance mode

The entire process can be done from the Exchange Shell.

To start open EMS and go to:

C:\programs files\micrsoft\exchange server\v15\scripts

In the first step we put the first Exchange server In the DAG Into maintenance mode by typing the cmdlet below:

C:\programs files\micrsoft\exchange server\v15\scripts>.\StartDagServerMaintenance.ps1 –servername Server1

Once run all DBs will move to the second Exchange server

To verify that the server is In maintenance mode type:

Get-databaseavailabilitygroup –status | fl name, server*

DAG Maintenance

Cumulative updates can be applied using either the command line or graphical setup whichever you prefer.Follow the pre-installation processes outlined earlier in this article.

Do not run the upgrade from the Exchange Management Shell as this will cause it to fail due to locked files.
Run the upgrade from an elevated command prompt.

Upgrading Using the Command Line

In an elevated command prompt run the following command from the location where you extracted the cumulative update files.


Setup /m:upgrade /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

The command prompt window will display the progress as the upgrade proceeds.

CU_Update

After the cumulative update has been install restart the server once prompted to do so.

If you had placed the server into maintenance mode then you can run the inbuilt script for stopping maintenance mode after the installation is finished

C:\programs files\micrsoft\exchange server\v15\scripts>.\stopDagServerMaintenance.ps1 –servername Server1

Once the cumulative update completed on all servers you can use the in built RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1 script to redistribute the database based on activation preference

.\RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1 –DagName DAG1 –BalanceDBsByActivationPreference –Confirm:$false

To verify and confirm the exchange build number post cumulative upgrade you can run the below command to list down for all servers as shown below

$servers=get-exchangeserver -identity servername*
$servers | foreach { Invoke-Command -ComputerName $_.name -ScriptBlock {Get-Command Exsetup.exe | ForEach-Object {$_.FileversionInfo} } }

Cumulative upgrade 23

Note : Above is the product version of Cumulative update 23 and Security Update For Exchange Server 2013 CU23 (KB4536988)

Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update installation Best Practices – Part 1

Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update installation Best Practices – Part 1

This article will demonstrate the step by step installation procedure for installing cumulative update for Exchange 2013 DAG

Microsoft support policy on CU:

Microsoft will support last two cumulative update updates, so currently they will support cumulative updates 22 & 23 . The cumulative updates will get released every 3 to 6 months once.

Below are the best practices which needs to be considers before the CU upgrade

  • Make sure to install & test the CU update in the DEV / Test environment before into the production
  • If you don’t have dev / test environment, consider to waiting for a week or two from the date of CU release before installing the update into production
  • Make sure to have a good exchange & AD full back up before the upgrade
  • Backup if any customized configuration exists in the environment (Like any customization done in owa theme)
  • Backup all virtual directory configurations
  • If the cumulative update requires active directory schema update, please make sure you have the required rights / permission for your account
  • As a best practice always run the schema update from the domain controller not from the exchange server
  • Make sure to deselect “Check for Publisher’s certificate” and “Check for server certificate revocation”, from Internet Explorer -> Internet Options, Advanced tab, Security options
  • Disable antivirus software & services
  • Disable backup services to make sure no backup running during the time of cumulative update
  • Always make sure to run the cumulative update from the elevated command prompt
  • Download the CU from Microsoft download center and extract the downloaded file
  • Put the DAG member into maintenance mode (if required)
  • Upgrade active directory schema (if required)
  • Install the CU update
  • Take out the DAG members from maintenance mode
  • Reboot the servers before and after cumulative upgrade for smoother upgrade
  • Make sure to do the required server health checks and end to end client post checks after the CU upgrade.
  • As part of prerequisite if the version Cumulative update requires .Net Framework version to get updated then make sure the required version of .Net frame work updated in exchange servers as well as the Domain controller from where you are updating the schema.

Here is the wiki link for Microsoft to verify the CU built number and link for download the CU`s

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/240.exchange-server-and-update-rollup-build-numbers.aspx

Exchange 2013

Cumulative Update

Configuration Backup

You can use the following command to take the configuration backup of your environment especially virtual directories, which will help you in case if any configuration mismatch occur post CU upgrade

  • Get-OwaVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > owavirdir.txt
  • Get-EcpVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > ecpvirdir.txt
  • Get-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > ASvirdir.txt
  • Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > Webservvirdir.txt
  • Get-OabVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > oabvirdir.txt
  • Get-MapiVirtualDirectory -Server | fl > mapivirdir.txt
  • Get-OutlookAnywhere -Server | fl > outlookanywhere.txt
  • Get-ClientAccessServer -Identity | fl > CAS_Server.txt
  • Get-mailboxServer -Identity | fl > MBX_Server.txt
  • Get-transportServer -Identity | fl > Transport_Server.txt

Active Directory Schema Update

As mentioned earlier some cumulative update versions does required to update the active directory schema before actual exchange CU update

For Exchange 2013 , you can refer the below link for Exchange 2013 objects in Active Directory that get updated each time you install a new version of Exchange 2013. You can compare the object versions you see with the values in the table below to verify that the version of Exchange 2013 you installed successfully updated Active Directory during installation

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/prepare-active-directory-and-domains-exchange-2013-help

For Exchange 2013 CU update , below objects in Active Directory that get updated from the previous version

You can use the following commands to verify the object version and range Upper value in your environment before and after the schema update

  • Get-ADObject -Identity “CN=ms-Exch-Schema-Version-Pt,CN=schema,CN=configuration,DC=contoso,DC=net” -properties rangeUpper | select rangeUpper | format-List
  • Get-ADObject -Identity “CN=sternauto,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=net” -properties objectVersion | select objectVersion | Format-List
  • Get-ADObject -Identity “CN=sternauto,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=net” -properties msExchProductId | select msExchProductId | Format-List
  • $RootDSE= ([ADSI]””).distinguishedName

([ADSI]”LDAP://CN=Microsoft Exchange System Objects,$RootDSE”).objectVersion

Below is the sample object version and range update value of the environment which captured before CU 23 upgrade

Cumulative Update

You can find the remaining procedure for cumulative update in Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update installation Best Practices – Part 2

Database Availability Group (DAG) – Switchover & Redistribute MBX databases – Easy Series Part 1

Database Availability Group (DAG) – Switchover & Redistribute MBX databases – Easy Series Part 1

A switchover is a scheduled outage of a database or server that is explicitly initiated by a cmdlet or by the managed availability system in Exchange Server. Switchovers are typically done to prepare for performing a maintenance operation (like monthly patching, Cumulative update, or hardware replacement).

Switchovers involve moving the active mailbox databases copy to another server in the database availability group (DAG). If no healthy target is found during a switchover, administrators will receive an error and the mailbox database will remain up or mounted.

Remove orphaned users and groups from legacy public folder ACL in Exchange

Remove orphaned users and groups from legacy public folder ACL in Exchange

Remove orphaned users and groups from legacy public folder ACL in Exchange
Posted on May 18, 2020 by Anandan
When you are doing the public folder migration (legacy to modern) chances are there for migration to get failed if the orphaned users (deleted users ) still being part of public folders

In these scenarios we must remove the orphaned users from the public folders for the successful public folder migration.

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