Office 365 Transition Tidbits

Our GroupWise and Notes solutions have supported migration to and coexistence with Office 365 for some time. However, new releases of both products will soon provide additional functionality and automation specific to Office 365. This will be especially evident in the administrative functions (e.g. mailbox creation, routing updates, etc.). These enhancements will further simplify and streamline the transition to Office 365.

 

With these releases, the product documentation will also be updated to include additional information specific to Office 365 migration. However, in the interim, I thought it may be beneficial to share some information specific to Office 365 transitions.

 

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Office 365 Transition

 

Migrating from GroupWise or Notes to Office 365 is similar to on-premises migrations. However, there are some planning, configuration and procedural differences. These include:

 

Permission and Access

Migration access to Office 365 must be set at the mailbox level through Remote PowerShell. In order to do so, you must first establish a Remote PowerShell session:

 

1. Open up a PowerShell 2.0 command prompt.

 

2. Get your Office 365 credentials

$Credential = Get-Credential

 

3. Create the remote PowerShell session

$Session = New-PSSession -Credential $Credential -AllowRedirection - ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/PowerShell - Authentication Basic -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange

 

4. Import your PowerShell session

Import-PSSession $Session

 

NOTE: You may receive an error that says it can't execute a script, if you haven't ever set your ExcecutionPolicy. If this occurs, you may also need to change your execution policy to RemoteSigned.

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

 

After establishing the session, you can issue commands to Office 365. For example, to establish permissions for the migration admin account(s) to facilitate data migration:

 

Add-MailboxPermission <user1> -User <Migration Admin> -AccessRights FullAccess

 

Where <user1> is replaced with each migrating user and <Migration Admin> is replaced with one of the accounts used for migration in the particular environment (see "Throttling and Throughput" for additional information). This command must be run against all migrating mailboxes, so scripting the operation may be beneficial for larger migrations.

 

Throttling and Throughput

Office 365 introduced new throttling, which impacts migration performance. The throttling is a “per user” limitation that reduces capabilities after more than 2 connections by a single user (including the <Migration Admin> user).

 

With previous versions of Exchange Online, migration throughput of 3-5GB/hr/machine or more was common. However, the throttling internal to Office 365 reduces typically throughput to 500MB/hr/machine.

 

As a result, most Office 365 projects require additional migration machines (or virtual machines) to achieve the desired throughput. In addition, each migration machine should be configured with fewer threads (2-4) and use a separate <Migration Admin> account. Each machine must have a unique <Migration Admin> account to bypass the Office 365 throttling and achieve the desired throughput results.

 

Quest is working directly with the Office 365 team to develop alternates to speed the transition and will provide updates as they become available. However, planning for additional migration machines and <Migration Admin> accounts is advisable until future notice.

 

Provisioning and Mailbox Creation

Notes Migrator for Exchange(NME) and GroupWise Migrator for Exchange(GME) will soon include integrated, automated provisioning options for Office 365 (This functionality is included in NME 4.5 scheduled to release in October 2011).

 

For now, if local Active Directory and Microsoft’s sync tool are not utilized in the environment; the target objects, groups, and mailboxes can be created through PowerShell or the Office 365 portal.

 

If local Active Directory and Microsoft’s sync tool are present, NME & GME can automate object and group provisioning to the local Active Directory. Then the Microsoft sync tool can provision objects in Office 365 and the mailboxes can be created prior to the migration (via PowerShell or the Office 365 portal).

 

Coexistence

Office 365 introduces new options for coexistence and hybrid deployments. These include identity and calendar federation options that can be leveraged for Notes projects.

 

Microsoft’s Calendar Federation requires a local Exchange servers, but enables bi-directional free/busy with Office 365 users among other coexistence features. Coexistence Manager for GroupWise and Coexistence Manager for Notes can also leverage this configuration to provide free/busy lookups with local GroupWise/Notes users.

 

Coexistence Manager for Notes (starting with version 3.1.1) also enables direct, bi-directional free/busy coexistence with Office 365. As a result, users can do free/busy queries even if the organization prefers not to install and manage a local Exchange server and Microsoft’s Calendar Federation. This same functionality will be available for GroupWise users in version 1.0.1 of Coexistence Manager for GroupWise.

 

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We will keep you posted as additional functionality and documentation becomes available for Office 365 transitions.

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