Thursday, January 29, 2015

Office 365 - Hybrid Migration - Conclusion, links and resources

In my preceding blog posts, I was able to migrate mailboxes from Exchange 2010 (SP3) to Exchange Online (Office 365). After the move, the migrated user was still able to communicate with both external recipients - and users whose mailbox remained on premises. Client access (with OWA) and hub transport functionality were maintained.

We were able to achieve this even with the added complexity of Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) and third-party load balancing of both Exchange traffic (client access, hub transpot) and ADFS communications. In this case, we used a KEMP VLM-200 but I may also attempt to achieve the same results with a Citrix NetScaler virutal appliance in the future.

Unfortunately, the limitations of my test network prevented me from accessing the migrated mailbox with Outlook (admittedly a significant shortcoming). It would have been necessary to create another 1-to-1 NAT relationship on my firewall device between external ADFS traffic and the ADFS server in my LAN (or possibly create a DMZ and place an ADFS proxy there).

Note: the existing 1-to-1 NAT is for traffic between external sources and the Exchange servers (using a VIP on the load balancer).

With enough time and effort, this obstacle could probably be overcome. However, there are other Active Directory and Exchange projects that have recently attracted my attention and I intend to dedicate some time to them as well.

Note that Outlook access to migrated mailboxes was possible with the staged migration I completed in 2013. The inability to access Outlook in a single-sign on (SSO) environment is a limitation of ADFS (in my test environment) and not a limitation of Exchange or Outlook per se.

I would like to conclude this set of blog posts with some links to resources on Office 365 administration and migration (beyond the subject of hybrid migration in particular).



Websites (articles or blogs)

First, the msexchange.org website has published articles on various types of migration scenarios to Office 365.


Henrik Walther's articles in particular are very useful. His latest article (at the time I wrote this) demonstrates the configuration of an Exchange test lab in Windows Azure (note that currently Exchange in not supported in Azure for production). If you want to move back from the Cloud to on-premises, there is even an article by Steve Goodman on such a scenario (Exchange 2010 on-premises is the target system).


There is a multitude of Technet articles on Exchange Online and Office 365. My advice would be to consult the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant, select your migration scenario and then refer to the links provided.

At the time I wrote this, this was the link to the online tool:


In case the link is no longer valid, just perform a search for "Exchange Server Deployment Assistant". Of course, that advice is valid for any of the links posted here.



Anders Eide compiled a list of resources for Office 365 certification (exam 70-346) but that could also prove useful in general:




Of course, the best place to ask questions is the Office 365 Community forum:


You could also ask questions in various TechNet forums, although you may be directed to the site above.



Video training - Microsoft, for free



This is an older series so some information is out-of-date (for example, Public Folders can now exist in Office 365 and DirSync can now synch passwords - password hashes in fact). Other general concepts remain valid however.



The Ignite series is newer.



Video training - third party, for pay

Both PluralSight and CBTNuggets advertise a number of training videos on Office 365 administration:



I have used both sites, watching videos on various subjects (Active Directory, Exchange, CCNA certification), and would state that quality varies depending on the presenter. I have not yet viewed any on Office 365 yet, so I cannot make specific recommendations. Judging from his previous series on Exchange 2010 and 2013, anything by J. Peter Bruzzese would be worth a look.

Note that "Train Signal" was purchased by Pluralsight and is no longer a separate company.

This video series by David Elfassy (MVP and well-reviewed author on amazon.com) may be worth a look as well:




Books

You can search for these titles at your preferred bookseller:


Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud
December 29, 2013
Matthew Katzer, Don Crawford

*

Microsoft Office 365 Administration Inside Out
October 25, 2013
Anthony Puca, Julian Soh, Marshall Copeland

*

Microsoft Office 365: Exchange Online Implementation and Migration
May 25, 2012
David Greve, Loryan Strant


I've included titles dealing with administration or migration. There are other titles more suitable for the end user as well.

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