Everything You Need to Know About Office 365 Migration Types for a Successful Email Migration

Office 365 Email Migration

Last Updated on March 10, 2024 by Team Experts

Summary: This Guide will provide you with the conceptual differences between the Office 365 Migration Types for email migration. Follow along to know the best option for your data transfer needs in Microsoft 365.

With the increased usage of cloud computing, due to the Covid pandemic, Office 365 became the prime choice of users, for its cloud-based communication, collaboration, and productivity abilities.

Still, when it comes to migrating data from one cloud platform to another, users get confused while choosing the right one. Though the word “DATA MIGRATION” can be fascinating, however, the reality is completely opposite for users. 

Users need to be aware of different migration types and procedures for successful email migration.

Therefore in this article, we will simplify the differences between the Microsoft Office 365 migration types, in order to help you pick the right one.

There are multiple factors that you should consider while choosing the same. 

Here are a few questions, which you should ask yourself when it comes to email migration in O365:

  • What is the size of the user’s data that needs to be migrated?
  • When do you need to perform migration?
  • What is your net migration budget?
  • Which existing email platform are you using?
  • Which version of Exchange Server are you using?

Once, you get these queries answered, then you can move the Office 365 migration types. 

There are 4 Different Types of Office 365 Migration Offered by Microsoft 

1. Staged Migration

A Microsoft 365 staged migration transfers all the mailbox data and existing users from Exchange 2003 or 2007 to Exchange Online over a batch. This can be a great approach for mid-sized firms ranging from 2,000+ user mailboxes, which are using the on-premises Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007. However, it is not available for businesses using Exchange 2010 or 2013.

This type of migration moves all data of the user’s mailbox in batches over a specific period. You need to use the Directory Synchronization tool that will replicate your accounts from the on-premises Active Directory database. In this way eventually, all mailboxes will be hosted in Office 365.

In this type of migration, users will not be able to access our calendars and delegates. Apart from this, they can easily access send and receive emails from users that haven’t migrated over yet.

2. Cutover Migration

A cutover migration instantly transfers from an on-premises Exchange to Office 365. This will migrate all your resources such as mailboxes, contacts, and distribution groups at once. You would not be able to choose the mailbox items in this type of Office 365 migration. when you try to migrate exchange on premise to exchange online. Learn more about Microsoft SharePoint Migration

This can be a useful approach for you and your company if you have users less than 2000. Moreover, Microsoft itself recommends if you have less than 150 users, and you are using Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013, then a cutover migration is the best option for you. As it can take a lot of time to migrate a large number of O365 users’ accounts.

Note: Once, you have migrated all the user data, then you will have to reconfigure every Outlook profile in order to connect to Office 365.

3. Hybrid Migration

The hybrid migration allows you to connect Office 365 with on-premises Exchange servers and existing active directory services. Therefore, you’ll be able to manage and synchronize Office 365 user accounts across both platforms.

You can easily transfer mailboxes in and out of Exchange Online using a hybrid migration. Moreover, you would have options to choose whether you want to maintain a mailbox on on-premises or you want to move to Office 365

Additionally, you may synchronize passwords and implement a single sign-on for your employees to make logging into both environments easy.

You’ll need more than 2,000 user mailboxes if you want to deploy a hybrid migration. Also, it would be necessary to have Exchange 2010 or later in order to enable hybrid deployment connectivity.

4. IMAP Migration

All the above three types of Office 365 migration completely depend upon the Exchange, on the other hand, the IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) allows users to migrate from Gmail or any other email service provider that is compatible with IMAP configuration. 

In this type of migration, all the data gets pulled from the source user accounts and gets transferred to the target user account. Although, IMAP migration doesn’t transfer any other data than emails. You will need to manually transfer contacts, calendars, and tasks. 

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.

Get Help from Office 365 Migration Experts

If you’re still confused, which Office 365 migration type is suitable for you and your needs? Then you should use the SysTools Office 365 to Office 365 Migration Tool, it is a brilliant utility that can easily migrate all your mailbox items such as emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, and documents at a single go. 

Moreover, it maintains the data and the folder hierarchy and integrity throughout the process. You do not need any prior technical knowledge to perform any type of data migration in Office 365 using this tool. 

Read also: Backup Office 365 Email PowerShell – Converting Mailboxes


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Anil is an enthusiastic, self-motivated, reliable person who is a Technology evangelist. He's always been fascinated at work especially at innovation that causes benefit to the students, working professionals or the companies. Being unique and thinking Innovative is what he loves the most, supporting his thoughts he will be ahead for any change valuing social responsibility with a reprising innovation. His interest in various fields and the urge to explore, led him to find places to put himself to work and design things than just learning. Follow him on LinkedIn

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