July 16, 2022
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Office 365 to Office 365 – Migration Options

Migration is to basically retain your data as it is while moving it to a separate place to continue using it.

Migrating Exchange Online Mailboxes, Migrating Microsoft Teams and PSTN

Your migration strategy depends on your business type, setup and size. For the ease of following the details for performing successful mentioned migrations, we’d be looking into them one by one.

  • Migrating Exchange Online Mailboxes
  • Migrating Microsoft Teams
  • Migrating PSTN to use with Teams


Exchange Online Mailbox migration to another Office 365 tenant

Exchange Online Mailbox migration would mean migrating case records such as E-Mails, Appointments, Contacts or Tasks associated to the mailboxes present in an Office 365 mailboxes. We may actually proceed with the process in three ways:

1.1 Migrating Mailboxes using IMAP migration

1.2 Migrating Exchange Mailboxes using any reliable Third-Party Tool

1.3 Migrating Exchange individual Mailboxes using client side


1.1 Migrating Mailboxes using IMAP Migration

The IMAP migration could be initiated within the Office 365 portal and one don’t need to have any separate tool to perform it successfully. But yes, it does come with its drawbacks as records for the Mailboxes like Calendar, Tasks, Contacts don’t get migrated along with the Emails. In the end, it’s a matter of personal choice and requirements if someone would like to move ahead and opt for it.


1.2 Migrating Exchange Mailboxes using any reliable Third-Party Tool

The other option is to go for a reliable Third-Party Tool using which one would not need to comprise any records attached to the Mailbox and complete Mailbox would be migrated as it is. For the reliable part, we’d recommend using MigrationWiz tool by BitTitan as several migrations from us have been performed using it and it’s pretty much a decent tool to rely on.

Note: For a detailed overview of Office 365 migration, here's the perfect guide.


1.3 Migrating Exchange individual Mailboxes using client side

The last option would be to move the Mailbox by export\import actions from the client side. It may be a good scenario where the number of users are pretty much less, but we’d not recommend to opt for it where if the user numbers are slightly higher as it’d be time consuming process plus as you know a manual process always comes with the risk of errors.


Migrating Microsoft Teams migration to another Office 365 tenant

Microsoft Teams being a very critical tool for productivity and collaboration for many of the organizations out there, a very seamless migration solution for it is very much a dire need of today. Teams comprises of many things which are interconnected with each which make the process of migrating it as it is to another tenant a little tough job to accomplish. The data of Microsoft Teams is basically not stored at one single place but uses different MS services and bring them together to make Teams a very good collaboration solution. If you are wondering which are those things, please refer to the below list:

  • SharePoint Online Team Site: Files and folders stored in the team document library (Teams and Channels) or shared in a channel, external emails sent to the team, the team's wiki page, and each channel's OneNote assets.
  • Exchange Team Mailbox: Group chat and channel conversation history, team mail, and contacts.
  • Exchange Mailboxes of individual Users: Private (1:1) chat conversation history, voicemails, and calendar meetings.
  • OneDrive for Business of individual Users: Files attached to private chat sessions, or a chat during a meeting or call, are uploaded and stored in the OneDrive account of the user who shared the files.
  • OneDrive Organizational Document Library: Users' personal OneNote.


To migrate Teams, we’ve the following options:

2.1 Migrating Microsoft Teams by Mapping all the possible content

2.2 Migrating MS Teams by using a reliable Third-Party Tool


2.1 Migrating Microsoft Teams by Mapping all the possible content

This approach is basically a manual one and also comes with certain limitations as you know the complexity of Teams data distributed among many of the MS services. Mapping basically refers to creating all the structure in the destination tenant replicating the source tenant and moving the content in the end. But some of the data may be exported from source tenant but would not be possible to add it as it is in the destination tenant for MS Teams i.e. Chats may be exported but replicating them as it is in the destination wouldn’t be possible. It’s really time consuming, complex and with major number of limitations approach to follow. We’d say not to opt for it as per the things mentioned above plus the risk of errors in the manual approach is always there.


2.2 Migrating MS Teams by using a reliable Third-Party Tool

This approach is really good to opt, but one should make sure about the tool used for it. We had use the same tool MigrationWiz by BitTitan for it to migrate several Teams environments and the experience was great. Not that the whole Teams data get migrated, but the Teams experience of source tenant may be replicated as it is in the destination tenant.


Migrating PSTN to use with MS Teams

PSTN is a very generic term to use and several calling solutions falls under it. But options for any would be the same to follow:

3.1 Porting PSTN numbers to Microsoft

3.2 Using the Teams Direct Routing feature to continue using current VOIP provider.


3.1 Porting PSTN numbers to Microsoft

One may use the porting wizard of Microsoft Teams to transfer the phone numbers from the current service provider to Teams. After we port the phone numbers to Teams, Microsoft will become the service provider and would bill for those phone numbers.

Currently, the wizard is to get phone numbers for the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. To get phone numbers for other countries and regions, one needs to manually submit a port order by using a MS provided form for it.

Porting of numbers does support User, Service and Toll-free numbers.


3.2 Using Teams Direct Routing feature to continue using current VOIP Provider

Direct Routing from Teams is very handy feature specially for the organizations who wouldn’t like to say goodbye to their existing VOIP provider and like to avoid porting the numbers which could be due to several reasons.

To use Direct Routing, one needs a Session Border Controller (SBC) to link with Teams for the numbers coming from a local provider to be used.


There are basically to options to use SBC with Teams:

3.2.1    Using a Virtual SBC for Direct Routing

3.2.2    Using a Physical SBC (Hardware) for Direct Routing


3.2.1 Using a Virtual SBC for Direct Routing

The Virtual SBC would be hosted in cloud i.e. AudioCodes Mediant VE for Microsoft Azure which would support Direct Routing with Teams for us.


3.2.2 Using a Physical SBC (Hardware) for Direct Routing

The other option is to buy a physical SBC from the market and connect it with Microsoft Teams which would exert control over the signaling and usually also the media streams involved in setting up, conducting, and tearing down telephone calls or other interactive media communications.


For further details, here's the List of Session border controller certified for Direct Routing.


Office 365 Pre-migration checklist

Before an Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migration, there is an Office 365 pre-migration checklist you should keep in mind.


Step 1: Domain Preparation

You may have several considerations before domain preparation, depending on your migration pattern, usual scenarios are as follows:

  • Re-branding is involved
  • Just a cloud tenant move
  • No re-branding required

As per your requirements, prepare the domain using following steps:

  • Ensure that for the target Microsoft 365  you have enough licenses
  • For smooth migration, create accounts in both target and source
  • Create resource mailboxes, user mailboxes, and distribution groups in the target required, perform AD DS consolidation using AD DS and then sync to source domain with the target domain
  • End-users be trained regarding post-migration Microsoft 365 use


Step 2: Domain Verification

  • Start by verifying target tenants domain in Microsoft 365
  • In the target Microsoft 365 admin center, add a source domain and create TXT records in DNS
    Make sure that the domain is in only one tenants use, otherwise the verification will result in a failure. It takes 72 hours for the change to be seen. 


Step 3: Migration scheduling

  • Create a list of user, mailboxes that are to be migrated, and a CSV file for mapping.
  • Note the lowest value of TTL on the MX record ( of primary email domain)
  • Directory sync should be disabled for the source tenant (takes 24 hours max to disable), in order to avoid sync of any modifications in the source tenant's account AD DS to the Microsoft 365 platform.


Step 4: Migration Stage

  • Stop inbound mail flow to the source tenant by changing primary MS record to record an unreachable value or by using a third party service
  • Source tenant preparation: before moving office 365 to another tenant, the primary email domain should be erased from all source tenants objects
  • Preparing target domain: verify the source tenant in the target domain


Begin migration

  • With 500 or less users, migrate the contacts and mail calendar separately to the destination tenant mailbox
  • For email migration, limit the migration by criteria, like a date
  • With 500 or more users, use the multi-pass method to migrate contents in multiple batches. you can migrate only calendars, contacts, and a single week of data.

Last Updated 1 week ago

About the Author

Ateeb is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. He aids clients in deployment, and management of Microsoft technologies - for both, on-premises and on the cloud environment. With significant experience in deploying stand-alone and enterprise solutions, Ateeb enjoys helping organizations with their digital transformation journey.

Ateeb Fayyaz

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