Interlink Cloud Blog

The Pros & Cons to Keeping a Hybrid Exchange Server Post Migration

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Are you near the end of the migration journey?

Have all your mailboxes been successfully transferred to Exchange Online?

Customers will often want to turn off the Exchange mailboxes servers but sometimes debate if they should keep the Hybrid Exchange Server in place or not. Interlink typically recommends keeping the Hybrid Exchange Server in place becasue there are more pros than cons. We have outlind those below:

5 Pros to Keeping a Hybrid Exchange Server:

1) More Centralized & Easier to Manage

  • An on-premises Exchange Hybrid Server provides a centralized administration point. This will allow administrators to access a single Exchange Admin Center from their on-premises environment to access both the on-premises and Exchange Online Admin Center from a single browser.

2) Comes with the License – No Additional Cost

If the following conditions apply you can request an Exchange Hybrid Server product key, with no additional costs:

  • You have an existing, non-trial, Office 365 Enterprise subscription.
  • You would be using the Hybrid Server solely as a bridge between on-premises and Exchange Online, i.e. not hosting any mailboxes.
  • Your organization must officially request a Hybrid Key, just because you meet the requirements does not mean the server is licensed correctly.

3) SMTP Requirements

  • SMTP Relay needs of devices and applications – Both require some way to communicate with Exchange Online Mailboxes. There are a few options to configure both devices and applications to use Office 365 for SMTP; however, an existing Exchange server can be used as an SMTP Relay server.
  • An on-premises Exchange server has detailed message tracking logs and granular send/receive connectors. This provides better options than an IIS server for troubleshooting mail flow and customized routing.

4) Mailbox Administration

  • If the last Exchange server is removed, you cannot make changes to the mailbox object in Exchange Online because the source of authority is defined as on-premises. Source of authority refers to where the Active Directory objects were initially created. This could create an issue if the organization ever wants to move mailboxes back to on-premise (Even for a short time to troubleshoot).
  • Without a supported tool like a hybrid server, it would be difficult to perform common exchange tasks such as email address changes.
  • Bulk changes can be done with the Exchange Management Shell.

5) Additional Functionality

  • Keep Public Folders – The process of migrating public folders can be complex, so having an on-premises server allows for previous public folders to be hosted and maintained

3 Cons to Keeping a Hybrid Exchange Server:

1) Windows Licensing

The Windows Server License would need to be licensed to run the Exchange Hybrid workload. The Exchange Hybrid Server can be co-located with the Azure AD Connect Server and / or hosted on a box that included Windows Server Data Center Licensing.

2) Certificates:

The organization would need to manage the certificates needed for the Hybrid Server.

3) Server Management:

Just one more server that the organization needs to patch and manage.

For further questions or if you need guidance after the migration process, get in contact us today and talk to one of our experts to lead you in the right direction.

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