Migrating to Office 365 from BPOS without Mimecast

This is a Guest Post from a prolific blogger- Andy Kemp who has recently moved from a long standing customer of Mimecast and to a Microsoft Gold Partner UniTech, one that doesn’t have Mimecast in place but excited about what the toolset could do for them. One of the recent things he’s been tasked to do is their Migration from BPOS to Office365 both internally and for a number of serviced clients, and it’s interesting to see what life without Mimecast is like… I finally took the plunge and migrated our primary email domain to Office 365 from BPOS the other weekend- we still don’t have Mimecast but we didn’t want to wait any longer! It could have gone better but on the other hand it could have been more painful like it was when I migrated one of our secondary domains. The two issues I faced when migrating were:

  1. Migrating the data from BPOS to Office 365
  2. Migrating the Domain from BPOS to Office 365

1. Migrating the data from BPOS to Office 365 Unfortunately there isn’t a really clean automated way to do this, the only way possible which I found to do this was to attach the new Office 365 Mailbox using the unitech-onmicrosoft.com address to their exchange profile and copy/move the folders across. This was pretty simple for the mail, contacts and task folders but the calendar folder was done in a slightly different way, you need to change the calendar view to a list and then copy and paste the entries into the new Office 365 Mailbox:

As the Exchange Folders were cached I needed to let the local folders sync up to the Online Exchange Server to then enable me to setup a clean outlook profile with only the 365 exchange account connected. As this was all done pre migration it meant I had all my data in Office 365 when I switched over domains. This was the next step, although what should be a simple process proved to be my biggest worry with the migration even though I had done it before. 2. Migrating the Domain from BPOS to Office 365 As I have mentioned before this process although sounds straight forward is the most laborious part of the migration. If you are moving from an on prem setup or another hosted solution, then it is nowhere near as painful as moving from BPOS to Office 365. The problem I had was with FOPE (Forefront Online Protection for Exchange) for BPOS although the Domain no longer existed in BPOS there were still artefact DNS records in FOPE which meant if I added the domain to Office 365 and then sent an email to an account using that Domain I would get an NDR immediately due to a possible mail loop. As the FOPE for Office 365 would see the DNS records in FOPE for BPOS and get a little confused and then just return a “Computer says No!” in the form of the NDR. What I had to do was fill in a Standard Request form for removal of artefact DNS records and submit that as a Service Request via the BPOS admin centre and then call Microsoft BPOS support with the Service Request number and asked them to hurry the process up… well that made them sort it in 2 days as opposed to 6! After a week into the move things have finally calmed down and users are running with no issues.  I have several Service requests open with Microsoft for Office 365 due to small issues that I’ve had in the admin portal but on the whole things are running well. We are taking full advantage of Lync 2010 and the ability to federate with other organisations. We are now in the process of setting up our company intranet and extranet using SharePoint online.