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Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 to Office 365 Migration

Small Business Servers (SBS) 2011 were built on Microsoft’s best server technologies which was built in a single package comprising of Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 OS, Exchange 2010, and SharePoint 2010. Since Microsoft has already bid adieu to SBS Server 2011 on January 14, 2020 along with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, users on SBS 2011 are looking for alternatives.

What is a better alternative than Office 365? Office 365 is technically supported to migrate off the SBS platform and even totally get rid of all legacy Exchange servers from your existing environment. There is a surge in people looking to migrate from Small Business Server (SBS) to Office 365.

Considerations before SBS 2011 to Office 365 migration

Just with any other migration, there are various considerations before starting the migration. Some of it is sage advice such as reviewing your limits and following best migration practices. Deciding on a migration path of user’s mail to Office 365 is also crucial. Also, your network architecture options must be assessed comprehensively. You can also draw a diagram which lays out your entire architecture and how migrations will be directed. It serves as good documentation of your end goals. You may also need to check the backups and server storage.

Before you start with the email migration, it is a good practice to run Windows updates so that your patches are up to date. Also review the group policies which should be consistent even after migration. You may also want to review mailbox sizes, archives, remote management capabilities, permissions, and more. Though these are the basic checks which will be done by your Office 365 migration service provider, it is good to know the best practices followed.  

Methods to migrate SBS 2011 Exchange to Office 365

There are multiple methods to migrate mailboxes to Office 365 from SBS 2011 Exchange. Either admins can migrate mailboxes from Exchange Server 2011, or users can directly import their mailboxes to their individual Office 365 account. This is also possible with the use of a third-party tool or with a migration expert.

Choose a migration method which best suits your organizational requirements:

Migration from SBS 2011 Exchange Server

For migrations from SBS Exchange Server 2011 infrastructure, the admin can migrate all the information including mails, contacts, and calendars from the user mailbox to Office 365. As with all other types of Exchange migrations, there are three sub-methods of migration: staged, cutover, and hybrid migration. For SBS 2011 Exchange migration, hybrid migrations are most beneficial given there is no need to visit every user and reconfigure Outlook profiles. If you opt for staged migrations, a huge number of mailboxes can be queued, and the users can be migrated in batches as per the hierarchy – one group at a time. Since staged migration is carried for over 2000 mailboxes, SBS 2011 users prefer cutover migration since they typically have less than 2000 mailboxes if hybrid migration is not suitable for them.

Import mailboxes to Office 365 from SBS 2011 Exchange 2010

The user must have an individual Office 365 subscription. You can simply setup your Outlook or OWA which allows you to access other email accounts from the same place as your O365 mailbox. This is like importing from IMAP mailboxes and you get started with emails quickly. Once the emails are imported, you can read, receive, and send emails.

Using a service provider for SBS 2011 to Office 365 migration

Since SBS 2011 expired on January 2020, migrating SBS 2011 Exchange to Office 365 is a baseline necessity today, rather than an afterthought. But let us face the truth. Migrations can be complex if you have not done them before. Microsoft recommends hiring a partner which will assist you in migrating mailboxes from any legacy system to Office 365 with best practices.

Apps4Rent is a Microsoft-certified Tier 1 CSP for Office 365 and Azure, which has migrated over tens of thousands of migrations over a decade. If you are looking for an expert Office 365 migration service provider, contact us now!


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