Last fall, Microsoft announced that it would extend the end-of-life date for Exchange 2010 until October 2020. While the announcement brought a measure of relief for organizations under a time crunch, October will arrive in no time. If you have not already upgraded, now is the time to get started with your Exchange migration.

To help you plan your migration, you need to understand the impact of Exchange 2010 end of life. Then, you will need to decide the best migration path for your organization. That is, you can stay on-premises and upgrade to Office 2019. Or, you can take the plunge and migrate to the cloud with Office 365.

Exchange 2010 Approaching End of Life

On October 13, 2020, Exchange 2010 will join Exchange 2003 and 2007 in end-of-life status. That does not mean that it will no longer run. However, it does mean that Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, updates or security fixes. Consequently, organizations that choose not to upgrade leave themselves vulnerable to attack.

If your organization currently runs Exchange 2010, this means that you have several options:

  • Migrate to Exchange 2016/2019 – For some organizations, cloud migration may not prove a viable option, due to regulatory requirements, security concerns or unique settings.
  • Migrate to Office 365 – For organizations that can operate in the cloud, moving to Office 365 offers the simplest option. This option also delivers the additional collaborative benefits of Office 365. And it reduces the maintenance load on IT.
  • Stay with Exchange 2010 and take your chances – If you choose this option, be prepared for increasingly poor performance and costly security vulnerabilities.

Migrating to Current Versions of On-Premises Exchange

Exchange 2010Migrating from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2019 involves a steppingstone. Unfortunately, organizations cannot move directly from 2010 to 2019. Instead, they must first move to Exchange 2013 or 2016 and then complete the final migration to Exchange 2019.

Most organizations will choose Exchange 2016 as the steppingstone, instead of Exchange 2013. The 2016 version offers more features. Additionally, because 2016 has several years of support left, this provides organizations a buffer zone, if necessary, before they must complete the final upgrade to 2019.

Exchange 2010Keep in mind that for organizations still running Exchange 2003, the process gets even more complicated. In this situation, they must first migrate to Exchange 2010, then 2016 and finally 2019.

Migrating from Exchange 2010 to Office 365

Unlike an on-premises migration from Exchange 2010 to 2019, migrating from Exchange 2010 (or even earlier) to Office 365 requires no stepping stone. Organizations can choose from among several migration options.

  • Exchange 2010Cutover migration – The most straightforward option, a cutover migration works best with 150 mailboxes or less. Also, if you need to select just certain items to import, this may not be an option for you.
  • Hybrid migration – In a hybrid migration, Exchange 2010 and Office 365 coexist for a time (or indefinitely, if the organization chooses). While this option takes more planning and time, it might offer the best alternative, particularly for organizations with many users.
  • PST import – Only use this manual approach if you have very little data to move, as it takes a long time and can prove unreliable.
  • Third party expertise – Better yet, offload the process to a migration expert. Third party tools and consultants can remove most of the pain and frustration and guide you through the migration process.

Pain-Free Exchange Migration

Whether you stay on-premises or move to the cloud, the process of migrating from Exchange 2010 takes time. Contact Messaging Architects now to get started. With deep expertise in Exchange migrations, we will help you reduce risk while maximizing the benefits of the new system.

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