Comprehensive Guide to Tenant to Tenant Microsoft 365 Migrations

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Architecture approaches for scenarios, such as divestitures, mergers, and acquisitions compel organizations to migrate from one Microsoft 365 tenant to another. Certified Microsoft partners and third-party tools make it easier to move tenants. The migration process requires proper planning.

In the past, Exchange Online tenants needed to off-board completely on-premises when migrating mailboxes to another tenant. Fortunately, changes to the system eliminate the need for off-boarding and onboarding, thanks to the limited infrastructure dependencies.

For many organizations, mergers and acquisitions are inevitable; thus, they need to migrate tenants. According to a Deloitte survey, 61 percent of directors anticipate an upsurge in acquisitions and mergers similar to pre-2020 levels.

It is no surprise that Microsoft 365 environments and infrastructures are evolving rapidly. The suite needs to transform in tandem with mergers and acquisitions (M&As), domain changes, divestitures, and data center relocations. Evolving business requirements compel organizations to migrate regardless of identical functionality and capabilities in the new infrastructure.

Tenant to tenant migration (T2T) is a multi-step process that typically requires a certified Microsoft partner.

Sean Connery with Orbis Solutions shares what you should consider before migrating tenants.

The Planning Phase

During this stage, you need to plan carefully how your team and external IT experts will handle the migration. Key aspects of the planning include domain preparation, domain verification, scheduling, and migration facilitation.

Domain Preparation

Preparation plays an integral role in ensuring that migration progresses smoothly. It involves creating admin accounts, conducting AD DS consolidation, creating adequate space, verifying Microsoft 365 subscriptions, and training end-users. The process also entails checking the licenses required for the target space.

You also need to create the appropriate distribution groups, including user and resource mailboxes for the target domain. Before training end-users, you sync the target tenant directly with the source tenant domain.

Domain Verification

During tenant to tenant Microsoft 365 migrations, domain verification is a critical step that enables you to confirm ownership of the new domain. Syncing the source tenant domain to the target generates TXT records in the domain name server (DNS). To ensure a glitch-free verification process, the target tenant account should have an exclusive connection to the domain. When done correctly, the changes take effect in roughly 72 hours.

Migration Scheduling

At this stage, start by identifying all the mailboxes you intend to migrate. Once you compile a list of the mailboxes, generate a CSV file for mapping purposes. Next, check the primary email domain’s MX record for the lowest value of TTL (time to live) before deactivating the Azure directory sync.

Implementing the Migration

On migration day, you have three main tasks to handle before getting ready to train users. The three tasks include stopping inbound emails from reaching the source tenant by modifying MX record values. Also, delete existing objects in the source tenant’s primary mail domain. Wait for one hour before proceeding to the last step, which entails verifying the source tenant in the target domain.

Once the changes take effect, you are free to activate user accounts and assign licenses. At this stage, you should also verify that the email delivery system works smoothly.

Tenant to Tenant Microsoft 365 Migration Top Tips

Successful Office 365 tenant to tenant migration requires careful planning and execution. Hence, the need to follow specific guidelines and tips. For instance, ensure that the source and tenants are ready before kickstarting the migration process. Also, compile a detailed inventory of items that you intend to move to the new tenant.

The best part is that a Microsoft 365 consulting firm can help you plan and prepare for the move more effectively. Here are some tips to help you get the job done efficiently and correctly.

Identify and Fix Potential Problems

When it comes to tenant-to-tenant migration, there are wide-ranging issues capable of derailing your plans. Some problems may emanate from the following aspects:

  • Character limitations
  • File sizes
  • Folders containing over 5,000 items
  • Unsupported list templates
  • File names and paths
  • Permissions
  • Orphaned users

Most migration tools available on the market find it challenging to move items with unique or custom permissions. In such cases, you will need to configure the permission levels manually.

Compile a Comprehensive Inventory

To migrate successfully, identify data sources, usage status, repository hierarchy, file sizes, and current workloads. The assessment may reveal duplicate content, invalid data, and information ready for archiving or deletion.

Organize and Update Source and Target Tenants

During the pre-planning phase, focus on organizing and updating the two tenants. Doing so contributes to the success of the migration and, ultimately, mergers and acquisitions. Reduce clutter by deleting and archiving redundant files. In addition, assign at least one owner for all groups and manage access restrictions. The proper organization also benefits users by improving navigation.

Benefits of Hiring a Microsoft Partner for T2T Migrations

Tenant-to-tenant Microsoft 365 migrations can be daunting without the support of an established IT firm. Working with an accredited partner makes it easier to avoid common T2T migration pitfalls. In turn, you tap into specialized expertise in Microsoft 365 migrations. Experts can guide you step by step to ensure that the entire process progresses according to plan.

High-level support helps solve unique migration challenges, eliminating the need to worry about unwanted glitches and delays. Proper handling of the process enables your company to meet current and future expectations. Many organizations turn to Microsoft partners to take advantage of professional user training once the migration is complete.

Using Office 365 Migration Tools

Tenant to tenant migration tools reduces the complexity and the possibility of losing data. You can either use MS 365 or a third-party T2T migration tool to ensure a seamless approach. Most organizations opt for Microsoft’s Azure AD Connect ahead of third-party tools. With the tool, you can simplify migration projects and workflow.

Microsoft’s Azure AD Connect makes it easier to move data from the source to the target tenant. In addition, you can rely on the tool to transfer MS 365 subscriptions to the new tenant. Automating these tasks is critical to the success of the migration process. You no longer need to worry about complications when transferring mailboxes, moving domains, and merging tenants.

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