How to Configure a Hybrid Office 365 Migration

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How to Configure a Hybrid Office 365 Migration

By Alistair Pugin | December 14, 2017

Hybrid is real, and it’s here to stay. Whether it is configured for email, content, or hosting, organizations are partially moving to the cloud while staying on-premises for a variety of reasons. Primarily, the cost effectiveness of moving workloads to the cloud is a key driving force behind the movement.

With Microsoft providing organizations that are looking to move to the cloud with a comprehensive set of platforms and tools, moving to and shaping a hybrid cloud strategy has become easier than ever before.

In this blog post, we’ll cover how to configure a hybrid Office 365 migration and detail the steps in deploying a hybrid environment.

Hybrid Office 365 Features

Over the last 3 years, Microsoft has been building hybrid capabilities into its SharePoint Server product, starting with capabilities for SharePoint Server 2013 and extending those capabilities in SharePoint Server 2016 through Feature Packs.

Essentially, what they have provided is a comprehensive list of features that allow organizations to integrate components of SharePoint on-prem to SharePoint Online (and vice-versa).

These features include:

  • Search
  • Taxonomy and content types
  • OneDrive
  • Auditing
  • Self-service site creation
  • Extranets
  • App launcher

By connecting your SharePoint on-prem environment to SharePoint Online, organizations can enable:

Findability: Search across multiple sites in multiple locations.

Centralized metadata management: Use the same Taxonomy across both platforms.

Utilization of cloud storage: Redirect users to store content in OneDrive, instead of My Sites.

Simplified navigation: Make cloud-based applications available on-prem through the unified app launcher.

Requirements for Office 365 Hybrid Features

Microsoft has provided customers with multiple ways for configuring the hybrid features in Office 365. The simplest way is to use the Hybrid Picker application that is available for download through the Office 365 Admin Center.

If you want to have more control over how the configuration is managed, there are scripts that can be run outside of the Hybrid Picker. However, this takes a considerable amount of time.

Before we look at how to configure a hybrid deployment, there are hardware and software requirements that organizations need to ensure are in place.

These requirements include:

  • On-Prem Active Directory
  • A configured SharePoint Farm with the necessary service applications (e.g. Service Pack 1 for SharePoint 2013)
  • An Office 365 tenant provisioned with SharePoint Online
  • Certificates for the Security Token Service
  • A reverse proxy
  • An external domain
  • Access to certain accounts

Once these requirements have been met, Microsoft provides various roadmaps for each of the hybrid configurations that are available.

[Note: These steps are for the manual configuration and do not form part of the Hybrid Picker process.]

Steps to Configuring a Hybrid Office 365 Migration

SharePoint Hybrid Roadmap

Figure 1: SharePoint Hybrid Roadmap

Each link in the roadmap guides you through the steps for configuring that particular feature. Alternatively, you can use the Hybrid Picker tool. This tool is available for download in the SharePoint Admin center, under the “Configure Hybrid” tab.

SharePoint Hybrid Picker page in Office 365

Figure 2: SharePoint Hybrid Picker page in Office 365

Once downloaded, the application will take you through a credentials screen for connecting to your on-prem SharePoint farm, as well as your Office 365 tenant.

This has to be run from your SharePoint Server, and you will need the global administrator credentials, not just the SharePoint Administrator details.

SharePoint Hybrid Picker credential manager

Figure 3: SharePoint Hybrid Picker credential manager

The following screen lists the prerequisites that is required for the Hybrid Picker to continue the installation.

Office 365 Prerequisite checker

Figure 4: Prerequisite checker

After all the conditions are met, you will now be able to select which hybrid features you want to enable.

[Note: Certain features require additional input parameters.]

Office 365 Feature selection

Figure 5: Feature selection

Following a successful completion, a configuration summary will be made available.

Figure 6: Configuration summary

At this point, there are a few additional steps to take, depending on which hybrid options you choose to configure, like:

  • OneDrive redirects
  • Hybrid site redirects
  • Hybrid app launcher

My suggestion would be to work through the roadmap steps and skip the configuration components and test the outcome of each of the features you have deployed.

What to Look for Post-Deployment

After confirming that your hybrid environment is deployed, it’s important to ensure that your on-prem environment is fully functional. Other things to consider following your deployment are:

  • A fully functional cloud Search service application.
  • A configured crawl schedule.
  • Properly synced Azure AD Connect to the right UPNs for the tenant.
  • Timer service jobs in Office 365.
  • Features that are one-way only. (e.g. OneDrive redirect is only from on-prem to the cloud.)
  • Configured Azure Information Protection and eDiscovery features.


Let’s face it: Hybrid is the new normal.

Sure, there will be industries that refuse point blank to move to the cloud, and certain regulations will restrict organizations from moving 100% to the cloud, but the argument for moving to the cloud with the hybrid approach is very real.

The primary benefits entail cost savings with storage, data loss prevention, security, and scalability (among many more), but its the intangible options that ushers organizations into a new level of operational efficiency.

Regardless of why your organization may commit to deploying a hybrid Office 365 migration, providing online features that enable user collaboration and on-prem security for regulatory compliance is a must for many organizations around the world.

Let Metalogix Help You with Your Hybrid Office 365 Migration

If you’re ready to move to the cloud (or thinking about making the move), Metalogix is happy to lend a hand. Check our eBook, “Your Journey to the Cloud: Why Hybrid is the New Normal,” to see how a hybrid environment can help you take advantage of both on-premises and cloud environments.

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Alistair Pugin

Alistair Pugin is an Office Servers MVP based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has worked in various capacities in multiple verticals spanning between 50 to 50,000 users utilizing all aspects of pure Enterprise Information Management. His current position provides him with a mechanism to assist companies with designing their Microsoft productivity stack using “best of breed” proven methodologies to foster innovation and growth through an ECM framework, while incorporating a Knowledge Management strategy. With this vision, he strives to provide customers with a platform for Business Productivity Enrichment, establishing communities of practice through proper analysis and building a knowledge economy that is both quantifiable and achievable.

Written By: Alistair Pugin