Office 365 Public Folders Migration: Why and when to use MigrationWiz and not the Microsoft native tool

Migrating legacy Microsoft Exchange Public Folders to Office 365 is a challenge that many Organizations are facing at the moment, and the first question that comes to mind is: “What tool shall I use?”

From my perspective and experience, you have two valid options to push your Public Folders to Exchange Online:

  1. The Microsoft Native tool
  2. MigrationWiz from BitTitan

Reasons to use the MigrationWiz Tool

When the source is a Hosted Exchange

Most of the steps you need to follow on the Microsoft TechNet article, to migrate the legacy public folders to Office 365, require full control on the source system. No Exchange hoster will give you the control and permissions you need to use the Microsoft Native tool, therefore using MigrationWiz will be the best option in this scenario.

When the source is Exchange 2013

Microsoft states the following, on the official technet article:

“Exchange supports moving your public folders to Office 365 and Exchange Online from the following legacy versions of Exchange Server:

  • Exchange 2010 SP3 RU8 or later
  • Exchange 2007 SP3 RU15 or later”

This means that when the source is Exchange 2013, at the moment there is no official and supported migration path to move the public folders to Office 365, as you can also read on the BitTitan’s blog article, that describes the experience of the Microsoft Exchange expert and blogger Todd Nelson.

Because you don´t need to patch your existing Exchange Servers

As described above, and stated by Microsoft, to run the native tool your source servers need to be patched with at least Exchange 2010 SP3 RU8 or Exchange 2007 RU15. Patching Exchange servers might require downtime, and if you´re moving to Office 365, chances are you will decommission all Exchange Servers, keeping only one for management if you are using AADSync. So why schedule a maintenance window and patch servers there are soon to be decommissioned? MigrationWiz supports major versions with no specific requirements on the service pack or update rollup.

Support for large Public folders

MigrationWiz adds great value, when you have large individual public folders, and/or the total amount of public folder data to be migrated is very large.

But let’s start with the individual public folders. Microsoft clearly states the following, on the native migration TechNet article:

“Before migration, if any public folder in your organization is greater than 2 GB, we recommend either deleting content from that folder or splitting it up into multiple public folders. If either of these options isn’t feasible, we recommend that you do not move your public folders to Office 365 and Exchange Online.”

Which means that they do not support the migration of public folders larger than 2GB, or at least if and when you have a problem with your migration (and believe me, chances are you will), related to folders bigger than 2GB, the Microsoft support will probably give you an answer based on the statement above.

By default the Public folders on Office 365 cannot be larger than 2GB, but as you can see on the Public Folder limits Technet article, that limit can be extended up to 10GB. If you have public folders with more than 2GB (and of course less than the 10GB limit), all MigrationWiz requires is that you prepare your target environment, by following this article.

Regarding the large total amount of data to migrate, the great value of the MigrationWiz tool, when compared to the native tool, is the capability of, in case of error, getting more detailed information, and more importantly, not having to restart a migration. I was forced to restart very big migrations, done with the Microsoft Native tool, after getting very vague errors, and because the Resume-PublicFolderMigrationRequest was not working, to get my failed migration back in motion. As you can imagine having to restart a 400GB Public folder migration that was 50% done, it´s not a good experience 🙂

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As you can see on the example above, the errors on the MigrationWiz portal are very clear and detailed, which helps a lot when troubleshooting. Public Folder mailboxes in Office 365 have a limit of 50GB per mailbox, therefore, if you´re migrating more than 50GB of data you need to follow this MigrationWiz article.

More details and statistics during the migration

Although with the native tool, you can run a Get-PublicFolderMigrationRequestStatistics, with the “-includereport” option, and export it to csv, that is nothing compared to what the MigrationWiz portal provides you.

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You can see both the total number and size, per item type, with errors or migrated successfully.

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There’s also information on the data migrated, items migrated or transfer speed, for you to have a better understanding of how things are progressing and estimate total migration times.

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You can see the migration history, and all kinds of statistics, including a very useful data and item speed per hour statistic.

All the above is, in my opinion and based on my experience, very important when you are migrating a large amount of data.

It´s easy to migrate

The way I see it, unless you have very good technical knowledge of both Exchange online and on-premises, you should go for a tool like MigrationWiz that makes your life much easier.

I’ve seen a lot of issues when using the Microsoft Native tool (and you can find some posts in my blog on how to solve them), and if you don’t have advance knowledge, and you want to use the tool, you should find someone that has that knowledge and experience, and can assist you with the migration.

To be clear:

Is the Microsoft native tool, to migrate public folders, a good tool? Yes!

Does it work? Yes!

Is it challenging from a technical perspective? Yes!

Reasons to use the Microsoft Native Tool

If none of the above is relevant to you or your Organization, and you are an expert on Exchange online and on-premises, then you can use the native tool.

The bottom line is that, everything I stated on this post is based on the large experience that I have with Office 365, and more specifically with migrating Public Folders to Exchange Online. I´ve helped dozens of Organizations to achieve that, and learned a lot in the process.

I hope this post was helpful and as always, let me know if you have questions!

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MigrationWiz: Public Folder migration fails to check destination credentials “No Public folder mailbox found” error

Are you trying to migrate your Public Folders to Office 365 and getting the error below?

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Of course the first thing I recommend is obviously for you to check if you do have Public Folder mailboxes created in your Office 365 tenant. Log into the 365 portal, click to Admin Exchange, and then go to Public Folders > Public Folder Mailboxes.

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You might need to wait up to 5/10 minutes after you create the Public Folder mailboxes and before running the MigrationWiz Public Folder project.

Also please make sure your MigrationWizAdmin user has the necessary permissions on the Public Folder structure. Read here for guidance.

Now what if everything described above is configured correctly, and you still have the same “No public folder mailbox found” error? Of course all the configurations described above are mandatory, but the real reason for this post is that something else might cause this error.

If all your users were moved to Office 365, and are accessing the Public Folders on premises, before you move those public folders to Office 365, I am sure you followed the Microsoft official article “Configure Legacy on-premises public folders for a Hybrid deployment“.

To enable the access to the legacy public folders, amongst other things, you need to run the following cmdlet:

Set-OrganizationConfig -PublicFoldersEnabled Remote -RemotePublicFolderMailboxes PFMailbox1,PFMailbox2,PFMailbox3

What the above cmdlet will do is, at the organization level set the Public Folders to remote, and more importantly, by setting the “RemotePublicFolderMailboxes” parameter and the OrganizationConfig level, it will change the “DefaultPublicFolderMailbox” parameter at the mailbox level, for all user mailboxes.

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Above you can see that the RemotePublicFolderMailboxes is set to a mailbox called admin.vargas, and in your scenario it should be the name of an on premises mailbox, “dirsynced” to Office 365.

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And if you look at the DefaultPublicFolderMailbox on your users, including the MigrationWiz admin user, that value will be set for the on-premises mailbox setting to match the “RemotePublicFolderMailboxes” parameters on the Organization Config.

So how does this affect the MigrationWiz project? Simple. Looking at the example above, the DefaultPublicFolderMailbox of the migwizadmin user is an on-premises “dirsynced” to 365 mailbox named “Admin.Vargas”, and that causes MigrationWiz to assume that there is no available public folder mailbox on 365. The solution is simple. Run the following cmdlet on your Office 365 Exchange PowerShell:

Set-Mailbox -identity migwizadmin@domain.onmicrosoft.com -DefaultPublicFolderMailbox PFMBX

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You can see your Public Folder mailbox name, on your Office 365 Exchange Admin Centre, as shown above.

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The cmdlet and the output, from the Exchange Online PowerShell.

Once the change is made, retry the MigrationWiz project, and job done!

There are a lot of good reasons for you to be in the scenario described above – Using MigrationWiz under a hybrid scenario, to move your public folders to Office 365 – especially if you have Public Folder with more than 2GB and a total amount of Public Folder data of more than 50GB. I will soon blog about all the advantages of skipping the Microsoft native tool to migrate the public folders and using MigrationWiz. Stay tuned!

Yet another Exchange legacy Public Folders replication issue: Old content not replicating to new PF databases

If you´re reading this post, chances are you´re stuck with a public folder replication issue. I´ve seen all sorts of issues with the replication of legacy public folders, but none without solution, so hopefully your solution is here 🙂

My scenario:

  • Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2 in 3 servers (2 existing and 1 new)
  • CAS/HT/Mailbox roles on all servers
  • Each server has a public folder mailbox
  • One server in Asia, one in America and one in the EMEA region

My problem:

The new public folder database was not getting all the existing public folder replicas/content.

Instead of going direct to my issue, let me guide you through all the steps you should take to make sure you understand why your replicas are not being pushed to the new PF database:

Have you added all the replicas (or the ones you need) to your new public folder database?

AddReplicaToPFRecursive.ps1 -Server <ExistingServer> -ServerToAdd <NewServer> -TopPublicFolder “\”

AddReplicaToPFRecursive.ps1 -Server <ExistingServer> -ServerToAdd <NewServer> -TopPublicFolder “\NON_IPM_SUBTREE”

The script above is on the Exchange scripts folder, and can be ran from an Exchange Management Shell. Look here for more details on the script.

You can check which replicas a public folder has, by running:

GetPublicFolder -Identity ‘\’ –Recurse | fl Name, Replicas

Get-PublicFolder -Server <NewServer> -Recurse

Is the above done and your public folder database is still not up to date?

If you do have the replicas pushed to the new server, and the content is still not being replicated, then please also check if the mail flow between the source and destination server is working.

In my case of course it was working, because as stated on the title of this post, only the old content of the public folders was not being replicated. New content was fine, which means that issues like mail flow or invalid replicas were ruled out.

An example:

UserA was connecting to a database on the new server that was using the new public folder database. Via OWA UserA opened the Public Folders, and created a new item. The item was replicated to all the Public Folder databases on all servers. UserA can only see a very limited number of items on the Public folders, all recent and created after the creation of the new PF Database.

So lets take a closer look at the statistics of a specific folder:

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The Public Folder “US” had zero items in the new server and 1087 on the old one. An item created now would replicate to both the new and the old server, but nothing was happening to old content.

Now before I continue, it´s mandatory for me to recommend you read an excellent Public Folder Troubleshooting article from the Ehlo Blog.

The next step is to raise the event log level on both the new and the old server. The logs you need to set to expert are under the “MSExchangeIS > 9001 Public” and are named “Replication Incoming Messages” and “Replication Outgoing Messages”.

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Now let’s force an update on a public folder by running on the new server Exchange Management Shell:

Update-PublicFolder -identity “\US” -server <OldServer>

And on the new server event viewer you can see the 0x20 Status Request event (see the troubleshooting guide provided above for more info on event codes).

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On the old server you can see the status request reply:

pferror4

But what you never see is an event like the one below, with status 0x4 that indicates that content is being replicated.

pferror5

So what is the solution? Update all the content using the ExFolders tool.

Click here to download it, and for full instructions on how to run it.

Once you have the Exfolders opened and connected to the old server, select the folders you want to update (in my case I selected the route because I wanted to update all) and click on “Modify All Items”.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: This will cause a replication storm, which means that all public folders on all databases will be updated and replicated. If you have a large public folder infrastructure you might want to consider doing this procedure during off work hours.

You will then see the folders being updated.

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And once that is done, wait for the replication to take place and run the public folder statistics cmdlet again.

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All up to date!

Hope that the above was helpful..

Set-AzureStaticVNetIP Error: The static address doesn’t belong to the address space defined by the role´s subnet

Quick blog post on a simple and logic error that you might get when you´re trying to set a static IP on your Microsoft Azure VM.

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So as you can see above, when you try and run:

Get-AzureVM -ServiceName MYMSEXCHANGE -Name TestVNetVM |Set-AzureStaticVNetIP -IPAddress 192.168.0.150 |Update-AzureVM

You get the error:

“Update-AzureVM : BadRequest : The static address 192.168.0.150 doesn’t belong to the address space defined by the role’s subnets.”

The reason behind this error is simple: You are trying to set a static IP for your VM that does not belong to the subnet where the VM is. So let’s have a quick look on how to see which subnet does your VM belongs to. From the azure PowerShell run:

$MyVM = Get-AzureVM -ServiceName MYMSEXCHANGE -Name TestVNetVM

Get-AzureSubnet -VM $MyVM

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The output will show you the Subnet of your VM.

You can also see the network where your VM is on by running:

Get-AzureVM |fl Name, VirtualNetworkName

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Now that you know what network and subnet your VM is on, you can go to the Azure Portal > Networks, and on the Configure tab of the network you can see the range of IP addresses from the subnet of your VM:

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In my case the VM is on the subnet-2, with a range of Ip’s of 192.168.1.0/24 and i was trying to set up an IP address on the 192.168.0.0/24 range.

Let’s try with a valid IP now on the 192.168.1.0/24 network:

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No error, job done, and as simple as it gets! 🙂