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Plan an Office 365 pilot deployment


Applies to: Office 365 Enterprise

Topic Last Modified: 2013-09-18

Summary: Describes the benefits of piloting Office 365, the recommended number of pilot users, and how to sign up for an Office 365 pilot.

Your organization may want to conduct a pilot deployment as part of its Office 365 planning and evaluation process. The pilot enables your organization to conduct its own in-house testing of Office 365 for enterprises features and functionality. It helps you to identify and assess any service issues that might affect your business prior to moving a significant number of individuals to Office 365 service offerings.

In addition, pilot deployments can help you test migration processes against the various types of mailboxes that are found within your environment. For example, if your current messaging system includes Lotus Domino and Lotus Notes, the pilot should also test access to Lotus Notes applications that may be left behind in the migration process.

The Exchange Server Deployment Assistant does not support hybrid deployments with Lotus Domino and Lotus Notes.

A pilot of the Lync Online service within your organization is also an important part of the overall deployment plan. For additional information, see the Help topic Set up Microsoft Lync Online.

In some cases, pilots may begin before and extend well past the Plan phase. You may choose to conduct a service trial prior to signing an Office 365 subscription agreement and operate your trial up until the time of full organizational deployment.

Developing a pilot plan is recommended to help keep the pilot on track. Organizations typically start with about 10 users participating in the pilot. More users are added as confidence in overall system performance is demonstrated.

To launch your pilot program, your organization simply signs up for the Office 365 in the usual manner. There is not a separate Office 365 pilot program.

For larger organizations with an on-premises Active Directory of more than 50,000 objects, there are special considerations that apply to the configuration of your company for Office 365 services. If your organization's directory exceeds 50,000 objects , it is strongly recommended when initiating your pilot program that you use a test domain and company name that are different than those you plan to use for your full migration to the Office 365 production environment. You should also work with the Office 365 sales and support team before creating your Office 365 production environment.

You can use the the checks available in OnRamp for Office 365 to help assess how many total Active Directory objects, and specifically user objects, are stored in your Active Directory forest.
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