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Understanding Upgrading Office 365 Tenants for Exchange 2010-based Hybrid Deployments

 

Applies to: Exchange Server 2010 SP3, Exchange Server 2010 SP2

Topic Last Modified: 2013-04-09

Organizations that have configured a hybrid deployment with Microsoft Office 365 using Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 servers need to consider several factors when upgrading an Office 365 tenant to the next service version. Organizations with an existing hybrid deployment should evaluate whether to remain configured as an Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployment or upgrade their on-premises organization to an Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployment.

Organizations with on-premises Exchange 2010-only hybrid deployments need to make this evaluation, as well as Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2003 on-premises organizations that have added Exchange 2010 servers as part of the hybrid deployment configuration process. Organizations with existing Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments should also be aware that some administrative tasks are necessary to ensure full hybrid feature functionality. This topic focuses on Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments and the Office 365 tenant upgrade process.

Hybrid deployments between your on-premises and Office 365 organizations can be configured using either Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2010 servers. Depending on which version of Exchange you deploy in your on-premises organization to configure hybrid, your hybrid deployment will be either an Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployment or an Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployment. Following is a brief description of each deployment type:

  • Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployment   Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments use Exchange 2010 servers to connect to the Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) service (formerly known as Forefront Online Protection for Exchange) included with all Office 365 tenants. Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments can either be on-premises organizations that are homogenous Exchange 2010 organizations, or Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 on-premises organizations that have added Exchange 2010 servers as part of configuring a hybrid deployment with Office 365. This includes adding servers with either the Exchange 2010 Client Access or Edge Transport server roles.
     
    Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments are compatible with the newest version of Office 365, provided some requirements are met. Compatibility with Office 365 allows organizations to remain configured as Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments if they choose not to use the new features of Exchange 2013.
     
  • Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployment   Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployments use Exchange 2013 servers to connect to the EOP service included with all Office 365 tenants. Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployments can either be on-premises organizations that are homogenous Exchange 2013 organizations, or Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 on-premises organizations that have added Exchange 2013 servers as part of configuring a hybrid deployment with Office 365. All on-premises Exchange 2013 servers must have installed Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) or greater for Exchange 2013 to support hybrid functionality with Office 365. Additionally, Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployments must connect to Office 365 tenants with a version equal to or greater than 15.0.620.28 for full hybrid functionality. For more information, see Cumulative Updates for Exchange 2013 and Hybrid Deployment Prerequisites.
     
    Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployment also includes scenarios where on-premises organizations add servers with the Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 (SP3) Edge Transport server role to Exchange 2013 organizations to use the benefits of a perimeter network. For more information about Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployments, see Exchange Server 2013 Hybrid Deployments.
importantImportant:
Exchange 2003 on-premises organizations can’t configure a hybrid deployment using Exchange 2013 servers. These organizations must use Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments to configure coexistence with Office 365.

Microsoft initiates Office 365 tenant upgrades. When their Office 365 tenant is eligible for upgrade to the newest version of the service, Office 365 administrators receive an email notification from Microsoft. While the Office 365 tenant upgrade process is fully automated and doesn’t require any additional deployment requirements for cloud-only organizations, organizations with Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployments should install Exchange Server 2010 SP3 as part of the Office 365 upgrade process.

For more information, see Office 365 Service Upgrade Center for Enterprise.

As part of the Office 365 tenant upgrade process, we recommend that administrators install Exchange Server 2010 SP3 so that Exchange 2010-based organizations are fully functional when the Office 365 tenant is upgraded to version v15.

Exchange Server 2010 SP3 is recommended for all Exchange 2010 Client Access and Hub Transport servers in an Exchange 2010-based hybrid deployment that are Internet-facing and connect to Office 365 tenant version v15 or higher. This recommendation also includes any Exchange 2010 Edge Transport servers that are configured to connect with Office 365 as part of a hybrid deployment.

We also recommend installing Exchange 2010 SP3 on your Exchange 2010 servers and management workstations in your on-premises organization before you accept the Office 365 update invitation. Exchange 2010 SP3 contains updates to the Exchange Management Console (EMC) that allow it to connect to the remote Exchange Online organization, as well as updating the management experience for the remote Exchange Online organization.

importantImportant:
If you don’t install Exchange 2010 SP3 prior to your Office 365 tenant upgrading to version v15, don’t worry. Your hybrid deployment-related features and secure mail between your on-premises and Exchange Online organizations will continue to function normally. You’ll receive a general prompt from Microsoft to upgrade to the latest rollup/service pack when you try to access the remote Exchange Online organization node in the EMC. Instead of using the link provided in the upgrade prompt in the EMC, use this link to go to the Microsoft Download Center and download Exchange 2010 SP3:  Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 (SP3). If you need to manage the organization configuration setting for the Exchange Online organization prior to updating to Exchange 2010 SP3, you can use the Exchange admin center (EAC) in the Office 365 tenant.
To learn more about hybrid management and the version v15 Office 365 tenant, see Understanding Hybrid Management in Exchange 2010 Hybrid Deployments.
To learn more about other updates included with Exchange 2010 SP3, see What's New in Exchange 2010 SP3.

The Exchange Online service included as part of an Office 365 tenant is based on Exchange Server. When the Office 365 tenant is upgraded and the tenant version changes, the version of Exchange Online also changes. Following is specific information about tenant versions currently available:

  • Office 365 tenant version v14   Office 365 tenant version 14 includes the Exchange Online service that is based on Exchange 2010. This tenant version is identified by version number 14.0.000.0 and higher.
  • Office 365 tenant version v15   Office 365 tenant version 15 includes the Exchange Online service that is based on Exchange 2013. This tenant version is identified by version number 15.0.000.0 and higher.
noteNote:
If you’re unsure what version of the Office 365 tenant is configured as part of your hybrid deployment, see the Verify Office 365 tenant version and status section later in this topic.

The Office 365 tenant version and each Exchange-based hybrid deployment requirements are listed in the following table.

 

On-premises environment Exchange 2010-based hybrid with tenant version v14 Exchange 2010-based hybrid with tenant version v15 Exchange 2013-based hybrid with tenant version v15

Exchange 2013 (CU1)

Not supported1

Not applicable

Supported

Exchange 2010 SP3

Supported

Supported

Supported5

Exchange 2010 SP2

Supported

Not supported2

Not supported

Exchange 2010 SP1

Supported

Not supported2

Not supported

Exchange 2007 SP3 RU10

Supported3

Supported4

Supported5

Exchange 2007 SP3

Supported3

Not Supported

Not supported

Exchange 2003 SP2

Supported3

Supported4

Not supported

noteNote:
1 Blocked in Exchange 2013 setup
2 Tenant upgrade notification provided in Exchange Management Console
3 Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2010 SP2 server
4 Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2010 SP3 server
5 Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2013 (CU1) or greater server

If you’re not sure which version of the Office 365 tenant is currently configured with your hybrid deployment, follow the steps below to verify the version of your Office 365 tenant:

  1. Connect to the Office 365 tenant using remote Windows PowerShell. For step-by-step connection instructions, see Connect Windows PowerShell to the Service.
  2. After connecting to the Office 365 tenant, run the following command.
    Get-OrganizationConfig | Format-List AdminDisplayVersion
    
    Note the version of your Office 365 tenant. The AdminDisplayVersion parameter displays the current value for the Office tenant version. For example, “0.10 (14.0.500.5)” for a v14 tenant or “0.20 (15.0.620.51)” for a v15 tenant.
    importantImportant:
    Exchange 2013-based hybrid deployments must connect to Office 365 tenants with a version equal to or greater than 15.0.620.28 for full hybrid functionality.
  3. Disconnect from the Office 365 tenant remote PowerShell session. For step-by-step disconnection instructions, see Connect Windows PowerShell to the Service.
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