Configure Office 365 Groups with on-premises Exchange hybrid

 

Topic Last Modified: 2016-12-06

Learn how to enable on-premises Exchange users to use Office 365 Groups in a hybrid deployment.

Groups is an Office 365 service that enables teams to communicate, schedule meetings, and collaborate on documents more easily. All information shared with a group, from email messages sent to the group, to files stored in the group's OneDrive for Business or SharePoint libraries, is available to any member of a group. If you've configured a hybrid deployment between your on-premises Exchange organization and Office 365, you can make groups created in Office 365 available to your on-premises users by following the steps in this topic.

ImportantImportant:
Using Office 365 Groups with on-premises users in an Exchange hybrid deployment is a new feature. Because it's so new, you might run into some issues when you set it up. Be sure to check out the Known issues section at the end of this topic for fixes to issues you might run into.

Before you start, make sure that you've done the following:

  • Purchased Azure Active Directory Premium licenses for your tenant. This is required to enable the Groups writeback feature in Azure Active Directory Connect.

  • Configured a hybrid deployment between your Exchange on-premises organization and Office 365 and verified it's functioning correctly. For more information about Exchange hybrid deployments, see the following:

  • Installed a supported version of Exchange on-premises Exchange integration with Office 365 Groups is available in CU1 and newer releases of Exchange 2016, and CU11 and newer releases of Exchange 2013. However, Exchange hybrid requires the latest Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2016 Cumulative Update (CU) to be installed on your on-premises Exchange servers. If you can't install the latest CU, the update released immediately prior to the current CU can be used.

  • Configured single sign-on using Azure Active Directory Connect (Azure AD Connect). This is needed to allow users to click on the View group files or cloud attachment links in group email messages.

    When configuring Azure AD Connect for single sign-on in an Exchange hybrid deployment, we recommend that you use password synchronization. Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) should only be used if you're in a large organization; if you have a complex on-premises Active Directory deployment (for example, multiple Active Directory forests); if another Microsoft product requires AD FS to work with Office 365; or if, due to compliance policies, you're not able to synchronize passwords outside of your on-premises network. For more information about single sign-on, see Integrating your on-premises identities with Azure Active Directory.

  1. In the Azure AD Connect wizard, select Customize synchronization options and then click Next.

  2. On the Connect to Azure AD page, enter your Office 365 and on-premises credentials. Click Next.

  3. On the Optional features page, verify that the options you previously configured are still selected. The most commonly-selected options are Exchange hybrid and Password hash synchronization.

  4. Select Group writeback and then click Next.

  5. On the Writeback page, select an Active Directory organizational unit (OU) to store objects that are synchronized from Office 365 to your on-premises organization, and then click Next.

  6. On the Ready to configure page, click Configure.

  7. When the wizard is complete, click Exit on the Configuration complete page.

  8. Open Active Directory Users and Computers on an Active Directory domain controller and locate the user account that begins with AAD_. Make note of this account's name.

  9. Open the Exchange Management Shell on an on-premises Exchange server, and run the following commands.

    $AzureADConnectSWritebackAccount = <AAD_ account name from step 8>
    
    $GroupsOU = <writeback Active Directory OU selected in step 5>
    
    Import-Module "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect\AdPrep\AdSyncPrep.psm1"
    
    Initialize-ADSyncGroupWriteBack -ADConnectorAccount $AzureADConnectSWritebackAccount -GroupWriteBackContainerDN $GroupsOU
    

The primary SMTP domain of an Office 365 Group is called a group domain. By default, the default accepted domain in your organization is chosen as the group domain. If you want to add a dedicated groups domain, you can add a domain using the following steps. For more information about multi-domain support for Office 365 Groups, check out Multi-domain support for Office 365 Groups

  1. Add your new domain to your Office 365 organization. If you need help adding a domain to Office 365, check out Add users and domains to Office 365

  2. Add the group domain as an accepted domain in your on-premises Exchange organization using the following command. This is needed so that the hybrid Send connector can be used to deliver outbound mail to the group domain in Office 365.

    New-AcceptedDomain -Name groups.contoso.com -DomainName groups.contoso.com -DomainType InternalRelay
    
  3. Create the following public DNS records with your DNS provider.

     

    DNS record name

    DNS record type

    DNS record value

    groups.contoso.com

    MX

    groups-contoso-com.mail.protection.outlook.com

    NoteNote:
    The format of this DNS record value is <domain key>.mail.protection.outlook.com. To find out what your domain key is, check out Gather the information you need to create Office 365 DNS records.

    autodiscover.groups.contoso.com

    CNAME

    autodiscover.outlook.com

    CautionCaution:
    If the MX DNS record for the group domain is set to the on-premises Exchange server, mail flow won't work correctly between users in the on-premises Exchange organization and the Office 365 Group.
  4. Add the group domain to the hybrid Send connector, created by the Hybrid Configuration wizard in your on-premises Exchange organization, using the following command.

    Set-SendConnector -Identity "Outbound to Office 365" -AddressSpaces "contoso.mail.onmicrosoft.com","groups.contoso.com"
    
    NoteNote:
    If the Send connector isn't updated, or if the group domain isn't added as an accepted domain in the on-premises Exchange organization, mail sent from an on-premises mailbox won't be delivered to the group unless the group is configured to receive mail from external senders.

To make sure that groups are working with your Exchange hybrid deployment, you should test them using an on-premises mailbox and using a mailbox that's been moved from your on-premises organization to Office 365. Use the steps in the following sections to do each test.

  1. Add an on-premises mailbox to an Office 365 Group.

  2. Add an Office 365 mailbox to the same Office 365 Group.

  3. Log into the Office 365 mailbox using Outlook on the web.

  4. Post a message to the group using the Office 365 mailbox.

  5. Open the on-premises mailbox using Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the web.

  6. Verify that the mailbox received an email message containing the post sent to the Office 365 Group.

  7. In the same mailbox, compose a reply to the message and send it to the group.

  8. Verify that the message can be viewed by all of the members of the group.

  1. Move a mailbox from your on-premises Exchange organization to Office 365.

  2. Add the mailbox to an Office 365 Group.

  3. In a new browser session, log into the mailbox that was moved to Office 365.

  4. In Outlook on the web, verify that the group is listed in the left navigation bar.

  5. Post a message to the group.

  6. Verify that the message can be viewed by all of the members of the group.

  • Groups don't appear for mailboxes moved to Office 365 When a user is moved from your on-premises Exchange organization to Office 365, groups won't appear in the left navigation pane in Outlook or Outlook on the web. To fix the issue, remove the mailbox from any groups of which it is a member, and re-add it to each group.

  • New groups don't appear in the on-premises Exchange global address list (GAL) When a new group is created in Office 365, it won't appear in the on-premises GAL automatically. To fix this issue, open the Exchange Management Shell on an on-premises Exchange server and run the following command.

    Update-Recipient "<group name>"
    
  • Groups don't receive messages from on-premises users An on-premises user won't be able to send mail to an Office 365 Group when the following conditions are true:

    • The group domain is configured as an authoritative domain in your on-premises Exchange organization.

    • The group was recently created and its information hasn't been written back to your on-premises Active Directory yet.

    This issue will resolve itself when Azure AD Connect performs its next synchronization between Office 365 and your on-premises organization. Azure AD Connect synchronization occurs every thirty minutes.

  • On-premises users can't use links included in group message footers On-premises users can't use the View group conversations or Unsubscribe links that are included in the footer of each group message sent to them. To unsubscribe from a group, on-premises users need to contact a group administrator.

  • Mail sent to a group's secondary SMTP address fails to be delivered When multiple email addresses are added to a group, only the primary SMTP address is written back to your on-premises Active Directory. If an on-premises user tries to send a message to the secondary SMTP address of a group, the message will fail to be delivered. To prevent this issue, configure only one SMTP address on each group.

  • On-premises users can't become an administrator of a group On-premises users can't access the group space directly. Because of this, they can't be added as an administrator of a group.

  • Delivery of external mail to a group can fail if you've enabled centralized mail flow If centralized mail flow is enabled, mail sent by an external user to a group fails to be delivered, even though the group allows mails from external senders.

  • On-premises users can't send mail as a group An on-premises user who tries to send a message as an Office 365 Group will receive a permission denied error even if they're given Send As permissions on the group. Send As permissions on a group work only for Exchange Online mailbox users.

  • Selecting a group from Outlook's left navigation pane doesn't open the group’s mailbox Outlook uses the AutoDiscover URL to open a group mailbox. If a group’s primary email address is in a domain that doesn't point to Office 365's AutoDiscover URL (autodiscover.outlook.com), Outlook won't be able to open the group's mailbox. To fix the issue, groups can be provisioned with a primary address in a domain that points to Office 365's AutoDiscover URL. You can configure an email address policy to add a primary email address on each group mailbox that points to Office 365's AutoDiscover URL. Check out Multi-domain support for Office 365 Groups for more details.

 
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