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Decommissioning on premise servers

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I know this question has been asked and I've searched the forum on this topic but have come up with conflicting answers so I'll ask it again.


I've done a staged migration using a hybrid server and have finished all the moves and am now wanting to decommission the on premise servers.


My environment:

On premise servers:  Exch 2003 -> 1 mailbox server, 1 frontend.  1 hybrid server -> Exch 2010

- Dirsync is in place and working

- SSO is in place and working

- AD is 2003 native mode (probably not relevant)


My goal is to remove my entire on premise Exchange infrastructure (obviously Dirsync and SSO will stay in place).  Is it a simple matter of following the instructions on uninstalling Exchange?  If so:

- what order should they be removed in?

- for the hybrid, is there anything special you need to do other than uninstalling?  Remove connectors first?  Break the federation?  Is there a guide on how to do this properly?

- after they are all removed, is it possible to install the EMC only on a server or workstation so I can see/manage the online side?  If so, how?  I know you can do most of the admin through the O365 admin portal but I think it leaves a bit to be desired.

- also, can the Exchange powershell component be installed on a server so you can do remote management of the online environment as needed?

- any other tips, tricks, etc. that might be good to know?

All Replies
  • Hi AndyE88,

    Thanks for your post. For my understanding, you have use staged migration to move all the mailbox from local to lcaol. Before that you have setup the hybrid . Now you want to remove the hybrid and only leave SSO and dirsync.

    For this case, to remove the configuration of hybrid is very complicated. There are a lots steps and need to remove manually. I highly recommend you don't to do that. You can keep everything right now and can shutdown the hybrid service to a walk-around solution.

    If you have any concern, you can feel free to post them here.

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • Neo,

    Please clarify - are you suggesting I keep the hybrid server in place?  Why?  I have no mailboxes on-premise now and have no need for any of the on-premise servers.  My hybrid server was installed with a copy of Windows 2008 using a trial license since it would not be needed after the migration and is due to expire within a few couple of weeks.  I need to find out how to do this.

    Can you please answer the questions I originally posted.

  • Hi AndyE88,

    Thanks for your reply. To remove the hybrid configuration on Office365, you need to remove the following setting:

    1, Remove Exchange Federated setting (remove in EMC)

    2, Remove Accepted Domains  (remove in EMC)

    3, Remove SMTP Alias (the SMTP alias which works for internal mail-flow)

    4, Remove Send Connector

    5, Remove FOPE connectors

    Currently, there is no documentation about the un-install/break hybrid role.

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • Neo,

    Thanks for the information.  Is there any chance you can expand on each step -> add details on the exact steps?

  • Hi Andy,

    Before that, could you tell me which way you are using for setup the hybrid? Manually configure or run HCW wizard?

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • I don't know, this was done by a Microsoft partner.  I'll ask him.

    In case I can't get a hold of him, what would be the difference?  I don't think there was anything exotic about the way things were done.  One other thing to note, we already have the MX recorded point to the online side.

  • Hi AndyE88,

    Generally, both of them are complicated. If using SP2 HCW to setup the hybrid , You need to check the HCW log first (C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\Logging\Update-HybridConfiguration) and find out the attribute which has been updated . After finding out, you need to manully remove them via Powershell.

    If using SP1, you can see here

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • I have SP2 installed.  When you mention attributes that need to be removed, do you mean schema changes?  I would actually like to have schema changes regarding email attributes remain as long as they don't interfere with normal operations.

  • Hi Andy,

    Which I mentioned is check the HCW log and setup the attributes back. It's nothing related to the Exchange schema . The setting I mentioned in log is all about in cloud side.

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • Hi Andy,

    How are you? I'm writing in just want to ensure that all the information above is useful for you.

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • Neo,

    Sorry, I got busy for a while.

    I was talking to other techs who suggested I try turning off the hybrid server and see if everything still functions.  If it does then I can simply uninstall Exchange 2010.  I tried turning it off and everything did still work.  If I do the uninstall the connectors should be removed too, is that right?  Are there connectors on the online side that should be removed too?  I was told I probably wouldn't have to worry about them but it would probably be a good idea to tidy it up.  What about the federation trust, does it need to be removed or does it matter?

    Another question related to this.  If I were to install the EMC on another server would it automatically detect the settings in our current system such that I can remotely manage the online environment?  That is, should I do that before I uninstall Exchange on the hybrid? Is there documentation on how to install the EMC by itself such that it connects to the onlne environment?

    Another question:  can you confirm that e-mail attributes will not be removed when I uninstall the hybrid server?  Also, will the attributes remain when I uninstall the on premise mailbox and front end servers?

  • Hi AndyE88,

    You can just keep everything , just modify the outboud connector on FOPE.  If you don't need local hybrid server , you can just turn-off the server and before that you need to point MX to cloud.

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • My MX record was pointed to the cloud a long time ago.

    I installed the Hybrid server on a demo copy of Windows 2008, I didn't buy a license since I knew I didn't want to keep it.  If I just turn if off what will happen in the long run?

    I also don't want to keep my Exchange 2003 servers since they really don't serve any purpose anymore and I don't want to keep extra infrastructure in place for no reason.  Does it matter if I uninstall them before or after the Hybrid?

    What outbound connector on FOPE do I need to modify?

    BTW, I found out from the MS partner who set up the hybrid for us that he used the wizard.

  • Hi AndyE88,

    As I know ,there will not any impact for turn-off your Windows 2008 hybrid server. But before that you need to remove the onbound and inbound connector. Other question, do you need to keep SSO for your organization?

    Thanks, Neo Zhu

  • Why do the connectors need to be removed since there are no mailboxes left on-premise?  Is it just to keep things tidy?  Just to be clear, do you mean the connectors on the hybrid as well as in FOPE?

    Yes I need to keep SSO.  What does that have to do with the hybrid server?

    Do I need to do something about the Federation trust which, as I understand it, has nothing to do with SSO \ Federation Services.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.