Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Import Service- Office 365

Microsoft’s recent announcements about the improved Office 365 Import Service and Auto Scaling, Highly Scalable Archives are great news for those companies moving to Office 365 and looking to remove local copies of PST files.

There were a number of third-party tools available or even a tool from Microsoft such as “PST Capture Tool” pretty painful to use and quite buggy. If there were small quantities of PSTs that needed to be imported, you could probably make it work but it wasn’t great for anything large scale. Another previous options is that we were uploading the PSTs over the Internet which could be time consuming depending on the amount of data or network speed.

Microsoft released the new Office365 Import Service, following is the features

  • Quicker imports of data into Exchange online Archive Mailboxes.
  • Import Exchange Online data through PST files into the service without using third party tools.
  • Migrate PST file to Exchange Online.
  • Larger volumes of data you can copy your PST archive files onto a hard drive and then send this by courier directly to the nearest Microsoft Datacenter.
  • For smaller amounts of data you can upload the PST files to an Azure storage account, and Microsoft will import the email data from there.

Why use the Office365 Import Service

  • It will help address compliance such as data discovery, subject to retention policies and discovered by auditing controls.
  • It will help to protect data loss.
  • Cut over migration for multi forest environment where you have less number of user (~500) with small size of mailbox size.
  • Migrate Archive mailbox migration.

Office 365 Import Service Option

There are two option on Import Service
 Ship data drive: If you have to transfer a large amount of data, you can choose the ship drive option because uploading large amount data it over the network is not feasible.
Upload the data over network: If you have smaller amount of data you can choose  upload the PST files over the network.
Both methods end result to data getting moved into Office365 mailbox.


  • PST file , we need to collect PST file either copied into the hard drive or upload to the cloud storage.
  • You have to have an Office 365 subscription with active user and mailboxes for all users which email data is going to be import.
  • PST to user mapping file.
  • For shipping hard drive, you need to make sure Hard Drive larger than 4 TB are support, Data volume must be formatted with NTFS.
  • BitLocker encryption must be enabled for all hard drive

High Level Process

  • Consolidate PSTs into network share.
  • Download and install the Microsoft Azure Storage Tools
  • Obtain unique upload URL and Key
  • Upload the PST data using AZcopy.exe tool. (You can download from Microsoft –Azure Storage Tools
  • Create mapping file.
  • Import the data into mailboxes

Assign the Mailbox Import Export admin role to a user in Office365 portal

You need to be assigned the Mailbox Import Export role.
To assign the Mailbox Import Export admin role

  • In the Office 365 admin center, choose the ADMIN in the left pane, and then choose Exchange.
  • In the Exchange admin center, choose permissions admin roles, and then select Compliance Management.
  • Choose the Plus symbol (+) to add a new role group.
  • In the Role Group dialog box, type a name and a description for the role group.
  • To add a role, choose the Plus symbol (+) above the Roles list.
  • In the Select a Role dialog box, choose Mailbox Import Export in the DISPLAY NAME list, and then choose add > OK.
  • In the new role group dialog box, choose the Plus symbol (+) above the Members list, and then select the users you want to have this role.

Import files to Office365 by Shipping Drive

  • Download and Install the drive preparation tool (
  • Copy the unique tenant key.
  • Prepare your drive- Azure import/Export tool will generate the drive journal file for each drive, it will include the drive ID & BitLocker key.
  • Create the PST to User mapping file
  • Create a new import job in the Office365 admin center
    Choose Ship on Physical hard drives

    Give the Name of the Job
    Add mapping file
  • Ship the drives- ship the drive to the address of the Microsoft Datacenter obtained.

Import PST file into Office365 through Network Upload

  • Download the network upload tool (
  • Get the Storage account key and URL.
    Copy the key
    Copy the key
  • Use Microsoft Azure AZCopy tool to upload the PST file
  • Create the PST to user mapping file to upload.
    Mapping file
  • Create a new PST file upload
    Select Upload files over the network

    Once you click on finish, you can check the Import progress on Portal itself.

    Also if you want to view the one particular job status you can click on view 

    For smaller sets of data, I will recommend network uploads of PST files to Microsoft servers, which we then import into Exchange Online mailboxes.
    For larger datasets, you can copy PST archive files onto hard drives and mail them directly to Microsoft datacenters. Once Microsoft receive the drives, they will copy the PST files to internal servers and then import the mail into Exchange Online mailboxes

    Hope entire process will help some of the guy who are looking for upload PST file to using third party tool, i can say its cost effective solution by Microsoft.

    Thank you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Import Service error- Office365

I was working with some user’s migration into Office365 using Office365 import service, when I started import process and check the status, there is no items, see the below snap shot.

After many attempts, finally  I checked message center and finally got the below message 

I tried to get the actual status of the my Import job status but no luck, so now i have to wait till mentioned date & time.


Exchange 2013 OAB Generate Multiple Times a Day

In Exchange earlier versions we can schedule an OAB generation in Exchange servers. As you know there are multiple changes on OAB (See here). The generation of the OAB back in Exchange 2010 was based on a schedule set on the OAB’s properties.

Now in Exchange 2013 (CU 9) we can generate Offline Address Book (OAB) multiple time a day.

There are two component in Exchange 2013 which are generating OAB in Exchange 2013 OABGeneratorWorkCycle and OABGeneratorWorkCycleCheckpoint.

OABGeneratorWorkCycle parameter specifies the time span in which the OAB generation on the Mailbox server will be processed. The default value is 8 hours.

OABGeneratorWorkCycleCheckpoint parameter specifies the time span at which to run OAB generation on the Mailbox server. The default value is 1 hours.

Default Exchange update OAB every 8 hours


If we want to generate OAB every 2 hours we can achieve this with below cmdlet

Set-Mailboxserver “ServerName” –OABGeneratorWorkCycle 00.02:00:00 –OABGeneratorWorkCycleCheckpoint 00:30:00

Once execute above command, I verified the Exchange server event ID, now it is getting generate every 2 hours.

The most important point is you have to set these properties across all your Mailbox Servers that might be generating the OAB. The server is hosting the arbitration mailbox with Persisted Capability “OrgnizationCapabilityOABGen” is the one responsible for the OAB generation.

For non DAG

Get-Mailbox -Arbitration | Where {$_.PersistedCapabilities -match "oab"} | FT Name, ServerName

For a DAG environment
Get-Mailbox -Arbitration | Where {$_.PersistedCapabilities -match "oab"} | FT Name, Database

finally check  which server currently has that database mounted:
Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus “database”