Understanding Cloud-Only Deployments


Applies to: Exchange Server 2010 SP2

A cloud-only deployment is one where your organization in the Exchange Online service isn’t connected with your on-premises directory and Exchange organization in a hybrid deployment. Exchange Online is part of the Microsoft Office 365 for enterprises program. In a cloud-only deployment:

  • If you have an on-premises Exchange organization, the cloud-based organization looks like an external mail system.

  • Users need to use different credentials to access their cloud-based mailboxes.

  • Your on-premises directory isn't synchronized with the cloud-based organization. Cloud-based mailboxes and distribution groups are managed separately from on-premises mailboxes and distribution groups.

A cloud-only deployment is most often used when you want to migrate from your existing on-premises e-mail system to Exchange Online. If you've already signed up for Office 365, you can access the mailbox migration tools by logging on to the Office 365 administrative portal for your organization. If you haven't chosen to sign up for Office 365 yet, here's planning information that may help you: Exchange Hybrid Deployment and Migration with Office 365.

If you don’t want any of the functionality mentioned in the list above, you need to configure a hybrid deployment between your on-premises Exchange organization and the cloud-based organization. With a hybrid deployment, you get the following capabilities:

  • Directory synchronization

  • Single sign-on

  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) transport

  • Free/busy and calendar sharing

  • And more

If you want to learn more about hybrid deployments, click the Hybrid button in the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant.

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