In the current article, we will review an Office 365 service named: Office 365 Import Service, which enables us to import PST files, into existing Exchange Online mailboxes.
The Office 365 Import Service relates to two different types of scenarios:
- Scenario 1 – ship drives to Microsoft. A scenario in which we store the PST file on a hard drive and ship the drive to Microsoft that will implement a procedure of importing the PST file to the required Exchange Online mailboxes.
- Scenario 2 – import PST file from our network to a dedicated store located at Office 365 and later provide some instructions that we import the PST file that stored in the “cloud” to the required Exchange Online mailbox\s.
The current two article series dedicated to Scenario 2, which described as Import files into Office 365 through the network upload.
A few words about the advantages of the Office 365 Import Service from Microsoft
[Source of information – Office 365 Import Service]
Frequently asked questions – Why use the Office 365 Import Service?
There are several reasons to use the Office 365 Import service:
- It helps address compliance needs by making your data discoverable using search tools, subject to retention policies, and covered by auditing controls.
- It helps protect against data loss. PST files that are moved into Office 365 mailboxes inherit the high availability features of Exchange Online, as opposed to storing the data on a user’s computer.
- The data is available to the user from all devices because it is stored in the cloud.
Office 365 Import Service | The article series
The article series include the following articles:
- Office 365 Import Service – Import PST into Office 365 user mailbox | Part 1#2
- Office 365 Import Service – Import PST into Office 365 user mailbox | Part 2#2
Table of content | Click to expand
Import files into Office 365 through a network upload
The process of Import PST files into Office 365 storage through a network upload includes a couple of steps and “first-time” configurations setting that we will review later on.
We can define two “significant” steps that relate to the scenario of Import PST files into Office 365 storage through a local network share:
Step 1 – copy the PST file\s from our local network to a dedicated store in Office 365.
In this step, we will need to export the information to a PST file and, store the PST file\s on a network share.
Later on, we will need to use a tool named: Microsoft Azure AZCopy Tool that will help us to “upload” the PST files that stored on our local network, to the “cloud” (the Office 365 dedicated store that will created for storing our PST files).
Step 2 – import the PST file\s to the required Exchange Online mailbox
After the PST files successfully uploaded to the Office 365 store, our next step is to import the PST file\s to an Exchange Online mailbox.
The import process based on a CSV file; that will use for “map” a particular PST file to a specific Exchange Online mailbox.
For example, we have uploaded to the cloud (Office 365 store) two PST files.
A PST file named: John.pst + a PST file named: Alice.pst
- We want to import the PST file name: John.pst into an Exchange Online mailbox of a user named: John.
- We want to import the PST file name: Alice.pst into an Exchange Online mailbox of a user named: Alice.
To be able to complete this task, we will need a way to “tell” Office 365, that he will need to select the particular PST file (John.pst). Next, look for an Exchange Online mailbox of a user named – John and import the content of PST file to John’s mailbox and the same for Alice mailbox.
Implementing Import files into Office 365 through a network upload | Task list
The task of Implementing Import files into Office 365 storage through a local network share, can is a little confusing because, in practice, it composed some tasks and activities.
To be able to see the “big picture,” attached the general task list. Later on, we will review in details each of the separated steps:
- Create a network share for storing the PST files.
- Export outlook data to PST file
- Copy the PST files in the network share.
- Add the required Exchange Online permissions (assign the Mailbox Import Export admin role).
- Copy the value of the SECURE KEY and the SECURE URL and save it.
- Download and install the: Microsoft Azure AZCopy Tool.
- Create the required command syntax for the Microsoft Azure AZCopy Tool based on the SECURE KEY and the SECURE URL value) and start the import process (waits until all the PST files are successfully uploaded to the cloud).
- Prepare the required CSV file (PST user mapping file).
- Login to Office 365 admin portal and start the import process (Import job).
Step 1/09 – Create a network share for storing the PST files.
The PSTshare1 folder will serve as a container for all the PST files that we want to upload to the cloud.
The “preparation” of the shared folder based on two steps.
- Share the folder.
- Provide the required file permissions (NTFS permissions). Although the formal article doesn’t mention the need to assign file permission, from my experience if we don’t assign the file permission, the PST migration process failed.
1. Sharing the folder
We will need to share the folder because later when we use the Microsoft Azure AZCopy Tool to import the PST file to the cloud, the command syntax will use the naming convention of UNC path (\\machinename\folder name)
In the following screenshot, we can see the PSTshare1 folder that was created.
- Right click on the PSTshare1 folder and choose properties
- Choose the sharing tab
- Click on the Advanced Sharing
- Add Everyone group and assign the Full control permission.
2. Provide the required file permissions (NTFS permissions).
In this step, we will assign the required permissions to the PSTshare1 folder.
- Choose the Security tab
- Click on the Edit… option
- Click on the Add… option.
- Add the Everyone group and choose the default permissions or add Full Access permissions
Step 2/09 – Export outlook data to PST file.
Technically speaking, we can use any PST file that we have or get from our customers\users.
In the particular scenario, we will demonstrate how to export the PST file from Outlook client.
- Choose the File menu and then choose the Open & export option.
- Click on the import/Export option
- Choose the – Export to a file
- Choose – Outlook Data file [.pst]
In our particular scenario, we will export all of the mailbox content.
- Choose the inbox icon and then – Next
In our specific scenario, we will save the PST file into the shared folder that was created in the former step – the PSTshare1 folder (we will name the PST file using the name pst10.pst)
In the following screenshot, we can see the PST file that was saved in the PSTshare1 folder
Step 3/09 – Add the required Exchange Online permissions (assign the Mailbox Import Export admin role).
To be able to use the PST migration option, we will need to assign the required permission to the user account that will perform the migration task.
In the Exchange Online admin center, choose the permissions menu and admin roles
Click on the plus icon and double-click on the – Compliance Management role.
Choose the permission – Mailbox Import Export
Choose the account name who will perform the PST migration.
In the following screenshot, we can see the results:
- Under the Roles section, we can see that the Mailbox Import Export
- Under the Members section, we can see that the admin users appear.
Before we begin with the instructions, it’s important to understand the logic of this phase.
The PST migration process based on a concept in which we upload and store the PST file\s in the “Office 365 storage” and from this storage, import the data (the PST files) into specific Exchange Online mailboxes.
The “dedicated Office 365 storage” that will be created for us is represented by a unique URL address and unique Key (I assume that the SECURE KEY serves for security purpose for encrypting the data on the Office 365 storage).
- The dedicated URL address described as – SECURE URL
- The dedicated Key described as – SECURE KEY
As far as I know, the value of the SECURE URL and the SECURE KEY will be created as a one-time process and, will serve us for all the future tasks of importing PST files.
For this reason, it’s recommended to save these values for future use.
In the following step, we will “jump” into the PST migration step because when we initialize this step in the first time, we can copy the values of the SECURE URL and the SECURE KEY.
Later on, we will use this values for building the command that will be used by the Microsoft Azure AZCopy Tool for “uploading” the PST files that are stored in our local network to the “cloud” (the Office 365 dedicated store).
Step 4/09 – Copy the value of the SECURE KEY and the SECURE URL and save it.
Login to the Office 365 portal and click on the Admin option
On the left, menu bar choose the IMPORT menu.
Click on the plus icon and choose the option – Upload data over the network
In the following screenshot, we can see that there are a couple of options. In the current phase, we are interested only in the values of the SECURE URL and the SECURE KEY
Under the section of – copy the secure storage account key, click on the Show key option and save the value that appears in notepad for later use.
In the following screenshot, we can see an example of the value of the SECURE KEY.
Under the section of – copy the secure network upload URL, click on the Show URL option and, save the value that appears in notepad for later use.
In the following screenshot, we can see an example of the value of the SECURE URL.
An additional option that we can use for displaying the values of the SECURE URL and the SECURE KEY is by choosing the “Key icon”
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