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Tom Arbuthnot MCSM Communications

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Microsoft Supported Method to Move from Pure Lync Online to #Lync Server On-Premises/hybrid deployment

Published 07/05/2014 - 12 Comments

This is a scenario we are hitting more and  more, and are working with a number of customers on right now. Microsoft are increasingly offering Office 365 licencing, which means customers who haven’t previously had Lync can quickly enable Lync Online for basic IM/P and a bit of voice and video (there is still no PSTN/Enterprise Voice in Office 365).

Customers get to X seats in Lync Online, then decide they want to deploy Lync Server on-premises, reasons include:

  • Enterprise Voice (True PSTN numbers, Response Groups etc.)
  • Network/QoS/Bandwidth/CAC Reasons
  • Compliance
  • Server Side Application Development/3rd Party Application Integration
  • A certain country/region/office/department cannot be “in the cloud”
  • Customer has bought E4 licences, giving them user rights for Enterprise voice On-Premise

Until now, unfortunately, there has been no clean way to do this. The official Microsoft guidance was to disable the Lync Online deployment (disabling all the users) then deploy Lync Server, then re-enable Lync Online/hybrid, then re-enable the Online and On-prem users. This wasn’t very practical both in terms of downtime and there was no easy way to export users buddy lists (other than exporting them one by one with the users password). There were hacky ways around this, but nothing supported. The other option was to have a different SIP domain on-prem, again, this was messy.

Now there is an officially supported process to move from pure Lync Online to on-premise/hybrid:  Moving users from Lync Online to Lync on-premises

Note Scheduled meetings for Online users are not migrated and need to be recreated, but users can be moved with their complete buddy list.

I have yet to test the final documented process, but have a number of projects coming up involving this and will report back on the blog, sign up for RSS/email updates. If you have feedback please let me know.


Tom Arbuthnot

Tom Arbuthnot

Principal Solutions Architect at Modality Systems
Tom Arbuthnot is Principal Solutions Architect at Unified Communications specialist Modality Systems. He is a Microsoft Certified Master and MVP, blogger, has a regular podcast with UCToday at and is a regular speaker at events including Microsoft TechEd and Ignite. He co-runs The Microsoft UC User Group London.


Hany - 08/05/2014 Reply

Microsoft have made this so confusing. So you are saying it is possible to have a Hybrid Lync deployment between Lync Cloud and On-Premises using the same domain ? Is there any documentation out there on how to achieve this ?

Also, would the Lync Cloud be able to support conferencing ? Or dial-in conferencing through the On-Premises Lync server ?

    Tom Arbuthnot - 10/05/2014 Reply

    Hey Hany,

    Nothing about having a hybrid/split domain setup changes; yes you can have the same domain in the cloud and on-prem, anything PSTN/Dialin conf would be on-prem typically.

Dino Caputo - 09/05/2014 Reply

Hi Tom – I actually worked jointly with a customer and Microsoft Lync Product Group to validate the beta process for the procedure that formed the basis for this article.

My customer had 1000 users lit up for Lync Online and we successfully enabled the Lync On Premise deployment to “see” the Lync Online users. We were then able to move the users from Online to On Premise without losing buddy lists. Scheduled Meetings were lost however (we knew this going into it) and needed to be recreated as you point out. I have to say the final procedure is slightly different than what we followed so it appears some further revisions were made to simplify the process. I will need to run a test to confirm all still works as expected.

Once you run through it the behavior of the Lync On Premise server will behave just like you started with On premise and added Lync Online integration later.

    Tom Arbuthnot - 10/05/2014 Reply

    Hey Dino,

    Thanks for the comment and feedback!


yann - 27/05/2014 Reply

Hi Tom,

I am interested in your article and I have some questions, at the moment we are using Office 365 for our users we just want to deploy PSTN connectivity, we don’t have any lync/onprem I know that MS is working with Service provider to give PSTN connectivity but I want to know if I deploy Lync/onprem and connect it to a SIP provider, can I use this server as a VOIP gateway for my Lync Online user, I don’t want to move them, I saw this kind of product :

thank for your help

    Tom Arbuthnot - 27/05/2014 Reply

    Hi yann,

    What is actually is is Lync server on-prem, as an appliance. That is the only real option for PSTN at the moment with Lync.

Antony Fuller - 20/06/2014 Reply

Hi Tom , I am just about to travel this road for a customer , have you any updates or gotchas you can share ?

Thanks Ant

    Tom Arbuthnot - 20/06/2014 Reply

    Hi Ant.

    I’ve heard of a number of people completing this successfully now, mainly MCS, and a couple of people that hit an odd issue or two with some specific users, where they just decided to delete them and re-create them.

    Main thing to consider is that sign in dependency for all users now relies on the on-prem, which is an important considerations for EV pilots.

    I still haven’t done it first hand.



Ryan - 24/06/2014 Reply


Do you know of any guides or supported methods for moving from Hybrid to pure Lync Online? Once all users are moved to Lync Online, is it just a matter of changing the DNS records for the domains to point to Lync Online only and then decommission the on premises Lync infrastructure? And also tell Lync Online it will no longer be doing split domain?

    Tom Arbuthnot - 24/06/2014 Reply

    You can have a mix of users online and on-prem. I don’t know of any guide beyond the steps Microsoft have released at the link above. All DNS should ultimately point to Lync On Prem.

      Ryan - 24/06/2014 Reply

      Thanks Tom – our end goal is to not have on prem users, only online.

Amenze - 26/02/2016 Reply

Hi,We are considering “upgrading” to Lync Server 2013. I eshpamize upgrading as “migrating” seems to be overkill for our organization. As you can imagine, having to purchase another set of servers to accommodate a “migration” is an obstacle all by itself. I am not sure I can justify the expense to my CFO, even if I could make the argument that we could repurpose the existing servers after the migration is complete. I have two questions. I wouldn’t place our current Lync 2010 deployment on the “Critical” business functionality list. We use it for IM, a/v, web conferencing, but we could survive if it was offline for a while. So, is it wrong to think that we could simply remove our Lync 2010 deployment and start fresh with a Lync 2013 installation?Secondly, we have a standard edition front-end server and an edge server in our deployment. I could make the argument to buy a new server to replace our standard edition front-end server, but we just bought the edge server recently to expand our existing deployment. So, could I do a co-existence with the existing standard edition server and then remove Lync 2010 Edge server and reinstall as a Lync 2013 Edge?If nothing else, I hope this sparks a conversion with other SMB owners out there and how they plan to Migrate .Thanks.

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