What is the Microsoft Hybrid Configuration Wizard?
The Microsoft Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) is a tool provided by Microsoft to help organizations set up and configure a hybrid deployment between their on-premises Exchange Server and Exchange Online, which is part of Microsoft 365.
HCW is used by organizations that want to take advantage of the benefits of both on-premises and cloud-based email, such as using cloud-based email for certain user groups or for email archiving and compliance purposes.
How does the Microsoft Hybrid Configuration Wizard work?
Here's a general overview of how HCW works:
- Preparation. Before running HCW, the user must ensure that their on-premises Exchange Server environment meets the minimum requirements for a hybrid deployment, including having the permissions and certificates.
- Installation. HCW needs to be downloaded and installed on a server within the company's on-premises Exchange Server environment.
- Configuration. HCW guides users through a series of configuration steps, such as selecting the on-premises Exchange servers to include in the hybrid deployment, configuring connectors and creating federation trusts.
- Verification. After the configuration steps are completed, HCW will verify that the hybrid deployment is properly configured, and that mail flow works correctly between the on-premises Exchange Server and Exchange Online.
- Monitoring and maintenance. HCW provides ongoing monitoring and maintenance capabilities, letting users quickly identify and troubleshoot issues in the hybrid deployment as well as perform regular maintenance tasks, such as updating certificates.
The HCW is designed to automate many of the steps required to set up a hybrid deployment, making it easier and faster to configure than manual methods.
However, it's important to have a good understanding of the underlying technologies and configurations to ensure that the deployment is properly secured, optimized and meets an organization's specific requirements.
What are the features of the Microsoft Hybrid Configuration Wizard?
HCW is the recommended way to set up and configure hybrid deployments between Exchange Server and Exchange Online.
It provides many features to help organizations set up and configure hybrid deployments:
- Automated configuration. HCW automates steps required to set up and configure a hybrid deployment, such as creating federation trusts, configuring connectors and setting up mail flow.
- Centralized management. HCW provides a single interface for managing the hybrid deployment, which makes it easier to monitor and troubleshoot issues.
- Mail flow optimization. HCW optimizes mail flow between the on-premises Exchange Server environment and Exchange Online, including configuring the mail routing to ensure emails are delivered through the most efficient path.
- Cross-premises free/busy. HCW provides cross-premises free/busy access, which lets users view availability information for other users in both the on-premises and cloud-based environments.
- Hybrid message tracking. HCW offers hybrid message tracking, which lets users track messages as they move between the on-premises and cloud-based environments.
- Password synchronization. HCW includes password synchronization, which lets users use the same credentials to access resources in the on-premises and cloud-based environments.
Microsoft regularly updates and improves the HCW to ensure that it supports the latest features and functionality of both Exchange Server and Exchange Online. This means it's important to check for updates and ensure the organization is using the latest version of the tool.