Want to move VMs to Azure, but stuck with Exchange 2013 onPrem for management - how to proceed?

Valued Contributor

Hi everyone, 


Here some pretext to understand where we were, currently are and want to go to:


  • VMs onPrem are 2012 R2, and Domain and Forest Levels are 2012 R2 as well
  • started out with Exchange 2010 to 2013 onPrem (latest CU from 2019)
  • moved to Exchange Online Hybrid Configuration 
  • all user mailboxes are in Exchange Online, no mailboxes onPrem left
  • Exchange Online Hybrid Configuration is disabled
  • What is left onPrem is the send connector to O365, since we haven't changed all onPrem apps and services to an authenticated Exchange Online Mailbox User yet
  • Active Directory is of coursed synced with Azure AD Connect


So what we have left is essentially an onPrem Exchange VM for creating new AD Users with a remote mailbox in Exchange Online.


We're in the process of moving all possible VMs to Azure PaaS/IaaS (Windows Server 2019 VMs). 


Where I'm stuck is that I have no route to go for Exchange Management according to this matrix: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/plan-and-deploy/supportability-matrix?view=exchserver-2019


  • I can't move my current Exchange 2013 VM to a new VM running Server 2019 without buying a license just for basic management purposes
  • I can't upgrade my forest/domain level, since Exchange 2013 won't let me

Ideally, I would have an option to fully get rid of Exchange (onPrem or in Azure), but I can't find it. 

What are my options to fully move forward with Forest/Domain Levels and Server 2019 VMs in Azure?

Is there anything on the horizon for us?

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