We have Exchange 2013 onprem and we want to deploy Hybrid configuration > Update Server first ?

Occasional Contributor

Dear community.

We work with an Exchange 2013 onprem and now we want to migrate to Exchange online.
For that we want to configure hybrid configuration with the hybrid configuration wizard.
Should I update the onprem server first to a higher version (2016 or 2019) before connect to Exchange online with the Hybrid Wizard ?

We also use Skype for Business (including Phome Calls in PSTN Network) and we want to migrate to Teams also in the next few month.. 


Thank you for your feedback 

7 Replies



How many user mailboxes do you have, do you plan on having users split between on prem and the cloud, and do you plan on purchasing exchange licensing.. 


Microsoft offers a free license for exchange hybrid if you use it as a management server only. 


If you do not have that many users I would Just run the migration from your current exchange setup. 

If you have quite a few then I would upgrade the internal servers first and then migrate the users. 


Re: We have Exchange 2013 onprem and we want to deploy Hybrid configuration > Update Server first
Thank you for your feedback.
We have about 120 Mailboxes, Users, Shared mailboxes and ressources.
We would like to move all the mailboxes to the cloud so that the onprem Exchange Server is only for management / configuration purposes. I read that it is not supported to remove the last onprem Exchange Server and that i need that server to configure several parameters that are not available online for configuration, so configuration has to be done always on prem.
would you still update the server in this scenario ?
When everything is moved to Exchange Online, will it be easier then to change the onprem Server ?Lifecycle End for Exchange 2013 is April 2023 and time goes fast.
Thanks again for your help and your advice.


I did this with exchange 2010 a couple of years ago. 

we had 2 cas and 2 mailbox servers. You can't remove the last server, but what you do is install a 2016/2019 exchange server in to your current environment.

I installed azure ad connect and synced my domain to azure, migrated off the users to office 365. 

Once I migrated my users I set up a new 2016 exchange server with the mailbox server role included and joined it to the group. I then uninstalled exchange from the older servers leaving exchange 2016 as the sole remaining server.

@dfeifer There is only a free hybrid license for Exchange Server 2016, 2019 is another licensing thing you have to take care of.


Go with 2013, migrate your mailboxes and then add an Exchange 2016 server only if you need the additional features (e. g. Teams functionality for on-prem mailboxes). My personal advice would be to go with 2013 and don't upgrade, there is no reason for it if you move all your mailboxes to EXO.

In this scenario, you don't need to update the existing Exchange Server 2013.

- Add a new Hybrid Exchange 2016 server (License for this scenario is free)
- Migrate the mailboxes to Exchange Online
- Decommission the Exchange 2013 servers.

After migration, Only the Hybrid Exchange 2016 server must be available in your on-premises environment.

Hi Dominik.

Thank you for your feedback.
When will be the right point in time to upgrade the onprem Exchange 2013 to 2016. I mean, in 2023 there is end of life for Exchange 2013, should i wait until then ?

best response confirmed by TomMoser (Occasional Contributor)

@TomMoser it's completely up to you. If you don't host any mailboxes on-premises, my recommendation is to wait until end of support, absolutely. Exchange 2013 as a SMTP relay and recipient management is sufficient.