Can I use AutoDiscover instead of DeploymentPro to set up my Outlook profiles?
It depends on your migration scenario.
Scenario 1: Migration from On-Premises Exchange to Office 365:
AutoDiscover will not work, and the use of DeploymentPro is recommended.
The reason for this is that when you have On-Premises Exchange, Exchange information is being stored in the AD object for each user; this includes the Exchange GUID, database store, and server information. This means that when you create a new profile on a computer that is joined to the domain, Outlook is going to get that data out of the AD object instead of using AutoDiscover. The result of this is that the old connections are being rebuilt into the new profile. That means that one of two things needs to happen:
1) A manual configuration needs to happen. This would require either each end user going through all the settings to set this up themselves (any false or unknown entries will generate a support ticket), or your support team needs to manually set this up for each end user (either by visiting each end user individually, or by remoting into each computer and setting it up for them). Either of these options are time-consuming and cause downtime for the end user.
2) DeploymentPro can be used to automate the profile setup, reattach any local PST files found on the local drive, import the signature into the profile, and bring over the auto-completes from the previous profile.
Scenario 2: Migration from Hosted Exchange to Office 365:
In this case, Autodiscover will work, and you don't necessarily need to use DeploymentPro, although it does save some time and has some benefits, as outlined below.
The reason that AutoDiscover will work in this case is because there is no Exchange information being stored in the AD object for each user. In this case, AutoDiscover can be set to automate the setup of your end users' Outlook profiles. If you are using AutoDiscover rather than DeploymentPro in this scenario, once Autodiscover has been set and the MX record cutover has been made, inform users to create a new profile. They will be prompted to enter their name, email address, and password so that AutoDiscover can then build their profile.
Benefits to using DeploymentPro, in this scenario:
- If users do not create a new profile and try to continue to use their existing profile instead, they will be connected to their old Hosted Exchange provider and will not see any new mail arriving, nor be able to send any email out. If DeploymentPro is used, the users will be automatically prompted to set up their Outlook profiles. This occurs after the Schedule Cutover button is clicked, which configures the DeploymentPro project.
- If a user has any PST files locally, and they are attached to their current profile, these will need to be reattached to their new profile. DeploymentPro automates this.
- Users will need to set up their signatures in the new profile. DeploymentPro automates this.
- Users would lose their autocompletes. DeploymentPro brings these over from the previous default profile.
- DeploymentPro has the added benefit that, in the portal, you can track which users have had their Outlook profile reconfigured.
- DeploymentPro currently can only officially be used with migration projects where Office 365 is the Destination. If using DeploymentPro with Exchange (either On-Premises or Hosted) as a Destination, then a Proof Of Concept should first be run. Exchange environments can have complex AutoDiscover settings, along with UPN and SMTP address mis-matches, which can require troubleshooting and reconfiguration, before DeploymentPro can be made to work against such environments. A Proof Of Concept will uncover any complications. For more information on AutoDiscover settings, refer to the relevant related article below.
- If you are migrating from other supported Source environments (e.g., Zimbra, Lotus Notes, G Suite), the same information applies that was described in Scenario 2, i.e., AutoDiscover will work and you don't necessarily need to use DeploymentPro. In these cases, often an Outlook client will need to be installed. At that time, the Outlook profile would be set up (normally by using AutoDiscover). Also when migrating from these different Source environments, users would not have signatures and/or local PST files that could be imported (for the signature) and reattached (for the PST file(s). DeploymentPro is less useful in these cases.
- If DeploymentPro is used, we recommend that you set up AutoDiscover. This way, Outlook profiles for new AD users will utilize AutoDiscover for their Outlook profile creation, rather than having to set them up manually.