As a general description, Exchange Hybrid servers are used for hybrid deployment connectivity that seamlessly connects an on-premises Exchange and Exchange Online organizations.
To avoid the additional cost of an Exchange 2010 SP3 or Exchange 2013 server license for the hybrid server(s), organizations may qualify for a free Hybrid Edition product key. You can request a Hybrid Edition product key if all the following conditions apply:
- You have an existing, non-trial, Office 365 Enterprise subscription;
- You currently do not have a licensed Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2010 SP3 server in your on-premises organization;
- You will not host any on-premises mailboxes on the Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2010 SP3 server on which you apply the Hybrid Edition product key.
Note that Exchange 2013 includes native hybrid capabilities, so you can connect your Exchange 2013 organization to Exchange Online without a Hybrid Edition server. The Hybrid Edition is only for organizations running Exchange 2007 or 2010. Exchange 2010 customers can also continue to connect their organizations directly to Exchange Online without an additional Hybrid Edition server if they are updated to the latest Service Pack, or can choose to install an Exchange 2013 hybrid server. Exchange 2003 customers can continue to use Exchange 2010 Hybrid Edition servers to connect to Exchange Online with the latest Service Pack.
Up to this point, nothing new. However, while previously customers had to log a support case to request a hybrid key, this has now changed. To obtain a Hybrid Edition product key for your Exchange 2013 server or Exchange 2010 SP3 server, simply go to the Exchange hybrid product key distribution wizard.