Microsoft Expands SharePoint Online Migration Tool Options

Microsoft has continued to hone its various free tools to help organizations shift to SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365 cloud services.

Most of Microsoft's voluminous SharePoint advancements announced at its Ignite event earlier this month concerned its Microsoft 365-based SharePoint Online service. Some, but not all, of those new capabilities may arrive as future Feature Packs for SharePoint Server users. Meanwhile, Microsoft has continued to invest in its various free tools to help organizations shift to the cloud.

An update on those tools was presented in a November Ignite session titled "Migration to SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams in Microsoft 365, Free And Easy."

The tools include the SharePoint Migration Assessment Tool, a command-line interface that scans an environment prior to migration to assess what might get affected. There's the SharePoint Migration Tool for actually moving sites and files to Microsoft 365. A newly acquired Mover service for cloud-to-cloud moves is available to support migrations for free. Additionally, there's a new Microsoft Manager preview in the SharePoint Admin Center to manage multiple-machine migrations.

SharePoint Migration Tool
More than 50,000 orgs have moved 18PB of data since the SharePoint Migration Tool was released less than two years ago, according to the Ignite talk, which featured Microsoft Principal Program Managers Hani Loza and Yogesh Ratnaparkhi.

The SharePoint Migration Tool currently supports migrations from SharePoint Server 2010 (which was newly added), as well as SharePoint Server 2013. SharePoint Server 2010 Service Pack 2 has about a year of patch support remaining, as it will fall out of support on Oct. 13, 2020.

Coming next year, the SharePoint Migration Tool will add support for SharePoint Server 2016 and SharePoint Server 2019 migrations. The following slide presented during the session showed that information, along with other tooling plans:

[Click on image for larger view.] SharePoint migration tools roadmap. The "Cloud Migrations" tool in the table refers to the Mover tool acquisition. (Source: Microsoft Ignite session BRK3006)

Organizations can use the SharePoint Migration Tool to move SharePoint Server sites or file shares. It also supports bulk migrations using JSON or CSV files. The end result is that organizations will get a modern team site with all of the metadata preserved, and it'll even preserve a SharePoint site's user interface navigation structure, according to the talk. If a SharePoint site didn't previously exist, the SharePoint Migration Tool will automatically create a "modern site" after a content move.

The SharePoint Migration Tool always runs in "incremental mode," so users can continue to work while the migration happens in the background, according to the talk. It's possible to only migrate the "delta" changes, as well. Bulk migrations can be performed, or the moves can be delegated to departments in organizations.

Migration Manager
It turns out that there are "challenges" when organizations distribute their SharePoint migrations across multiple machines using the SharePoint Migration Tool. The process for such large file migrations is complex and error-prone, admitted Ratnaparkhi. In response to feedback and to address the issue, Microsoft added Migration Manager in the SharePoint Admin Center, which runs from a browser.

Migration Manager supports single or bulk SharePoint site migrations. It's possible to create hundreds of migration tasks distributed across multiple clients. Migration Manager can monitor the migration progress and provide detailed reports. Tasks can be paused, rerun or deleted.

Migration Manager is currently at the public preview stage in the SharePoint Admin Center and can be used in the next few weeks, Ratnaparkhi indicated.

Cloud Migrations (Mover)
A demo of the Mover Web App was provided during the talk by Eric Warnke, Mover's former CEO, who is now a principal program manager on SharePoint and OneDrive.

Basically, IT pros give Mover a source and destination for their cloud moves to Microsoft 365 services. Mover automatically discovers the users at the source and destination locations. The tool scans an environment and provides logs showing any errors. It's possible to migrate in bulk using a CSV file.

Warnke said that Mover has been used to migrate some of the largest companies in the world. It moves content from Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and Egnyte, and is free to use.

Microsoft also offers FastTrack program consulting support for migrations to Microsoft 365 services. The FastTrack program is free to use for organizations with 500 Microsoft 365 "seats" or more. In addition, Microsoft has a bunch of partners that offer migration support.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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