Migration To SharePoint Online - Part One


Migration of SharePoint OnPremise to SharePoint Online can be easy with the help of any migration tool. The purpose of the exercise is to design, plan, and migrate existing SharePoint OnPremise sites to Office 365 and decommission the SP2010 farm. In short, we are moving from OnPremise to cloud. This article focuses on learnings from the migration exercise.

Migration Scope

Evaluate custom functionalities in terms of complexity which will be migrated to any of the below,

  • O365 (using SharePoint add-in model)
  • SP2013 (parts of the application that cannot be moved without significant rework to the O365)
The overall migration consists of 2 major phases,
  1. Migration of sites from OnPremise to O365
  2. Code remediation of custom components
Migration of SharePoint sites

Analyze the volume of sites to be migrated in terms of number and size. Sharegate tool helps to perform certain operations very easily during the various stages of migration.

Pre-Migration stage
  • Pre-Migration Check
Migration stage
  • Copy Site Objects
  • Copy SharePoint Content
  • Import Files to SharePoint
  • Export Files from SharePoint
  • Bulk Edit Metadata
Post Migration stage
  • Reporting
Sharegate also supports the below options,
  • Support for user mapping, permission mapping, site mapping
  • Make use of Insane mode for a faster migration to O365
  • Visualize migration reports
Identify what has changed in SharePoint Online

As we are migrating from SharePoint farm to O365 (SharePoint online), below are a few points regarding what has changed in comparison to the previous versions,
  • Branding using the Design Manager
  • No more XSLT we now use Display Templates
  • SkyDrive Pro instead of My Sites
  • Search, Continuous Crawl, and the new Web Parts
  • Apps and the App Store
  • Community Site
  • Microblogging and Activity Feeds
  • Claims authentication default
Office 365 SharePoint Architecture is the KEY

SharePoint is a huge platform with many possibilities. Migration can be considered as an opportunity to re-architecture the existing solution. Most important part of the migration is to have a solid architecture plan for our SharePoint on Office 365. To be able to build that, we need to understand the basic structure,
  • Site Collections
  • Sites
  • Lists and Libraries
  • Content Types (Possible use of Content Type Hub)
  • Site Columns
  • Flows / Workflows
Site Hierarchy

The existing site hierarchy in SharePoint Online can be maintained as it is in SharePoint OnPremise. However, migration is not just about copying the content from source to target. It is yet another chance to redefine and revise your architecture.

Possible options
  • Move subsite from one parent site to another
  • Promote subsite as a site collection
Migration Strategy

Sharegate supports 2 ways of migration,
  1. Structure migration
  2. Content migration
Although structure migration is faster, content migration gives more granular control over the migration. During content migration, we can selectively migrate the content.

The high-level migration approach followed for content migration can be as follows,
  1. Create a site in SharePoint Online with the matching template.
  2. Activate the needed features
  3. Copy the permissions from the source (OnPremise) site to target (Online) site.
  4. Copy the lists and libraries
Sharegate Insane Mode

Sharegate introduced the Insane Mode that can be enabled if you’re running a migration to Office 365.

To enable insane mode of migration from SharePoint OnPremise to O365 we will require a storage account created in Windows Azure. This storage account will act as a mediator between two environments. Data will be first moved from our SharePoint environment to this storage account and then from the storage account to O365 environment.

Limitations of Insane Mode
  • The Managed metadata columns are not supported by the Insane Mode. The copy will continue without using Insane Mode.
  • Document sets are not supported by the Insane Mode. The copy will continue without using Insane Mode.
  • The Insane Mode does not support copying ASPX pages. The copy will continue without using Insane Mode.

Migration from SharePoint OnPremise to Online has to be carried out with pre-migration analysis and discussion with the customer. Think of migration as an opportunity to redesign the application architecture to take advantages of new features.