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What You Need to Know About the SharePoint Migration Tool

Microsoft announced the new SharePoint Migration Tool that lets you move files to SharePoint or OneDrive in Office 365

In case you missed it at Ignite, Microsoft announced the new SharePoint Migration Tool that lets you move files to SharePoint or OneDrive in Office 365.  I’ve noticed every time this tool comes up there is a lot of confusion and the conversation often ends up in the weeds.  I am hoping this post clears things up a bit.

What does the tool move?

Files and only files.  What about list items and workflows?  Not supported and likely never will be.  If you want to move that kind of stuff, go find a migration tool vendor.

What destinations are supported?

The only supported destination is SharePoint Online and OneDrive in Office 365.  Want to move between SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2016?  Great!  Go find a migration tool vendor.  This tool is not for you.

What sources does it support?

It supports moving files only from SharePoint 2013 and file shares.  That is it.  Still running SharePoint 2010?  Sorry. You’re out of luck.

How does it work?

It more or less uses the same migration API that all of the other ISVs use by uploading your content into Azure BLOB storage and then bulk migrating your files.

Is it secure?

You can decide for yourself, but here is the gist of it.  It’s probably more secure than handing over your credentials to a migration tool that doesn’t use OAuth (I’m looking at you Sharegate).  Your data is encrypted and uploaded to a dedicated Azure storage account.  The tool does this for you and the key is only valid for three days.  The Azure blob will be kept for 30 to 90 days and then it is deleted.  The files are encrypted at rest with AES 256 and are stored in the same region.  If you don’t want to use the storage account the tool creates itself, you can specify your own account and key but you will be responsible for cleaning it up.  You can read more on the How it works page.

Will it migrate my permissions?

It will migrate basic Read and Write permissions to SharePoint Online if you have Directory Synchronization configured (which you should).

Does it support bulk migration?

Yes, you can configure bulk migration settings using a CSV file.

Does it support incremental migration?

Yes, it will migrate only the changes if you set the Enable incremental migration setting when you first run the job.

What if my migration job is interrupted?  Does it support resume?

Yes, the migration tool will resume any job that has been running for at least 5 minutes.

I don’t want to migrate everything.  Are there any filters?

Yes, there are a variety of filters such as dates, extensions, hidden files, etc.

How fast is the migration?

This is largely a factor on the size of your files.  Basically having more smaller files is slower than having more larger files even if the total volume is the same.  For large files, Microsoft quotes the average customer experience at 2 TB / day.  For smaller files, the experience is more like 250 GB / day.  That’s a big difference I know and every migration is different.  If you are planning a large migration, I recommend you do several tests to get a feel for how fast your migration will be. You can read more about maximizing migration speed.

Will the SharePoint Migration Tool ever support feature X?

I wouldn’t hold my breathe.

But Sharegate supports feature X!

Great.  Use Sharegate!  It’s a great tool which has also been in development for a lot longer than this one.  That comes with a price of course compared to the free tool from Microsoft but it’s a very reasonable one.

What is the SharePoint Migration Tool good for then?

It should excel at file share to OneDrive migration.  If you have been looking to get off file shares for a while this might be your free ticket.  While this tool isn’t perfect for every migration scenario (and isn’t meant to be), it does have its niches.  If you have some files in SharePoint or on a file share that you want to quickly get to SharePoint Online, this isn’t a bad option.

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.

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