Automate migrations between tenants of Office 365December 18, 2018
A rising number of migrations in the cloud
With more than 80% of the Fortune 500 in the Microsoft cloud (Gartner 2016), there’s an increasing chance you’ll need to migrate between tenants. Maybe you’re in the middle of a merger, acquisition, or divestiture. Maybe you’re running multiple tenants of Office 365 for one of the 5 common reasons we wrote about earlier. Whatever your scenario, it’s likely you’ll be asked to tackle one of these tenant-to-tenant migrations if you haven’t already.
Some unique challenges
On the surface, this type of migration can seem straightforward. But there are some unique challenges that come when you migrate across tenants of Office 365. You’ll need to configure your tenants to make sure basic features keep working during the migration. For example, your users will expect to be able to:
- Be on a shared email domain
- Send and receive email
- Look up colleagues in a shared directory
- See free/busy availability to schedule meetings
These things won’t happen automatically. And since migrations can take weeks or months, it’s likely that you’ll need to set up coexistence between two or more tenants so that users can keep performing these basic tasks.
Automation doesn’t come automatically
The next challenge can be setting up the automation itself, which takes time. We often find that our clients spend as much or more time on this upfront planning phase as they do on the migration itself.
That’s because Office 365 is complex, with various interdependent workloads. For example, Office 365 Groups bisects several workloads. It stores some data in Exchange Online and other data in SharePoint Online. These interdependencies can make your migration murkier and more complex to navigate and sequence.
So the first step is to do an assessment to pinpoint exactly what you need to move—and what you don’t. You need to understand any idiosyncrasies or edge cases. And you need to sequence your migration to handle any interdependencies between workloads.
As you get a better picture of what you need to migrate, you can choose the most effective migration method. Each of the options comes with its own pros and cons:
Option 1: Do it yourself. This is where you write your own scripts to automate the migration. The pro here is that you can deeply customize your migration to your needs. But unless you’re a whiz at migrations, writing your own scripts can be a time-consuming option, with much trial and error.
Option 2: Download a homegrown script. There are often quite a few homegrown scripts available on the Internet. Grabbing one of these can be tempting to save time and money and avoid recreating the wheel. But it’s unlikely that someone else’s script will be flexible enough to address all of the unique edge cases in your organization.
Option 3: Use a Microsoft tool. Migration tools provided by Microsoft can work well for smaller migrations with a limited scope. But it always comes back to the old adage: you get what you pay for. Free tools tend not to give you the flexibility and scale you need for larger enterprise migrations. Instead, Microsoft often relies on its network of partners to help out with more complex migrations.
Option 4: Lean on third-party software and services. This is often your best bet to automate your migration. In fact, many of our clients often come to us after having gone down the path of one or more of the options above. The benefit here is that you can partner with someone who’s an expert, who does migrations day in and day out. They’ve already done the automation for you and have put it through its paces with other companies before you. They’ve worked out the kinks and know what to watch out for to keep your migration on schedule and on budget.
This is Binary Tree’s automated solution to migrate between tenants of Office 365. Power365 automatically migrates your critical mailboxes, users, files, groups, and permissions to a new tenant of Office 365. It also keeps tenants in sync while you migrate, all without requiring downtime. And it’s flexible enough to handle even the most complex enterprise transformations.
With Power365, you can:
- Migrate email mailboxes
- Configure Outlook for a smooth transformation
- Migrate Public Folders with one-way synchronization
- Unify your address list so people can find each other
- Keep your directories in sync
- Show free/busy meeting availability
- Look up colleagues in a unified directory