Adoption of Office 365 continues to grow, and Microsoft are always keen to talk about their success in selling it to well-known organizations such as British Airways, Toyota and Capgemini. We hear much less from Microsoft about how easy (or not) it is to migrate end users onto the Office 365 platform.
Migrating to Office 365 can be a complex project for all but the smallest of organizations, and it has created a healthy market for a wide range of third-party tools and solutions which to address the various aspects of migration. These include our own ‘PST Enterprise’ product which migrates PST files from end users systems and network drives into Office 365.
Speed limits ahead
The biggest obstacle faced by these solutions is that of performance. Microsoft have imposed strict limits on the speed at which data can be migrated into Office 365, and all applications are ‘throttled’ to ensure that they stay within these limits. Throttling is one of the means by which Microsoft manages the operation of Office 365 to ensure that all customers get a good service. It has to ensure that each tenant behaves as a ‘good neighbor’ and does not impact others by using excessive bandwidth or resources.
It may be possible to negotiate with Microsoft on an individual basis to get some of the limits raised temporarily, but most customers will have to accept that speed of their migration may be less than they would like, and it could take them longer than they would expect to get all their users moved over.
Most solutions on the market migrate data from or via a central server using Office 365 admin accounts. As throttling is enforced at an individual account level they use multiple admin accounts to circumvent this, however Office 365 also applies throttling at an overall level per tenant for admin accounts. This limit cannot be worked around, so performance will still be capped.
Take a different route
A few solutions, such as our own PST Enterprise product, take a different approach and migrate data directly from each end user system straight into Office 365 rather than going via a central server. They also access Office 365 using the end user account associated with each file, rather than using dedicated admin accounts. This means that rather than running a small number of high-volume migrations, these solutions process a much larger number of smaller-volume individual migrations.
This parallel processing approach is much less susceptible to Office 365 throttling, and whilst their migration will still be a complex process it will be possible for organizations to complete it much more quickly and with less overall disruption to end users.