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Tech experts share their five top data migration tips

By Contributor
Tue 1 Feb 2022

Article by BitTitan, Brad Rosairo and colleagues.

An absolute must for all organisations planning a data migration, however complex, is to research vendors whose technology can simplify the migration – and choose the one with the most comprehensive solution and top support.

Because all migrations have unique complexities, readily available customer support is essential to a successful project. Whether it's the extensive documentation available in a knowledge base, or individual assistance from dedicated support teams, assistance must be executed seamlessly.

Along the way, our tech specialists on the frontlines have learned a lot, and we have no wish to keep all that information to ourselves. Every day, our technical team works alongside customers and partners, helping to plan migrations and troubleshoot issues that come up. Periodically, we like to share their experience so everyone can benefit.

Below are migration tips from a global team of five senior technical sales specialists:

Tip #1: Plan for the throttle

During any tenant-to-tenant migration, it's Microsoft's practice to limit migration speeds. This is called throttling. Since resources are shared in the cloud, throttling is done to ensure fair and equal distribution of bandwidth.

This makes a lot of sense since it is not in anyone's best interest for a large migration project to eat up available bandwidth and inflict a slow, unresponsive environment on other tenants.

Organisations should always test for throttling and alleviate any Exchange Web Services (EWS) throttling through the Microsoft 365 admin help or support centre before moving forward with a tenant-to-tenant migration.

Tip #2: Align UPN with SMTP addresses

Before starting a migration, be sure to align each user principal name (UPN) with the Primary Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) address, making sure both attributes have the same string value. Then you can apply a chosen vendor's migration solution's user migration bundle licence to each individual address.

If changing UPNs is not possible, create a OneDrive for Business project first and import the current source and destination UPNs. Next, apply the user migration bundle licences to the source UPNs.

When creating the mailbox project, click 'add users' from your migration tool and re-import the UPNs into the mailbox project. If the source and destination UPNs don't match the primary SMTP addresses or SMTP tenant addresses, click the 'change domain' button.

It's also possible to execute a PowerShell script to bulk edit all source and destination migration line items in seconds. Soon, you'll be ready to launch.

Tip #3: Deployment app is a friend

A chosen migration solution must be able to leverage the power of a deployment app to reconfigure Outlook and point to the new destination mailbox. To do this, you'll need to install a device management agent (DMA) on all user workstations prior to the scheduled cutover and well in advance of the migration.

This gives organisations time to test the DMA thoroughly since they are likely to be dealing with multiple workstation configurations and different network segments.

Installing the DMA isn't something you should do the day before because the agent has to check in with a back-end system before configuring the deployment module. However, the scheduled date and time for the profile cutover can be set once that's happened.

Tip #4: Planning a Google migration

Data can be surprising. When migrating instances of Google workloads, tech will want to know the size of the Gmail mailboxes and Google Drives to be migrated in order to plan accordingly. For example, mailbox size can increase if the mailbox has a lot of multi-labelled emails. Also, Google Drive documents have been known to consume additional space when converted to Microsoft 365.

Use a Google-specific migration app to tackle pre-migration assessments in identifying mailboxes whose content should be split into Exchange Online archive and active mailbox.

Migrating to the archive mailbox must be done prior to cutover in the pre-stage phase by changing the migration target from mailbox to archive and submitting a first pre-stage pass to migrate emails older than two years.

Once this first pre-stage migration passes, submit another one for emails older than 30 days to the active mailbox. These steps will avoid filling the destination mailbox. For Google Drive, you should start migrating the very large ones well ahead of cutover day.

Tip #5: Read the guides!

This last tip should probably be included in every list of top migration tips. The best knowledge-based apps are updated continually. Users are advised to check a help website for the newest information and migration guides, even if they have experience navigating migration projects.

A premium migration app is essential whether an organisation is planning a simple mail migration or an enterprise-scale multi-workload project. It should be fast, easy, and fully SaaS, and must make help readily available to make every migration a success.

Article by BitTitan, Brad Rosairo and colleagues.

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