Monthly Archives: July 2015

Are you ready for the new SharePoint Migration API using Azure

BrandLogoSharepointThere has been a lot of hype around the new API/Pipeline that utilizes Azure as a method of doing migrations.  While I am super excited about the possibilities that surround this and the fact that the three heavy hitters in migrations are using this as part of their tool.  I think the one piece that is being seriously overlooked from the overall migration strategy is “what if you are not just doing a lift and shift”.

I know that there are occasions when companies who want to migrate to the cloud but do not want to maintain the site hierarchy that is currently in place.  They need to restructure, move content around.  If this is the case then this method while quicker on the back-end doesn’t provide you with the method to do that or at least doing it easily.

Yes you can create packages using xml, however you cannot migrate or preserve taxonomy or workflow metadata.

The requirements around what goes into the package is very strict.

  • Identity: Specifies the URL or GUID of the Web to be exported.
  • Path: Specifies the name of the export file. Because we require that the NoFileCompression parameter is used, a directory must be specified.
  • NoFileCompression: Either enables or disables file compression in the export package. File compression must be disabled.
  • ItemUrl: Specifies the URL of the Web application, GUID, or object to be exported.

You have a ton of PowerShell that has to be created and each package has to be created.  Here is a sample for a typical package

sample code

This is just for one move.  This has to be repeated for each package that you move.

The content is uploaded in blobs to Azure and it has to be formatted in the appropriate format for Azure to accept it.

Using the Azure pipeline is faster and you wont spend your time beating your head against the wall or more specifically against the throttling already in place for Office 365, but you loose control of some of the basic things that doing a migration provides.

It will be interesting to see what the three players bring to the table for this to be used. I know that Sharegate has already wrote a really good blog on this subject.  Metavis/Metalogix has already added some of the functionality around this as well.

If you are doing a lift and shift I think the pipeline is a great idea.  However, if your migrations are anything but a simple move, you are going to need a lot more planning and resources to take advantage of this interface.

I for one am excited about what the possibilities or this tool will bring us.

More information can be found here that details out the steps and requirements needed to use the new API Pipeline


SharegateSharegate is the new kid on the block when it comes to joining the tools that do migration for SharePoint and just like Metavis and Metalogix it offers the standard options for migrating to different versions of SharePoint as well as to O365.

The tool interface is very simple, but a bit confusing to try and figure out what you need to do.

For instance when you are doing a pre-migration check it makes it appear as if you are actually copying the site to the target while doing the check.  This is a bit confusing.

Ok now onto the evaluation.

  • Long Term Use:  Offers the ability to use the tool to do maintenance on pretty much anything in the SharePoint site (list, libraries, permissions, content types).  One of my favorite feature in the Manage piece is it gives you a detailed report of size, template used, subsites, navigation structure, master page applied when you enter the tool.  I know this is a helpful issue to have because I get asked this information all the time.
  • Pre-Migration Reports: As mentioned above it provides a detailed report of the issues that could impact the migration and it provides those errors instantaneously with the suggestions on how to re-mediate them.
  • Reporting: Offers a ton of reports for just about anything you would want or need to report on.
  • Limitations: For me I am not a big fan of having two separate windows to do migrations vs maintenance.  It seems a bit clunky and not user friendly.  But the options in the maintenance piece is awesome in what you can do and see.

Like with everyone else, they offer a range of prices and what you get for that price.  Take a second and review the pricing page and see for yourself.

Overall I would say Sharegate has the potential to be a big player in the migration segment.  If they could improve the UI in the tool and not make it so complicated to get around it would amazing.  The one piece I think is pretty awesome is they are the first to offer Insane Mode which is the new faster migration option using a special pipeline that utilizes Azure to move content faster.  I know the other two are also working on that and using it, I just love calling it “Insane Mode”.  There are limitations around Insane Mode but that is another blog for another day.

I would download all of the trials of the tools and evaluate which one best meets your needs and if you need any help please feel free to reach to me and I will be happy to help.


metalogixI am not going to lie it has been awhile since I used this tool.  I was at a large telecom company and they were just starting to embrace the joys of SharePoint.  We had just recently had a server crash that was running WSS2.0, no one was maintaining it or doing backups it was ugly.  We lost a lot of sites but was able to recover around 350 from the random backup we found.  By the way this was one of those servers that sat under someones desks, not in the data center but just under the desk, it was a rogue server (YIKES!)

So we knew we needed to get what we could off that server and into the data center.  I went out and downloaded the trial version of Metalogix and it was AMAZING!  I mean even the trial was awesome!

Back then it used agents that had to be installed on both the target and the source servers to use the tool.  Today they do a hybrid approach based on the scenario of your environment or if migrating to O365.

For along time the migration to the cloud was a limitation for Metalogix.  It is nice to see the improvements!

Ok now onto the evaluation.

  • Long Term Use: This is really more for on premise use to take advantage of the long term features.
  • Pre-Migration Reports: Provides the usual options to ensure you have the most information you can to prepare for migration.
  • Reporting: Again, limitation for on premise use.
  • Limitations:
    • In order to take advantage of all the great tools that Metalogix provides it is really better suited for On-Premise installations.
    • Data limitations based on the license you purchase.  Additionally there are limitations to what can be moved based on the license as well.  I feel like in order to take advantage of everything you get stuck buying more than you want to get what you need.  Take a look at the pricing matrix and see for yourself.

I know i said i wasn’t going to evaluate based on price but I think it is important when it come to not being able to achieve a successful migration because the ability to move something is not included. Again just my opinion.

So if you are going to be doing an on premise migration Metalogix is the tool for you.  I am hoping with the merger between Metavis and Metalogix we will see some fantastic improvements in both.