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SharePoint Migration Tools

These are the tools we use to migrate millions of files into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem

Why do we need a migration tool?

When you’re planning to migrate files to SharePoint, you’ll quickly establish that you need a tool to support you on that journey. We wouldn’t say the right tool makes a SharePoint migration a breeze – but with the right planning, you can make it as risk-free as reasonably possible.

For a successful SharePoint Migration, our tools selection needs to consider the capability to support:

  • Compatibility with the source environment
  • Ability to batch file migrations
  • Execution against file mapping spreadsheets to allow moving files into different SharePoint
    Sites and Document Libraries
  • Maintaining Metadata and Version History when moving between SharePoint environments.
  • Security considerations
  • Validating that files have been moved successfully

 

Before beginning the SharePoint migration, you must have a plan for where your data will go. Check our SharePoint Migration Strategy article and Migration checklist to aid you with this. Design and implement your information architecture before moving to any of the tools below. After all, there’s no point in starting the migration process if you don’t know where your content is going.

Which migration tool should I use to perform my SharePoint migration?

We are spoiled for choice when it comes to SharePoint Online migration tools. We’ve reviewed the top migration tools based on our experience, including those which help with the planning and reconciliation processes – TreeSize Professional, SharePoint Migration Tool, ShareGate, and Microsoft Migration Manager. Our SharePoint migration tools list covers the scenarios where they work best and also the pitfalls to watch out for.

TreeSize Professional – JAM Software (US$50)

Best for: Understanding the data you have on your fileserver / file-share.

Although it’s not a migration tool – TreeSize plays a part in every fileserver migration we deliver.  When performing a File-share to SharePoint Online migration, it’s essential to understand the source data you’re moving. Experience shows that with guidance, owners of files are happy to highlight what is active, what needs archiving, and what is no longer needed.

We use TreeSize and extract its output to Excel to help our clients with this task. Without this step, you will end up migrating unnecessary files and cluttering active workspaces with files that could be archived or deleted.

 

With TreeSize, you can:

  • Identify the volume and size of files at any level in the folder hierarchy
  • Obtain data on the last changed date within folders - finding ideal candidates for archiving
  • Produce an extract in Excel so you can start the mapping process

 

What else you need to know:

  • TreeSize runs locally in your environment – so you will need a machine to run it on
  • No data is sent back to the software vendor
  • Use an account with full access rights to your data to prevent files from getting left behind
  • Buy professional – it’s only US$50 and supports the publisher of this great tool

 
Download Tree Size Professional

SPMT – SharePoint Migration Tool by Microsoft (Free)

Best for: SPMT – SharePoint Migration Tool by Microsoft (Free)

SPMT is our go-to tool for File Server to SharePoint Online migrations. Published by Microsoft, as you might expect, their goal is to make your move into Microsoft 365 as easy as possible.

 

With SPMT, you can:

  • Perform a pre-scan to check for issues, particularly around permissions
  • Upload a mapping CSV which sets out your file sources and target destination
  • Execute the migration and let it repeat failed file migrations automatically

 

What else you need to know:

  • If you have a low throughput between your file server and SharePoint – you will get failures. We’ve had to abandon a migration test run when the data speed was approximately 20Mbps. We re-ran it successfully at 100 Mbps moving approximately 25 GB per hour.
  • You can run SPMT across multiple workstations – but in most cases, the added complexity outweighs the possible increase in throughput.
  • When running a “bulk + incremental migration strategy”, SPMT cannot establish if a file has been moved, renamed or deleted – so you may end up with multiple copies of the same file if users have performed these operations on files between the bulk migration and the incremental migration.

 
SharePoint Migration Tool Download

ShareGate (From US$6,000)

Best for: Tenant-to-tenant migrations, SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online Migrations

ShareGate is our preferred tool for tenant-to-tenant migrations. ShareGate is the most established SharePoint migration tool and is the go-to file transfer solution for many organisations.

ShareGate is excellent at taking source data and dropping it into the target environment. It doesn’t stop there - ShareGate can migrate Microsoft Teams, including additional data, such as message history.

 

With ShareGate, you can:

  • Move both files and SharePoint lists from environment to environment
  • Take the associated metadata and versions with files when moving documents
  • Map usernames from the old environment to the new environment (although we don’t
    always recommend this)

 
What else you need to know:

  • When using ShareGate, we typically script the migration rather than perform it through their user interface. This reduces the likelihood of user error and allows for a solid migration test and execution approach.
  • ShareGate has extended its capability to help you manage your environment and get you there. While arguably the best SharePoint migration tool, it comes with a large price tag. Larger organisations might see value in the additional capabilities across a large network, but smaller organisations may struggle to justify the investment.

 
Visit ShareGate

Microsoft Migration Manager / Mover.io - Microsoft (Free)

Best for: Moving from competing cloud Services to SharePoint Online

After its acquisition, Mover.io became Microsoft Migration Manager. It is a cloud-based migration service hosted by Microsoft that helps you move away from some of its biggest competitors. This is not an uncommon business need. When we work with fast-growing companies, they often begin their file storage with Dropbox or Google, thanks to the ease of sharing documents on these platforms. But, when the business reaches a point of around 50 employees, they start to look for something with more enterprise features – which is where SharePoint steps in.
 

With Microsoft Migration Manager, you can migrate from:

 
What else you need to know:

  • Use SPMT to migrate file share to SharePoint online - it’s simply better at the job
  • You can’t export drawings, forms, sites, and maps from Google Drive
  • The maximum individual file size for migrations is 15GB

 
Visit Microsoft Migration Manager

Reconciliation: PowerShell + Excel Pivot Tables (Our IP!)

Best for: Validating every file has been moved following a file-server migration

No migration tool is perfect, files get left behind, and it only takes one missing file for trust to be lost in the migration process, which is why reconciling your data and validating your migration execution is essential.

We use PowerShell to query the file source and destination environment to create a full report of the location of every file. We can compare our datasets through pivot tables and Excel scripts to quickly establish if any files have failed to migrate.

 

With PowerShell + Excel, we’re able to:

  • Produce a list of every file and its location/li>
  • Validate file counts, folder by folder/li>
  • Investigate discrepancies at a file level

 

What else you need to know:

  • While every file will be accounted for, end-users do sometimes forget where they agreed for the mapped files to go, resulting in queries.
  • Equip your first-line support with the reconciliation spreadsheet to help quickly address these concerns.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Do I need a migration tool to move to SharePoint Online?

Small volumes of files can be moved to SharePoint simply by syncing a SharePoint library with OneDrive and dragging files across. For multiple libraries or high volumes of documents (1000+), you’ll want to consider a migration tool – some of which are free, as we have outlined in our article.

Q: Does the SharePoint Migration Tool delete files?

No, Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool only copies  files. This allows you to perform a practice migration without impacting your source data. We recommend backing up your source data after any migration, “just in case".

Q: Can I do an incremental Migration with Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool?

While it’s possible to perform a bulk + incremental migration, we don’t recommend it – this is because SPMT cannot identify new files versus those which have been moved, renamed or deleted.

Author

Rupert Squires

Client Director

2 mins read

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