So you’ve got your SharePoint migration strategy in place – congratulations!

All you need now is a migration tool to do the job. So where do you start?

There are a multitude of vendors and tools in this space – so many that it’s impossible to list all of them. However, we’ve worked in this space for a number of years so have a bit of an inside track on which are the best. We thought we’d share our thoughts on these in this blog article.

Advantages of using migration tools?

Using a tried and test migration tool has a number of advantages. If you’ve already done the due diligence of putting your migration strategy in place, then using a migration tool should support this strategy and fulfil the business and technical requirements you’ve itemised. In this respect, it therefore keeps you right on your requirements and ensures you’re meeting all the criteria you need to.

In addition though, the main upsides of migration tools are:

  • Moving large sets of documents
  • Migrating entire sites, libraries and folder structures
  • Maintaining meta data
  • Solving file duplication issues, as well as the ability to handle special characters

Some migration tools even have pre-migration check services built in, which can be especially helpful in checking if your SharePoint is actually ready to move.

So which SharePoint Migration tool should you use?

Although a few years old, this article from CMS Wire actually gives a pretty good run-down of all the tools available, 14 in total! From AvePoint to Kapow, from Sharegate to Vyapin, it provides a good overview of the wider range on offer out there. It even gives you a quick checklist for all the pre-migration tasks you should have done!

From our experience working with migration tools for a number of years, we’ve compiled a more in-depth look at 4 of these tools.

AvePoint

AvePoint is considered the market leader for SharePoint migration, mainly for its ability to handle large volumes of data required for Enterprise-level migration projects. It’s priced accordingly based on the amount of data being moved.

The tool itself can be found here.

The key features and advantages of AvePoint are:

  • Pre-Migration Discovery – With a detailed discovery and pre-scan functionality, it can inventory your source environments to help with your migration project planning. This includes required mappings, prioritisation and customisation settings that may require rework.
  • Legacy Asset Protection – By ensuring that all critical information held in legacy content sources is preserved, you’re able to minimise business user disruption.
  • Flexible Content Migration – Both granular and bulk content migration options are available, as well as flexible job scheduling, features that empower admin users to plan migration jobs according to business needs.
  • High Speed Migration to Office 365 – This really accelerates your cutover to the cloud by overcoming throttling limitations and giving you the ability to migrate large quantities of content quickly and easily.

ShareGate

ShareGate is another tool with a strong market presence and that’s also able to manage large volumes of data.

You can access the tool here.

Where ShareGate trumps other tools are:

  • Inventory Reports – You can set priorities by clearly laying out information such as the total number of site collections, the number of used and unused sites, and the total number of workflows. Additionally, it alerts you to issues that require your attention before migration, including things liked checked-out documents, custom site templates or workflows.
  • Simple Drag and Drop Interface – The easy-to-use interface allows for fast and efficient migration by visualising your quickest migration path and listing the API’s available to support with this. You can also map user permissions, metadata and content types quickly, and the scheduling function allows you to prioritise activities and automate repetitive tasks.
  • Migration Reports – With a detailed history of your migration that you can filter on and customise, you get to see exactly what has been migrated, where any errors have occurred and even advice on how to fix them.

Restructure your Environment – With no limits to the amount of data you can migrate with ShareGate, you can use the tool to restructure your entire environment, without worrying about excessive data usage!

Metalogix (now part of Quest)

Metalogix offers a similar product spec to AvePoint in that it will migrate from a legacy installation or file system. One of the drawbacks, however, appears to be that it doesn’t pick up the data and metadata from the extract.

The Metalogix Content Matrix can be accessed here.

And the key features of this tool are:

  • Single Platform view – The Intelligence Migration guide within the Content Matrix provides you with a single platform to assess, plan and migrate content to a new environment. From one platform, you can identify risks, get recommendations to avoid roadblocks and complete your move using informed decisions.
  • Distributed Migration – With Metalogix, you can actually run multiple migrations simultaneously and even reallocate migration workloads across multiple machines automatically.
  • Self-Service Migration – The self-service functionality is designed to enable end users to define and control migration themselves. IT can reduce their workload by empowering business users to perform their own migrations, using pre-defined configurations that ensure safety and compliance.

Complex Migrations and Rapid Reorganisation – Metalogix has a full range of Enterprise-level features to help reduce complexity and meet even the most aggressive of timelines! From basic library, site and farm migrations, to more complex reorg and metadata transformation projects, it can handle them all.

The Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool

Last but not least, Microsoft’s own tool will move files from a file share environment or previous version of SharePoint to Office 365. And whilst it’s able to migrate documents from the File System, it’s limited in functionality when compared to AvePoint and Metalogix.

You can get more info on the Microsoft tool here.

The tool is still relatively new and the free access is probably reflective of its limited functionality. However, it’s receiving regular updates so it could become a contender in the future should Microsoft decide to invest more into its development, support and pace.

Picking the right one for your business

Having summarised our top 4 migration tools, we thought we’d put together a high-level features matrix that itemises some of the more specific functionalities you may be looking out for. A more comprehensive list is available should you be interested – please contact us here and we’ll be more than happy to send it your way.

FEATURE

AVEPOINT

SHAREGATE

METALOGIX

MICROSOFT TOOL

Export from SharePoint

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Import Files to SharePoint

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bulk Migration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (only through CSV or JSON file)

Schedule your migration

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Migrate Quick Launch

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Migrate SharePoint Documents

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Copy Document Templates

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Migrate Files and Folders

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Map Content Types

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Export to Desktop or File Shares

 

 

 

 

Migration Report

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Supports Office 365

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Email Support

Yes

Yes

Yes

(FastTrack or paid MS)

Cost

££££

££

£££

Free

 

Summary

The migration tools available cover most Enterprise-level requirements and the vast number of content sources are well provided for. With this in mind, we would always opt for and advise using a reputable tool. That said, there are unique situations where the source content type is not covered and so custom scripts can be written to migrate content and retain metadata and versions, depending on requirements.

If you’d like more information on custom scripts or any of the advice given above (including the full Features Matrix, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.