A Microsoft IT Case study
Microsoft IT focused its performance optimization
efforts for SharePoint Online on two major areas: a gradual, staged migration
plan that mitigated most impacts of migration on performance, and a SharePoint
portal performance analysis that led to important configuration optimizations
in caching, content rendering, and navigation. Because of these efforts,
Microsoft IT enjoyed an especially smooth migration of SharePoint content and
portals to Office 365.
Optimizing migration through categorization and
When Microsoft IT began migrating to SharePoint
Online, there were approximately 70,000 site collections and over 100,000 My
Site personal sites. Through a combination of cleanup efforts and a “Start
Fresh” approach, (see below for a full description) to encourage net-new
adoption, Microsoft IT was able to reduce the actual number of site collections
that had to be fully migrated to 22,063 Team Sites. These sites consisted of 36
terabytes of data, and were approximately a 50 percent reduction in sites to be
migrated (this did not including self-migrations of Team Sites or My Sites,
which were primarily content-only moves). After the Start Fresh adoption and
cleanup efforts were completed, the team successfully migrated more than 97
percent of its relevant SharePoint sites to the cloud in less than one year.
Part of this success is attributable to the development of new SharePoint
Online migration APIs (currently in preview; see Resources) coupled with a third-party
tool developed by Metavis, which greatly improved throughput for migration
throughout the year. Microsoft IT also treated the migration as a large-scale
project, complete with project management assignments, a detailed communication
plan, a rollback plan, and buy-in from all stakeholders. Most importantly,
Microsoft IT planned and performed migrations in a staged manner that greatly
minimized impact on performance.
- The most important step to prepare for migrating to SharePoint
Online is to perform a detailed audit and to clearly understand your
environment. Determine which sites have not been edited for some time and
reach out to the site owners to find out if they are still needed. Remove
those that are not needed any longer. This cleanup is essential to make
sure you are only migrating the most relevant data.
Before beginning site migrations, Microsoft IT
created four migration categories defined by site complexity (the level
and breadth of existing customizations) and the degree of business value
associated with the content. The categories were:
- Start Fresh. Individuals and teams
were encouraged to create new sites in the cloud and manually migrate
their own content as needed, only moving the most important files and
discarding the rest.
- Forklift. Microsoft IT performed a
bulk migration of nearly 30,000 high-value SharePoint sites, using
third-party migration tools.
- Partial Move. Select content was moved
to the cloud, and more complex content (such as content for highly
customized portal components) remained on-premises until it could be
- Redesign. Some portals with highly
customized applications and solutions were slated for complete redesign,
with custom workload migration and completely rebuilt solutions to take
advantage of newly available technology, such as Azure media services, and
to leverage the new app model.
- Performing migrations according to site categories is essential to
efficient SharePoint migration.
Although all four approaches were instrumental in
the successful Microsoft IT SharePoint migration and can serve as a model for
any IT department planning a migration to SharePoint Online, the Start Fresh
approach was perhaps the most significant for mitigating potential migration-related
performance issues. This approach involved regular communication and a generous
timeline, allowing users to self-migrate at their convenience.
To simplify the transition and encourage users to
move, Microsoft IT created a process by which users could create a new SkyDrive
Pro (now OneDrive for Business) site on first visit by simply clicking a link.
Additionally end-users were informed that their on-premises My Sites would
eventually be eliminated. Within a specified time (approximately one year),
users could migrate critical content on their own and discard anything no
longer needed. Microsoft IT did not migrate any content from My Sites
on-premises to SkyDrive Pro. For more complex sites requiring third-party
migration tools, users could request migration assistance from Microsoft IT in
the form of forklift moves, partial moves, and redesigns.
- Establishing a project plan and using a third-party tool (Metavis)
that takes advantage of the migration APIs developed by the SharePoint product
group can reduce the overall impact of migration on performance.
Gradual onboarding and organic adoption
As users moved to their new sites and experienced
the benefits of cloud document storage and accessibility firsthand, SkyDrive
Pro experienced viral adoption. Growth in use of SharePoint Online in Microsoft
IT was organic and gradual, but also highly efficient and effective. A year
after the start of the SharePoint migration in Microsoft IT, more than half of
its SharePoint footprint was in the cloud.
This gradual onboarding and adoption approach is
ideal for organizations that can increase network bandwidth as needed over
time. Although a large migration to Office 365 ultimately requires some
increase in network capacity, very little upfront network load planning is
necessary in a long-term migration model. This approach minimizes the effect of
migration and any associated performance issues because it greatly reduces the
possibility of sudden changes in throughput or network capacity.
- A gradual approach to SharePoint site migration that provides a
generous timeline for more user control can minimize the effect of
migration on network performance.