There is a reason why 3rd party tool vendors like Metalogix have such a strong foothold in the Sharepoint world. Getting data in and out of Sharepoint has traditionally been a mammoth undertaking with just on-board tools that frequently ended up in writing custom software applications for just moving data.
This has not changed with the cloud. Office 365 offers many attractive advantages over on-premises software and hardware, but ease of migration is not one of them. Or is it? Here is what I found.
With less than 5GB of data, my business has a smallish SharePoint presence. We use it almost exclusively as a document repository. There were attempts to make it something more (centrally managed contact list, team calendar, parking space reservations), but nothing stuck. This is good, because there is nothing to migrate but documents. When we decided to move to Office 365, the SharePoint part seemed like an easy-enough task: copying files in Windows Explorer, from one WebDAV share to another.
spFileZilla is better than Explorer because it seems to copy faster and supports some rudimentary SharePoint functions. It can check in files, for example. It did not seem to be able to check in files in a folder tree, only directly selected files.
Things to consider when using the tool:
- Carefully consider permissions and using Sub-sites vs. folders on the cloud instance. Folders are easier to navigate but fine-grained security is much more difficult to manage
- Turn off the “Share” button (especially in small organizations, there is no use for this, and users should not be inviting external users)
- Turn off the checkout requirement for edit in SharePoint Settings. If this is on, all files will be checked out after migration.
One limitations is that the original file dates survive, but version history does not (duh).