Faster Migrations to Office 365 with Sharegate & the Migration API

At B&R we have lead many successful migrations for organizations big and small looking to move their data to Office 365.  In some cases, a hybrid migration approach to the cloud is an option that is pursued to reduce potential barriers.  One of the first questions that pops into my head with any migration to Office 365 is “Ok, how much content are we talking about here?”  The concern with most medium to large sized SharePoint and OneDrive For Business migrations is that it might take months to get all data up to Office 365.  For example, consider this all too common scenario. An organization has 3TB of data in file shares that are scattered throughout the organization.  The organization would like to move the files share data to SharePoint Online and take advantage of all the advanced collaboration and document management capabilities.  They have performed all the planning around their SharePoint Online deployment and are now ready to begin moving data into SharePoint Online.  Migrating 3TB of data to Office 365 used to take more than six months.  Using the new Office 365 Migration API and my current favorite migration tool Sharegate, the time it takes to move your data to Office 365 is drastically reduced, and much closer to the business’ expectations. 

This is great news for organizations who have terabytes of data that they would like to move to Office 365.  My goal for this article is to show you just how easy it is to take advantage of the new Office 365 migration API using the Sharegate migration tool.  I have been working with the Sharegate tool for migration work to Office 365 for 5+ years now.  I think that it’s the best bang for your buck migration tool on the market today.  Using the Sharegate tool to take advantage of the blistering Office 365 migration API is very simple.  The only item that is required is an Azure storage account.  Please note, it is recommended to use a separate storage account if one already exists within your Azure tenant.


An Azure storage account is required because the data is first migrated to your Azure storage account then using the migration API it is imported into Office 365.  Before Microsoft introduced the Office 365 migration API all migrations were using the same API’s as the other Office 365 services.  Since all inbound traffic to the datacenter is throttled, frustrations and slowdowns begin to mount right away.  Using the Azure storage account combined with the migration API provides the fast lane (2GB+/hr) for customers moving large amounts of data to Office 365.

After installing the latest version of the Sharegate tool and starting a new migration job, users can configure a connection to their Azure storage account.  Once the Azure storage account is configured administrators will be able to enable insane mode within the Sharegate migration client.  Don’t worry, insane mode is like any other migration job and will still move your data intact.

Sharegate’s “insane” mode when toggled on within the migration client uses the new faster Office 365 migration API behind the scenes.  This provides a much-needed boost for migrations that have terabytes of data to move to Office 365.  Before you kick off that super-fast migration of your 2TB file share there are some planning items that should be addressed.  These include:

  • Large file target locations- If moving to SharePoint Online then there are some considerations and thresholds to consider. Where will the files be stored and how will they be tagged as they come into the new system? It is a good idea to begin to plan out the structure of the storage of your files in SharePoint Online. It is never a good idea to blindly copy all of the files off the K network drive and drop them in one document library in SharePoint Online. The system will likely benefit from organizing the content into logical and manageable containers. For larger migrations, this means breaking it out even further into multiple site collections. For additional guidance on designing and maintaining large repositories see the article here:

  • Security of files in target location- Making sure that the correct permissions have been setup when migrating files to OneDrive or SharePoint Online.

  • Classifying and protecting data in Office 365- Office 365 provides native Data Loss Prevention capabilities that can be used if required. The classification and labeling of your data can be used to also provide protection to sensitive files that get moved into Office 365. Users can apply administrative driven labels and policies manually. Administrators can also mandate specific policies where required.

  • File share Inventory- Buried deep in those file shares are potential issues that could arise with the migration of files to Office 365. It is important to do some initial discovery and inventory of the file share. This is to identify potential issues such as the use of illegal characters in file names that are not supported in SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business. The Sharegate tool has you covered here with its ability to use its rule engine to foresee potential issues. Administrators can single out these problematic files and

These are just some of the items that your organization should be prepared for going into a migration to Office 365.  At B&R Business Solutions we have tailored our own unique approach to cloud migrations that contain large and complex data.  This approach is drawn from years of experience helping customers move their data to Office 365.  Our goal is to get your data to the cloud in a fast and efficient manner.  We would love to discuss how we can help you move some of your on-premises workloads to Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft Azure. 


B&R can plan and execute a successful content migration!