GoDaddy Office365 to Microsoft Office365 Migration- Part 1

Is it possible to migrate?

One of my friend was asking if its possible for migrate Office365 services availed from their hosting provider - GoDaddy to a direct Microsoft Office365 tenant. Since I had an opportunity to work on multiple Office365 migration projects including cross tenant migration, I thought of writing a series on how to migrate from one tenant to another, with minimal downtime. Most importantly, How to migrate from one tenant to another without using paid tools.

An Overview on Office365 Service

Office365 Service Includes a wide spectrum of services and is rapidly expanding. In this context of migration, lets differentiate the services into two segments. Services which doesn't have any user data and services which has user data. Services without user data is comparatively easy to migrate as its just the configuration to be migrated. End users can avail the service from the new tenant as if moving from one taxi to another. However, services with user data is different as the data is important as moving the service and the data should be available in the new tenant for the user to user once the service is getting migrated. Its like travelling on a connected flight, where our baggage will also get moved as we move from one flight to another. And at the destination, We expect that the baggage will be ready to collect at the pickup point to resume the journey.

The key services in Office365 which has user data are listed below.

  1. Azure Active Directory - Holding identities, groups etc
  2. Exchange Online - Emails
  3. SharePoint Online - SharePoint Sites and document libraries
  4. Microsoft Teams - Collaboration System with SharePoint and Exchange Online as the key data storage location

I will be detailing on each of these section in the upcoming posts. With an objective of having the critical data migrated to a new tenant, You should be in a position to handle at least these four components to make the migration successful.

Defining Migration

Migration can be defined as the process of moving from one environment to another for a reason. As part of the initial assessment, The project team involved in migration will definitely look at the data to be migrated if any. Services which are getting migrated will resume from the new environment for sure. The question is - Is that really enough? From an end user stand point, Migration experience will be great only if the migration team can give everything as is. Be it an email, SharePoint document, teams channel or even an item kept of Outlook Draft folder for sending at a later stage. The data laying at different places from Source Tenant needs to be migrated to the Destination tenant. Just migrating to the new environment is not enough, it should should be available to users at the same location they used to access earlier. To be more specific, if the users are accessing a document library through teams channel which has multiple documents with different level of access restrictions, The destination tenant also should have the same teams channel, with all the documents and their respective access restrictions. Instead, If the data is only getting migrated to a different location without metadata and asking users to copy the data back will not provide a good user experience.

Is it possible to migrate from one Office365 tenant to another with out using any third-party paid tools?

My answer to that question is a partial YES.

When I say partially yes - The fact is that we have options to migrate the data to certain extend. However, some other data can be migrated but cannot be restored to the same location or make it available on the same interface in the exact way it was on the source tenant. However, the most critical user data of any organization is Email and SharePoint document library - which can be moved without loosing data or user experience.