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SharePoint Online Content Migration Using Third-Party Solutions


Topic Last Modified: 2013-07-08

This guide describes a new content migration policy that was created based on the decision to deprecate the existing content migration service of Microsoft® SharePoint® Online for enterprises’ dedicated plans as of 2013. It describes the reasons for the change as well as the benefits of using a third-party solution for content migration.

Beginning in 2013, Microsoft will no longer offer the content migration service described in the SharePoint Online High Level Design Document. Content migration will instead be accomplished using third-party solutions, which will help simplify the process, reduce the time and effort required to migrate content, and reduce the instances of failed migrations due to file corruption and other causes.

Several factors led to the decision to change the content migration process. For one, analysis shows that customers spend a lot of time preparing data to be migrated, and these efforts can be thwarted if the customers don’t adhere to migration policies and process. The migration can be rejected during the given change window. Even if the process is followed, file corruption can occur during file transfer, thereby delaying the migration process and requiring additional attempts.

Because of these risks, most customers already use third-party, independent software vendor (ISV) solutions for migrating content from on-premises SharePoint to the hosted service. ISVs provide effective solutions for migrating content online. Customers benefit from reduced training needs and fewer technical resources required to use the current database attach method.

Using an ISV solution has the following specific benefits:

  • No need for SQL Server expertise to prepare data

  • Freedom from the restrictions of the current process

  • No minimum database size requirement

  • No need to ship content in advance

The table below details the main obstacles that have hindered the content migration process, and the impact of those obstacles on data security and migration timelines.


Issue Description

File corruption

The files were corrupted when transferred via Backup Transfer Share (BTS).

Incorrect password

The password for decryption was incorrect. Time zone issue and delays in the migration.

Non-encrypted files caused deletion of database

Files were transferred to the BTS without encryption and therefore deleted in adherence to Microsoft data security policy. Content migration was delayed.

Rejection of database due to low density

The content database was not prepared according to policy, and the configuration request (CR) was rejected.

Lack of Ok files on the BTS after the transfer

The Ok files were not placed on the BTS after the file transfer. Resulting ambiguity regarding the transfer completion caused delays in the migration.

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