As Microsoft unraveled its long-tangled plans to integrate Office365 andSharePoint this week, one big question remains: How will legacy data move fromexisting on premises files into the cloud?
Data migration vendors once feared the folks in Redmond would develop anin-house solution. But now it appears Microsoft will encourage its customers to choose a third-party vendor -- and the vendors are poised toreap the harvest.
At this week's SharePointConference in Las Vegas, Microsoft executives spent almost the entire firstday singing the praises of the marriage of Office365 and SharePoint. Soon,you'll be able to add maps in Outlook messages, collaborate on files in Yammergroups and switch seamlessly between Office apps, finding the documents youwant in a flash on any computer where you sign into your Microsoft account. AsJared Spataro, general manager for Microsoft's Office division, noted, Office365has grown into a $1.5 billion business for the software giant, and its growth isaccelerating with this announcement.
A New World
It's a different approach, and long overdue as we move to the world of mobile computing, touch screen computing and cloud-based storage. Customers who've adopted Windows 8.1 already have a taste of this bold new world, and there is much, much more to come. No more kludgy files gumming up your PC's programs and memory. Instead, you'll run apps extending from a Microsoft network in the cloud. Do you like DropBox and Box? Microsoft bets you'll love the way its Office apps connect seamlessly with OneDrive.
However, the announcement begged the question about the migration strategy toget legacy files -- like documents, photos, videos and email -- into the newsystem. It's an important issue not just from a functional point of view, but also tomeet compliance and audit requirements. This is serious business forcorporations that could have millions of documents they must track.
Metalogix, a company with 11 years of migration experience, had a quickanswer. No sooner did Microsoft announce its plans in an earlymorning keynote address than the company pumped out a newsrelease touting "the first complete, unified and highest fidelitysolution to move email, files and SharePoint to Office365." The newproducts, Email Migrator 3.0 and Content Matrix 7.0, will help move email, filesand SharePoint into Office365, the company said.
"With these announcements, Metalogix is the first tools vendor to seamlessly enable the migration of email, files and SharePoint to Office365,"CEO Steven Murphy said in the statement. However, it isn't the last vendor to doso.
Companies like ShareGate and AvePoint also play the migration game and arealso gearing up to fill the coming demand for their services. Jeremy Thake, vicepresident for product management at AvePoint, told CMSWire "we want to makeit more efficient" for customer to migrate their files. That will likelyhappen in stages, he explained. Some files can move right away, but others willprobably have to wait because some Microsoft APIs still "needpolishing."
Is Thake worried that Microsoft could reverse course again and build its ownmigration software? That isn't likely, he said, although he wouldn't besurprised if Redmond acquired a migration tools company.
At Metalogix, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Jignesh Shah and CTO TrevorHellebuyck sounded confident that their long years of migrating products withinthe Microsoft sphere had prepared them well for the task at hand.
There will besome changes in file structures and locations, they said in an interview, justas you would need to rearrange furniture when you move from one house toanother. They also said they can help companies determine which files shouldmove, and which should remain behind -- not everything must go.