Migrating to Office 365's SharePoint Online: Q & A

Moving data from SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online in Office 365 will require tools that Microsoft doesn’t provide. Slipping neatly into the niche of on-premises to hosted migration is a solution provider for migration tools, MetaVis Technologies. MetaVis president and co-founder Peter Senescu spoke with us recently about Office 365 beta, SharePoint migration, and a presentation he gave at a recent SharePoint Saturday event about Office 365. Among other things, he noted that the information at hand is subject to change as Office 365 approaches RTM--which he says will occur "in June or July.”

Why is IT interested in Office 365?

Peter Senescu: Email is number one. When they synchronize users, then they’ll use SharePoint. You get the reliability of Microsoft, you get disaster recovery, you get a data center most businesses can’t afford. SharePoint is great for governance around information. With the new 2010 version, it’s improved document management and records management. With Office 365 you can choose templates for records management, get a wiki, and you can get FAST Search.

How is Office 365 different from Microsoft Business Online Productivity Services (BPOS)?

Senescu: BPOS was severely deprecated. Like a crippled version of WSS. Plus you couldn’t access it from outside. Using ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) with Office 365 you can co-exist your users and security—you don’t have to create users and you don’t have to create passwords. You can make it much easier to access data and you can extend claims to partners.

If you go with Office 365, can you still have SharePoint implementations on-premises?

Senescu: You may decide to keep some SharePoint sites locally or in Office 365. You can have co-existence between premise-based SharePoint and cloud-based SharePoint.  

What are the migration options for Office 365?

Senescu: Traditionally when migrating SharePoint you’d use one of Microsoft’s methods but they’re not available. So far Microsoft has only given guidance for Exchange accounts. These are the migration options for migrating to Office 365:

  • In-place Upgrade - No
  • Database Attach - No
  • PowerShell- Maybe
  • Cloud Ready Tools that work with Office 365 -Yes

As far as I know MetaVis is the only product that works with SharePoint Online and is available for download now.   I am sure there will be more but I haven’t seen any yet.

What do IT people need to know about Office 365?

Senescu: They don’t understand all of the pricing options for Office 365-- small business, enterprise, and education, and the various options in each. They want to understand what they can and cannot do, and they have questions about external facing SharePoint Sites (do they need  a special license, how to integrate security, can they brand the sites).

How can they learn more about Office 365?

To learn more about MetaVis solutions for migrating, including migrating to Office 365, visit the MetaVis Technologies website.

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