This post is part of a series profiling Microsoft Online Services migration partners. The series is from Brett Hill, Technical Evangelist with the Microsoft Online Services Partner Readiness team. This profile is cross-posted to Brett's blog BPOSitive.
Metalogix focuses on building and delivering migration, archiving and management tools for Microsoft technologies, and they are a migration partner for Microsoft Online Services. I recently interviewed Rasool Rayani, Co-Founder and Director of Metalogix, about their tools for migrating content to SharePoint Online.
Q: How did you get started in the migration tools business?
A: In 2001, Metalogix started focusing on migration tools to Microsoft. At first we were focusing on migrating existing web sites and content to an XML based “map” that allows the user to transform the content and migrate the resulting data set to the Microsoft content management platform. When SharePoint came along, we already had an engine created for content migration and the SharePoint environment provided a new opportunity.
Q: Do you still focus on web site migration to SharePoint?
A: We currently support migrating to SharePoint Online from NTFS shares; on-premises SharePoint installations, including Windows SharePoint Services version 2.0 and 3.0 and SharePoint Server 2003 and 2007; eRoom; Vignette; as well as Oracle content server. You can do some sophisticated manipulations using our SharePoint-to-SharePoint Content Management and migration solution such as copy permissions, split or merge lists, promote sub-sites and more. In the near future we will be offering migration from Exchange Public Folders and a SharePoint archiving solution.
Q: Why would someone moving to the Business Productivity Online Suite be interested in your solutions?
A: The technical benefit that BPOS Standard provides is attractive, but to get there you have to be able to move your content to the platform. Many customers need a tool or resource to move their existing files or SharePoint sites. In some cases, they have file stores that need to be organized and transformed into document libraries that are well formed and useful from the outset. When moving content from file shares, you will often find that you want to manipulate the resulting document library in SharePoint Online so that the result is based on rules you customize for the specific migration you are performing. For example, you might want to direct all files from a specific author into a specific list, or publish content from a particular folder to a secured list.
Q: How do you handle differences in capabilities available in on premises SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online?
A: We have documented the limitations with the SharePoint Site Migration Manager, as BPOS currently supports web services interactions. We are working closely with the SharePoint Online engineering team to identify all the use cases. Our training also calls out these differences so customers know what to expect.
Q: Your site references Exchange Public Folder Migration. Do your solutions move Exchange Public folders to a SharePoint Online site?
A: We can already do this from Exchange to an on premises SharePoint implemention. We’re expecting to be able to publish to SharePoint Online with the Web service-enabled version of Exchange Public Folder Migration Manager in Q3 2009 to deliver this capability. Since we also have Exchange archiving expertise, we are looking forward to adding this feature as soon as possible
Q: Let’s say I’m a small business and I don’t have SharePoint right now. How does your solution help me migrate my existing files to SharePoint Online?
A: File Share Migration manager takes the following approach, you point it at a file share and the tool generates a view of the content. You can then browse the content by creation date, folder, or any other attribute.
Q: Does this include Office document metadata (OLE structured storage) available in the Properties Details?
A: Yes it does. Once the tool has cataloged the data, you can pivot the data on any of those values such as the author, file type, size or any other attribute. The tool is very flexible and allows you to create SharePoint document libraries that are custom built for your data according to criteria you specify. For example, you could have the File Share Migration Manager place all PowerPoint files made this year in one folder, and all others in an archive folder and it would create those folders for you. You can add your own metadata to the view and use that as well.
Just to give you an example of how mature this tool is, we found over the years that people who have been using file shares know where to go to access the content they want. They go to the file share and can navigate the folder structure to locate the file they want. If we move that file during the migration, we can replace it with shortcuts to the new file location. This helps a lot with the transition experience.
Q: I presume your SharePoint Migration Tool is similar but uses SharePoint on premises as a source repository?
A: Exactly. You can simply click on the on-premises site, list or library and copy it to the SharePoint Online site if you like. We also support co-existence through scheduled migrations. You can move entire lists and libraries or just the changes that have occurred.
Q: Does this work in reverse? It could be good in an off-boarding scenario in that case.
A: Yes. You can migrate data from SharePoint Online to an on-premises instance by browsing the site structure and choosing list, libraries and sites to copy. We also have an export feature that exports documents, lists and other SharePoint objects to a local file location.
Q: What about training for your tools?
A: We have partner training materials available. No certification is required for our tools. While they are feature rich, they are not that complicated to use.
I guess I'm a little confused. On your website you have a features matrix for the product you describe in this interview. The feature states the following:
You can copy documents and many types of list items to a target machine that does not have the Metalogix service installed, but the four edit information fields will not be preserved. The four edit information fields are:
Created: The date and time that the list item was created.
Modified: The date and time that the list item was last modified.
Created By: The user who created the list item.
Modified By: The user who last modified the list item."
If this is true, are you saying that you can install your custom Metalogix service on Microsoft's BPOS servers?