Back to blog

Q&A: The Partner Opportunity for Office 365 Tenant to Tenant Migrations

Oct 28, 2020 by Natalie Frith

Paul Robichaux, Mike Weaver, and Nick Dishman discuss partner opportunities for tenant migrations.

A few weeks ago, we had great attendance for a special partner webinar regarding tenant migrations.

This is a very niche space, and sometimes the parameters of a partnership – let alone the migration itself – can be unclear. As the market for Office 365 tenant to tenant migrations continues to mature, more and more partners are approaching us with questions, looking for project assistance, and Quadrotech is committed to helping our partners’ practices advance with education and support.

There was a lot of engagement during the webinar, with some excellent questions asked by attendees, not all of which we were able to address in the allotted time. Below is a full transcript of all questions and answers.

Q: One of the big asks I get a lot is automatically reactivating the Office Pro Plus license against the new tenant. Hoping that this can be done during the Outlook profile reconfiguration?

A: Inside Cloud Commander, we have a really robust, customizable reconfiguration agent, with multi-language support that will automatically detect the language and it will reset all aspects of the Office install for Pro Plus, including the license. The user still needs to login, but this does negate the major problem of users being stuck in the wrong tenant. That’s become a very important aspect of the user experience for reducing helpdesk call volumes on Monday morning.

Q: Who can deliver services related to CC?

A: Just to clarify, at this time this is only offered as a managed migration service from Quadrotech. We do collaborate very closely with our partners on the overall project needs.

Q: When it comes to migrations, what is your recommendation when a tenant to tenant migration needs a solution for public folder migrations?

A: What I can share there is, and Dom you may have a similar or different project experience, but a lot of the times the organization doesn’t want public folders in the target. So, the recommendation that we have, particularly with the restrictions in moving public folders, is to actually remediate those to shared mailboxes or groups wherever you can in doing that cleanup during the preparation.

If this isn’t possible, either because you have a lot of them or a business process that relies heavily on them, there are a few ways to do this. The resolution differs if the public folders are on-prem or Office 365. Regardless of your situation, it’s in every organization’s best interest to remove public folders, or at least reduce them as much as possible.

Q: Do you use EU or German-based data centers?

A: Cloud Commander operates in Azure and it can operate in any of the Azure regions. This both eases compliance and gets us the best throughput possible. As part of the install, you tell us where you want it deployed; we also want to know where the tenants are so that we deploy correctly. We can deploy in the client’s Azure, our Azure environment, or the partners Azure environment if needed. This allows for flexibility and compliance with the client’s security and auditing needs.

Q: What’s the largest project you’ve done?

A: The largest project we have to date is a 120-to-one tenant project; and that’s approximately 120,000 users. It’s been a project I’m proud to be a part of, although my lack of sleep… not as proud of that. We’ve also done some 100,000 user projects, several over 10,000. We tend to do a lot of the larger ones because of the customization we have.

Q: What triggers the Outlook profile reconfiguration?

A: The reconfiguration agent will query the server at login or on a configurable time interval (default is four hours) to see if a switch request has been activated. This switch request is created in the migration workflow, so the user is prompted for reconfiguration at just the right time.

Q: Is there a cost-benefit analysis you could share or a nice side-by-side graphic to compare MS native migration tools (e.g. ExO migration) vs a third-party like Quadrotech?
This would really help get stakeholder buy-in to use third-party solutions and get funding. They want to see the value and it’s hard to articulate without good factual collateral.

A: At this time, Microsoft only has a public option, in preview, for cross-tenant mailbox migration. For smaller tenants, this may be an acceptable option. However, many projects of size struggle with the preview program due to the low speeds and lack of control. The feedback we are getting is there are constant stalls where the migration takes lower priority to rebalancing and other activities. In a migration weekend, most do not find this acceptable.

In addition, Microsoft recommends long sync windows, which many projects do not have. When looking at the MRS planning, a 100,000-user tenant will need 180 days of sync time to get 90% of the tenant synced. Cloud Commander can do this in less than nine days and get over 1 TB an hour, and we have done as many as 100,000-user cutovers in a single weekend.

In terms of OneDrive and SharePoint, there are some tools that are going into private preview as announced at Microsoft Ignite this year. However, it isn’t clear when these will release to fuller public consumption.

There are no public plans for Microsoft to adopt a Microsoft Teams migration process. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this service is critical. Last week, some additional APIs went to beta. These have their own restrictions but do give new features as well.

For partners, there is a strong need for identity work, communication program, planning, project management, and assistance with workloads that cannot migrate.

For clients that are keen to try the cross-tenant MRS feature, we recommend attempting at least 25 mailboxes with at least 5 GB of data apiece to see if it will meet their needs. If you have over 5,000 mailboxes, this test may need to be expanded to ensure you can meet your business time scales.

Q: Does Cloud Commander address any of the staged migration SMTP issues? Does it do re-writing for outbound?

A: Cloud Commander does not do message re-write. Message rewrite needs to be done by a high-quality mail processor in order to avoid mail flow issues. As announced at Ignite this year, Microsoft is releasing SMTP domain sharing into private preview and will be the right decision for most firms.

In addition, we have found most T2T projects are not doing staged migrations, preferring cutovers over a weekend. Because of our speed and methodology, we have been able to do cutovers up to 100,000 users in a weekend. Most companies are doing this because of the massive amount of collaboration across teams and services. It has become nearly impossible for most firms to split up users into groups.

Q: Can you expand on the levers available to pull when it comes to ‘only migrate partial subsets’?
Can you just select from date/domains/include/excludes, or is there a full eDiscovery range of filters that can be applied to the extraction?

A: There are various metadata filtering that can be conducted in Exchange to support various outcomes. This is particularly helpful in divestitures. Contact us today with your use case and we will be happy to help!

Q: How much throughput can we get while doing a migration?

A: We are very proud of our record 1TB an hour with Exchange Online. Read more in this blog post.

If you still have questions about Cloud Commander and the associated partner opportunities, please get in touch.