Company Size: 41k – including students
Higher Education institution unlocks new advancements in Microsoft Office 365 allowing greater collaboration and classroom management by consolidating two tenants with a Quadrotech Cloud Commander migration project.
A West coast higher education institution approached us with a tenant migration project that involved consolidating their current systems to capitalize on new Office 365 collaborative abilities. When the institution was initially configuring their email systems, they decided to put school employees in one Office 365 tenant, students in another. As Microsoft began enhancing Office 365 over time and coming out with collaborative features like Microsoft Teams, they realized they couldn’t easily support the new features unless users were in the same tenant. This realization and the need for seamless collaboration between the student and faculty population were the catalysts for the migration project.
Considering there would be some time where students would not be able to access their email, they needed to minimize the impact on students and faculty as much as possible and complete the project quickly. For that reason, they planned to execute the migration over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend to minimize disruption.
Tenant to Tenant Trepidations
The institution’s IT department had never carried out a migration project like this before, and there were many considerations outside of the services Quadrotech was going to perform. In an effort to effectively prepare and plan out the migration, they consulted with Microsoft to try and make sure they understood all of the steps they needed to take and all of the activities they needed to complete to try to mitigate risk going forward, such as increasing throttling thresholds.
Since they did preserve their custom domain, moving it from one tenant to the other – there was also the matter of scope and the sequential changes they needed to make on so many user objects in the O365 tenant before migration, post-migration, and cutting over. The team was unable to exactly pinpoint the amount of time it would take to vacate the custom domain from the source tenant to the destination tenant. This unknown variable was incredibly stressful because those were critical points of the project that had to be completed before moving on to the next part.
Additionally, the timing was crucial in order to complete the migration over Fourth of July weekend successfully. They were concerned about the large number of accounts and students and the fact that the migration would have to happen while school was in session. There were three summer sessions; one was right before the migration weekend, one was right after, but one spanned the entire time, so some students would be affected.
After consulting with a handful of other vendors, the institution decided to move forward with Quadrotech to manage their Office 365 tenant to tenant migration. The institution’s Project Lead initially discovered Quadrotech at the Microsoft Ignite conference in 2019, after attending a presentation by Quadrotech CTO, Paul Robichaux, on tenant to tenant migrations.
They ultimately chose Quadrotech for two important reasons – expertise and price. They were comfortable talking with Mike Weaver from a technical perspective. Mike is Quadrotech’s Director of Enterprise Migrations and the Product Owner of our tenant to tenant migration software, Cloud Commander. His extensive knowledge of migrations between tenants helped assure the institution that Quadrotech had the expertise necessary to assist with the project.
As far as pricing, some of the other vendors they talked to wanted a significant amount of money to perform the migration. With their size and the scope of the migration, it just wasn’t feasible. With a fixed price, fixed outcome approach, Quadrotech provided them with attractive and predictable pricing.
“They had a lot of experience, and it was great not having to worry about the actual migration because we had a lot of other stuff on our hands.” – Vicki, Project, Manager
“Mike Weaver had a very firm grasp on not only the higher level of what needed to be done with the project, but he would also get into some really technical, specific aspects of the project and his knowledge and confidence in conversation was very helpful, not only to progress the project but also helped calmed the nerves that ‘we got this, we can move forward, we know what we’re doing.’” – Jared, Technical Project Lead
Despite a few challenges that cropped up during migration, the institution worked with Quadrotech and Microsoft to resolve some throttling issues that were initially impacting performance. Once the problem was identified and resolved, the institution successfully migrated all 98k mailboxes over Fourth of July weekend, with only about 1% of users experiencing issues during that time.
“There’s definitely less administrative overhead now that we don’t have to do double the work of managing two different tenants.”
Students and faculty are now enjoying the operational benefits post-migration. By consolidating both populations in the same tenant, students and professors can easily collaborate through Teams, without the previous hassle of professors having to add students as guests to the faculty tenant. The institution can now accommodate a push for students to utilize the Multi-Factor Authentication security process, now that they have the free A1 licensing in the tenant to do so. They are also in the planning phases of rolling out Microsoft’s School Data Sync, which will further streamline class management capabilities, at no extra cost to the institution.
The IT department saw a significant reduction in administrative overhead with the consolidation into one tenant. They were able to decrease infrastructure, spinning down a couple of servers used to support multiple tenant configuration.
“Everybody at Quadrotech whom I worked with is very responsive in communication and I really appreciate that. It made me feel like a valued customer.”
“Planning is very key to a successful project, especially when you have many users and large amounts of data to move. We talked about the project for months before. As much as possible, do your homework and try to anticipate issues and challenges you might face. Based on your findings and concerns, speak with your migration vendor and Microsoft to determine the best approach. As we progressed through the planning phases of the project, Quadrotech helped us iron out some of the technical fine-grain details. Quadrotech also facilitated a call with a previous customer of theirs so we were able to pick his brain and get some additional tips. Throughout the project, we made sure we had weekly meetings with Julian, our Migration Delivery Consultant.” – Vickie
“Make sure you have people on your internal team that really understand your own environment because that’s one of the things that was fortunate for me – my team and I really understand our environment and how we have everything set up, so when we did run into issues it helps because we know where to look and who to talk to on the team.” – Jared
Have a similar tenant to tenant migration project to complete? Contact Quadrotech to scope your project!