back to article Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

“Move it all to Microsoft’s cloud,” they said. “It’ll be fine,” they said. You’ve done your research and the monthly operational cost has been approved. There’s a glimmer of hope that you’ll be able to hit the power button to turn some ageing servers off, permanently. All that stands in the way is a migration project. And that …

  1. StaudN
    Mushroom

    Hmmm

    These are issues you'd expect to see if migrating all your systems to any off-site platform... sounds to me like you're just disappointed that "the cloud" hasn't held your hand and done everything for you.

    Also, the "what you need to know" part ... is pretty thin on the ground.

    1. SCuffy

      Re: Hmmm

      It was intended to show people that the Cloud doesn't do everything for them and there is a bit of work to make it as smooth a transition as possible. No disappointment from me. This is the reality of any It system migration.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Some of them even apply to on-prem solutions.

      We migrated a data partition to a new VM a couple of weeks ago. Moving from d:\data on the old server to d:\data on the new machine and there were dozens of files with file names too long to be copied!

      1. Jakester

        Re: Hmmm

        The long file names are precisely why I don't use Windows for servers - I have had to struggle file copies with Windows aborting because of a path\filename that was too long. With Linux as the server, I have never had that problem copying on the Linux side (even to NTFS formatted drives). Of course, most businesses are locked into Microsoft on the client side. Fortunately, few users ever do a copy that encounters this path\filename length issue. If they do, then we can deal with it then.

    3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Hmmm

      No its not. So, in 2017, you can't just sync files from the latest version of Microsoft's OS to the latest version of Microsoft's cloud offering? Becuz "260 character file name limit"?

      Did nobody at Redmond think that that might be a requirement?

      WTF?

      O365 chokes on the same large inboxes that Exchange has done since 1997? WTF?

      You have to BUY a THIRD-PARTY tool to migrate the metadata for Sharepoint documents from your on-premises Microsoft server to the Microsoft cloud? WTF?

      Frankly, it's just Not Finished.

      1. SCuffy

        Re: Hmmm

        I've seen long file paths cause issues with Macs syncing Google Drive too, nowhere near any Microsoft products. The large Exchange mailboxes issue IS painful and shouldn't be an issue still in 2017, I agree. As for SharePoint, it's more a risk for people moving file share documents into SharePoint Online, because of how a file system stores and reads metadata vs how SharePoint does (onprem or Online). Nasty little gotchas for sure.

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: Hmmm

          Users like long filenames and file paths with embedded emojis and Chinese characters. As a programmer I steer away from anything not letters numbers and dash. The fact that some operating systems can handle such wacky names is why it's hard to migrate to a proper OS.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm

      Yeah basically, this all reads as a standard migration to me. I done "pretty much" the same migration a few weeks ago.

      Except, instead of exchange it was Zimbra, and instead of Cloud it was from older dedicated server to a new dedicated server and instead of Windows it was Linux.

      Pretty cost effective for us too as a small business everything matters - the server sets us back £35/mo which gives us an "unmanaged server" with an Xeon CPU E3-1245 V2 + 32GB RAM + 2TB of storage (well 4TB, but with soft RAID1) with a 500Mbps uplink (Which is more than this email server needs)

      (Technically, it is managed - except you manage it yourself instead of the hosting provider doing it for you, the only time you contact the hosting provider is over billing or hardware failure)

      I find this setup is better than cloud in my opinion simply because you keep full control of your email systems right down to how the server is configured at it's core and you are sure that no other company has access to your private company data.

      It's effectively "on prem" without the cost of buying hardware or paying for the ISP connection.

      In addition you are not solely relying upon a "cloud" to stay online - Yes Microsoft we all know about those outages.

      But yup, it's my preferred way and has been working well since 2013 - in that time we've had one outage caused by the DC which lasted a grand total of 5 minutes.

      (Apparently one of their network switches died during a firmware update)

      We've had two HDD's die in that time (Separate incidents, different servers) - At the time they were using Toshiba/Seagate/WD drives - I had a Toshiba and a Seagate drive replaced with HGST and our current email server came with HGST as well. Both happily replaced with no extra charges by the DC.

      So overall I'm happy with this setup :-).

    5. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Disappointed that the Cloud and not held your hand? And why not expect it to be perfect?

      If you're going to migrate and accept that you face difficulties then you could migrate to any platform. Why not ClearOS? Occasionally Microsoft Migration Tool has worked well but then in any migration you have the chance to start fresh or simply duplicate your mess on a new platform or any variation there of.

      The Cloud is a mystery to me. Why would the hosting company want to take on all that responsibility? Oh money and power! Why would the Client want to hand over all that money and power? Oh save money and offload responsibility.

  2. Def Silver badge

    Days?

    Even in small organisations that can be over 250GB of data. If your cloud of choice doesn’t have an option to seed your data via disk, that all has to go up via your internet connection. At best, we’re talking days.

    250GB @ 100Mb/s is a smidgen under six hours. If you don't have an office internet connection at least that fast these days you're doing something very wrong.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Days?

      We must be doing something wrong then, we only have two VDSL2 connections which offer real world speeds of 60Mb/s down and 16Mb/s up, (we are 2 miles from the exchange) and then two dedicated 20Mb/s fibre links. We are an SME, so where would we get 100Mb/s uplinks from without going bankrupt?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Days?

        You can get gigabit symmetrical connections for about 60 quid a month in the uk these days. Lovely stuff.

        Obviously does not apply if you live in the sticks.

      2. Def Silver badge

        Re: Days?

        I guess I keep forgetting that the UK is more backward than other countries in this respect. Mea culpa.

        When I first moved to Norway in 2005 the company I worked for had a 100Mb connection. (They were hosting their own game servers though, so I guess they might have been the exception back then.)

        These days though pretty much every building in Oslo has a fibre connection, and I even have a couple into my house in a village 50km outside of the city. (One for myself, and one for the apartment downstairs.) So in theory I could run them in parallel for a 2Gb symmetric line. Not even I need that much porn though. ;)

        1. Domquark

          Re: Days?

          "These days though pretty much every building in Oslo has a fibre connection, and I even have a couple into my house in a village 50km outside of the city."

          Population of Oslo (2016) 1.7 Million

          Population of London (2015) 8.7 Million

          Population of Norway (2015) 5 Million

          Population of the UK (2015) 65 Million

          Oslo may have loads of fancy connections, but the UK is not really comparable, due to a much higher population. This means more connections and more (read: older and obsolete) infrastructure to modernise, in more densely populated areas. This increases costs (to both Telecoms companies and customers) and slows the rate of uptake in higher speed connections.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Days?

            OK then, so forget Norway as an example, so what is your / UK's excuse for generally crap broadband speeds compared to our large neighbours Germany and France??!!!

            1. FrankAlphaXII

              Re: Days?

              Im not British, but two words. OpenReach.Thats the explanation for their shitty speeds. And it's a pretty good one. There's less of an excuse in the US, I mean I guess you could blame AT&T for it considering they were promoting FTTP/FTTH in the early 90's and it's still really fuckin rare even with uVerse, which is generally overpriced ADSL that might potentially be FTTP one day in the distant future but usually isn't yet

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Days?

        100Mbps/1Gbps+ http://www.logicaltelecom.co.uk/ ... they resell the most cost effective fibre in the area ... I'm just a regular customer with our multiple sites.

        In a couple of instances, upgrading to 50Mbps at a small office (replacing existing 10Mbps at those same offices) saved us money, in 1 case we started saving money during the second month (including running the old and new lines at the same time, and install fees ... screw the old supplier!)

    2. SCuffy

      Re: Days?

      You'd be surprised at how many people are doing it wrong. Enterprise takes for granted a decent internet connection. I've seen SMBs try to go Cloud with horrendous results because the IT person should never have gone near them with a Cloud solution, because of terrible internet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Days?

        At my last employer, going from 10mbps to 1gbps would have meant an investment of over 20,000€ for the fibre (it was heavily subsidised by Telekom), plus around 2,500€ a month for the connection.

        In the end, they went with a 50mbps connection, no new cable and less than a grand a month.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Days?

        " the IT person should never have gone near them with a Cloud solution, because of terrible internet."

        It is really only an issue for the initial transfer of data. Not after the data is all on the other side. Most of your users are probably using email, IM (snap, whatsapp, etc), file storage (e.g. iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive), video conferencing (facetime, hangouts) etc in the "cloud" every day at your office, for personal use if not the corp system... appx same data loads that a corp system would handle. If Gmail works for all of the users' personal accounts, cloud email (which could just be corp version of Gmail) is going to work. If you really have just terrible internet, like it is going down all the time or cannot handle email data loads, moving to cloud is probably the least of the businesses' issues. Difficult to run a business of any sort today with occasional internet access.

        There are a bunch of ways around the initial transfer... e.g. consider anything old than 90 days to be 'archive' and migrate it slowly after the go live, rent a high speed direct connection just for the migration (a month or two), ship disks.

      3. Walter Bishop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Days?

        "You'd be surprised at how many people are doing it wrong. Enterprise takes for granted a decent internet connection."

        People should realize that whatever your current bandwidth entering the premises, you'll need the equivalent going to each desktop in order to get the same usability out of your 'cloud' solution. and of course, once the Internet goes down, so does your business :)

        "I've seen SMBs try to go Cloud with horrendous results because the IT person should never have gone near them with a Cloud solution, because of terrible internet."

        I suspect the IT person never proposed moving to the 'cloud', must of been some technically illiterate manager who thinks Wired Magazine is technical reading :)

        1. Loud Speaker

          Re: Days?

          People should realize that whatever your current bandwidth entering the premises, you'll need the equivalent going to each desktop in order to get the same usability out of your 'cloud' solution. and of course, once the Internet goes down, so does your business :)

          If they realised that, the cloud would be dead in the water!

    3. Griffo

      Re: Days?

      This article seems mostly about O365, so it should be noted that there are limits to the ingestion speed outside of just your network link speed.

      https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn592150(v=exchg.150).aspx#Performance for migration methods

      We also find people run into internal performance issues with existing mail archive solutions, as the items need to be de-archived, transmitted, and a chain of custody record stored. All that makes it pretty slow.

      PST upload and ingestion is much faster if that's an option.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Days?

        For mail archiving with superb search and rapid access to archived files I have used Mailstore for a few years, would highly recommend it.

    4. Paul Woodhouse

      Re: Days?

      <quote>250GB @ 100Mb/s is a smidgen under six hours. If you don't have an office internet connection at least that fast these days you're doing something very wrong.</quote>

      Even if you have that and more, and you have the luxury of doing it all over a bank holiday weekend while the normal lusers aren't there to nick bandwidth, you'll have a bored IT Director or the like sitting in his office streaming porn while he's supposed to be 'keeping an eye on things'

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Fan of Mr. Obvious

      Re: Days?

      That assumes that you have 100Mb Up. Not sure how it is elsewhere in the world, but in the US if you only have 100Mb Down, then you are likely only 15Mb or so Up.

      Even if you have the full 100 to work with, firewalls/DLP, encryption, file verification, ... are going to slow things down.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Days?

        That assumes that you have 100Mb Up. Not sure how it is elsewhere in the world, but in the US if you only have 100Mb Down, then you are likely only 15Mb or so Up.

        That's what the A is for in ADSL: Asymmetric. And it is a "feature" of ADSL because of technological limitations. If you don't have symmetric speeds with a fibre connection, that's just your ISP ripping you off because people don't understand technology enough to realise or complain. (And in the US your ISP market is about as open as a nun's legs, so you don't really have any alternatives if you do complain anyway.)

        In Norway, at least, all fibre connections have symmetric speeds. So I'm paying for 80/80 and I get 80/80 24/7. I could upgrade to 1000/1000 if I wanted to, and that's what I'd get.

        The only thing really stopping me from running my own servers here (or indeed setting up a small hosting company in my basement) is the fact that my IP address isn't static. In practice it only changes once a year or so - if that - but still. (I could get a static IP address quite easily - I'm just too laz...zzzZZZzzz....

    7. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Days?

      Some small firms do have 100mbps Internet and jolly nice it is too. They use Smoothwall and share it to their tenants in their building. However for current office work supporting a business you don't need anything like that. Many business operate off a mobile phone

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Don’t even start a cloud project until you’re happy with your internet speeds."

    Speeds in the plural seems to be the operative word here. You're not going to do this without redundant connections are you?

    1. SCuffy

      In this case, speeds meant upload and download. It's very rare for the S end of the SMB scale to have internet redundancy. Mobile failover or hotspot at best. Sadly most of them live with the risk.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        The risk is worth it for us. Fewer than 10 employees and a lot of us work from home. So coming into the office is optional for everyone but me.

        If we controlled the building, then I'd probably have a redundant connection. But we don't. So I've got one of those mobile WiFi hotspot things on 3, which will give us OK speeds. It'll only handle data for 5 devices, but that's good enough to keep me online, and send everyone else home.

        In this case of course, the cloud is an advantage. If we had a server on premises, then nobody would be able to work from home either. Obviously we'd have onsite access, but no incoming/outgoing emails.

        This is a nice piece though. Simple, obviously. But good for showing to a simple PHB. We had migration problems, because our reseller were usuless, but nothing I couldn't fix. Obviously annoying that I had to fix it, but that's life as a small business really.

        Small business is generally pretty piss-poorly served by IT companies. By which I mean less than 20 users rather than under 250. And by the industry I mean the re-sellers, the software companies and even the trade press. To be fair, they tend to be quite cheapskate and lack expertise, so there's a reason the market doesn't serve them well.

  4. P. Lee Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What you need to know

    It's hard to do well and even if you did do it well, it is intrinsically worse than on-prem.

    Or did I misunderstand the article?

    1. SCuffy

      Re: What you need to know

      I'd say "it's easy to stuff it up." But very possible to do it well if you know what you're doing and can handle these kinds of issues. That's why we're IT Pros, right?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: What you need to know

      If we could afford a decent IT department, we wouldn't need cloud. But we've got relatively complex IT needs for a company with under 10 staff, but only the resources of a small business. IT is me, and that's not actually my job. I can get stuff working, but I don't have the time or experience to run servers, so we're either going to be paying a local company to do it (as we used to) or cloud.

      To be fair we could live with less IT - projects used to be a filing cabinet full of blue folders with labels on - but having the ability to all see and update a CRM system while working from home or mobile makes us a lot more effective. Means we're more up to date with our projects, can see we're up to date, and can prove it to our customers. Which is all good.

      Cloud has risks, but I don't believe they're worse than any other option available to us. And we get IT options not previously available to companies our size, except at very high cost.

  5. chontay

    Yeah this is a very poorly researched and stated article. We have migrated tens of thousands of mailboxes and hundreds of servers and workloads into 365 and Azure with very little issues. If the migration is done by experts then few of the above 'issues' will be seen!! It's 2017. These are mature services with many experts able to migrate you with zero downtime when using a multitude of options. Knock these scare mongering articles on the head they serve no purpose but to scare non-IT managers and owners into avoid Cloud. Slow internet, ancient systems we've seen and done it all. There is ALWAYS a solution to this. As StaudN states these things are quite natural in any migration to any platform.

    1. SCuffy

      Great to see you are doing it right and have the experience. Absolutely agree that there are answers to all of this and these are exactly the kinds of things an IT expert will be prepared for and will overcome. For our no-IT managers and owners, hopefully it's enough to convince them it's not always a walk in the park and they should get an expert.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: "this is a very poorly researched and stated article"

      On the contrary I feel that this article should be on the desk of every PHB in the world. With the number of times I hear some mangelement idiot casually dropping sentences like "We'll just go to the cloud and our problems will be fixed" (yes, I personally heard someone say almost that), there is obviously not enough of this kind of article to go around.

      1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

        Re: "this is a very poorly researched and stated article"

        "If only" ... that's an invitation to go off T. Ignorant person responding to some perceived fault in the computer(s) at the office: "If only we had bought an Apple [given the time frame, it would have had to be an Apple II] instead of [S-100 bus CP/M 2.2 unit] ..."

        Years later, more intelligently: "If only everybody ran NT instead of Windows 95 ..." but still wasn't going to happen.

        Referring to an earlier comment, "Gotchas 'Я Us" could be the motto of a well-known computing behemoth, from the first ROM BASIC onward. You have to balance, on the one hand, how many IT people and IT victims have expired prematurely due to the tension, exasperation and frustration; versus, on the other hand, how many children are fed and rosy cheeked rather than wandering the street because mommy or daddy has a job tending to those Gotchas. Not that any sufficiently complex software is perfect, but goodness gracious.

        Here where I live, homeowners like to do renovations, and of course they prefer to do the work without the expense of a Building Permit. The City reliably slaps a Stop Work order whenever it sees unfinished alterations to the entrance of a house. The ideal for the homeowner would be to begin removing the porch after the inspector goes to her own home, and to finish the new porch before the inspector comes back to work. That, in my world-view, is why YHWH invented Easter*: four-day weekend. Other times, such as Xmas and New Years, might also be suitable for a Cloudy move. Not so much for the homeowner in view of environmental conditions, because Canada. My first recollection of a Public Service Announcement on television is a cartoon and jingle from the late 50s, early sixties, advertising the Winter Works Program. Singing, "Why wait for Spring, do it now. When there are men who know how." Yes in 2017 you could camp that up, but the cartoon had plumbers and carpenters busy as bees. With plumbers' wrenches and handsaws. Sheesh, get that smut out of your head.

        * Not responsible for Theological inconsistencies. </ramble>

      2. Hargrove

        Re: "this is a very poorly researched and stated article"

        @Pascal Monett:

        D'accord, Pascal. This article addresses some realities that need more rather than less visibility.

        In addition to being on the desk of every pointed-headed boss, it should be required reading for information systems designers and customers. Faith in the cloud is based on unshakeable belief in myths of infinite bandwidth and "solid state reliability", neither of which are true.

        El Reg is distinguished for discussion of real technical issues that are generally simply ignored, not only by the general public, but by professionals who should know better.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It really isn't going to be optional for much longer. MSFT really wants people on O365. They are insisting on it. If you want a discount or anything of that sort, increasingly those are only available via O365. When MSFT gets a critical mass, whatever that is... 70% maybe, they are likely to just end of life on prem versions of the software. Why wouldn't they? What is the downside to MSFT?... You could get really upset and decide to leave MSFT. The only real alternative option is Google. Great service, but there is no on prem option there... so regardless you will be in the SaaS model. I'm not sure what the timeline will be, but I don't think MSFT will be supporting on prem Exchange, SharePoint, etc 10 years from now.

  6. nikos

    not so long paths

    Windows 10 version 1607 and later did next to nothing for long paths in real applications, and especially so for the shell. One less thing to worry about

    http://zabkat.com/blog/long-8.3-path-names.htm

    1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: not so long paths

      http://zabkat.com/blog/long-8.3-path-names.htm

      Gotchas, QED. Even when they fix something, they add Gotchas.

      Excellent article. I use the author's xplorer2 software, free version, at home. Even in an alternative universe where Windows Explorer were not so dire, xplorer2 is* excellent.

      * if I'm not allowed to shill (disinterestedly, of course), please truncate at *.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    "True data nerds love the value in metadata"

    Exactly to avoid metadata in the file name, and corresponding ugly, long file names like "document wwhateveryoulike version 1_2_23_3333 preliminary draft for review edited by John Doe 2017-3-22.docx"

    1. SCuffy

      Re: "True data nerds love the value in metadata"

      So much this. The metadata is contained in the file for a reason, NOT in the title. The challenge is that some migration methods treat the upload as a new file (as it is a new file created in the Cloud system) and you can lose your historical metadata if you're not careful. That's more important to some people than others.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: "True data nerds love the value in metadata"

      You forgot at least one reference to "final" somewhere in the file name. Very important to have "final" version, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5....

    3. Walter Bishop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "True data nerds love the value in metadata"

      'to avoid .. ugly, long file names like "document wwhateveryoulike version 1_2_23_3333 preliminary draft for review edited by John Doe 2017-3-22.docx'

      Wouldn't the correct location for such metadata be in the alternative file stream. Whatever became of File Streams.

      ref: "A simple file copy to the cloud is not guaranteed to preserve that additional data or import in into the right places in your cloud system"

      I suspect this is more Microsoft innovation designed to prevent someone cloning Sharepoint, by hiding essential metadata elsewhere in the file system and/or registry.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: "True data nerds love the value in metadata"

        Unluckily file streams are not portable across file systems. You have to rely on the document format metadata, or some kind of document management system, hopefully built on some kind of version control system. And train users to use that properly.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop encoding metadata into directory structures. Search is better than structure, unless you're a one-man-and-his-dog shop and can remember exactly what every folder name means and are absolutely sure you're never going to need to change the structure.

    Also remember to bring your own DNS. Azure still doesn't do reverse DNS out of the box and it plays merry hell with applications.

  9. Ellis Birt 1

    I used to work for a small business.

    We successfully deployed a hybrid Exchange/Office 365 system (with real people's mailboxes in the cloud). The MX changeover was seamless because the on prem exchange routed mails to the cloud.

    Migration was not painless but the upgrade to the latest exchange was more problematic.

    We were still using MS Source Safe for some older projects. Our plan was to migrate our file server to One Drive for Business. VSS scuppered that plan because of the the OneDrive naming restrictions. It turns out that One Drive for business uses SharePoint (at least in part) behind the scenes.

    We ended up having a QNAP NAS box for such files and hosting the vestigial Exchange server with its test mailboxes.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Yes - be very careful when using OneDrive for business because it does (ab)use SharePoint for file storage, presenting an interface that appears to be similar to a file system but in reality hides a whole lot of painful gotchas and a world of stupid. It's OK for document storage and versioning, for example standard Office documents, but the whole thing starts to go wrong with anymore more complicated, such as streaming, VCS systems, large files of any denonimation and so on...

  10. JimRoyal

    I worked on one migration where we used BitTitan to get the mailboxes onto the cloud and it worked very well. Can recommend.

    One gotcha that fell foul of was with changing the MX record. I changed it EXACTLY as specified by Microsoft and it failed to propagate. Lots of head scratching. Eventually called company hosting the domain records and found their system wanted ever so slightly different syntax on the MX record. They changed it for me and all was well.

  11. doug_bostrom

    Rule #1: it's engineered to be a one-way trip.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: One way trip

      Of course, and then the prices can increase as much aas they want..

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Re: One way trip

        I see what you did!

      2. Alumoi
        Facepalm

        Re: One way trip

        Can increase? Will increase, learn to speak properly.

    2. a pressbutton

      Mod parent up

      ...and looking forward to reading gotchas on migration between cloudy providers in 3 years time.

    3. Zed Zee

      Not necessarily.

      Not so, if you use tools such as VeloStrata. They can 'stream' your workload into AWS/Azure, while the app storage back-end stays put (on prem) and back again, if you don't like the look of AWS/Azure.

  12. lglethal Silver badge
    Joke

    The first rule...

    The first rule of Migration Consultancy is you do not talk about Migration Problems...

    The second rule of Migration Consultancy is you do NOT talk about Migration Problems...

    :P Just joking...

  13. Paul Woodhouse

    hmm, actually is it legal in the UK to use office365 to work on documents containing confidential client details?

    1. Binraider666

      I doubt it, but it hasn't been tested in court. Yet.

  14. Otto is a bear.

    Leaving the Cloud

    Has anyone tried to migrate the other way yet, I get the impression that once you are in you are in forever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leaving the Cloud

      Migrating to an in-house cloud should be no more difficult than migrating from one cloud provider to another - as their salesmen will tell you, cloud providers are there to help your company so its not as though they'd try to stop you moving to a better solution.

      1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

        Re: Leaving the Cloud

        Why the hate-on? No up, and four downs. (S)he was posting as AC which precludes the Joke icon. Couldn't you sense the invisible irony dripping from every word?

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Leaving the Cloud

      Well for Office 365 you can still have a local version of the mailbox stored on the PCs, so you can replicate from those into a new Exchange server change the MX records and you're back in control. Or use some software (I'm sure not written by MS) to grab the data from the server. In principle it doesn't seem much harder than the initial migration was in the first place.

      I'm not sure how easy it is to get all the stuff back out of whatever they call Sharepoint nowadays. As we're only using O365 for email, so I've never had to get involved in that.

    3. Walter Bishop Silver badge

      Re: Leaving the Cloud

      "Has anyone tried to migrate the other way yet, I get the impression that once you are in you are in forever."

      Shoosh, you're not supposed to say that in front of the marks .. I mean customers ;)

  15. ab-gam

    Don't forget the constant status notifications...

    I haven't noticed anyone mention the backend of this process...

    It's rare that I go a week without more than one push notification from the MS Admin app on my phone. This service is degraded, that service is being researched, "some" customers are having a problem with something else....

  16. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    We lived with a 8.3 character short filename

    "Once upon a time we had an 8.3 character short file name and we lived with it. Granted, we created much fewer files back then. With the arrival of NTFS we were allowed a glorious 260 characters"

    Didn't VAX/VMS (and other file systems) come with long filenames at the time 39 for filename and 39 for the extension. I always find it amusing that there are people out there who are under the delusion that Microsoft is the alpha-and-omega of computing. I guess it's down to marketing, where you can go into a bookshop and see books on 'Microsoft TCP/IP', 'Microsoft Javascript', 'Windows C/C++' etc ..

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: We lived with a 8.3 character short filename

      The author might have lived with 8.3, I lived with 31 (Amiga and Mac).

      1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

        Re: We lived with a 8.3 character short filename

        8.3 predates MS. It was in CP/M and that may not have been the first. Then it went into DR-DOS (or whatever it was called when the IBM PC hit the streets), which was roughly contemporaneous with MS-DOS.

  17. jtaylor

    Wonderful article that really nails the risks. Thank you!

    We recently migrated a client to Office 365. Small business, limited budget, existing IT was a bit ad-hoc. We have a lot of experience with email (I recently bonded with someone over RFC2822), but this was our first time with Office 365. We researched and prepared and tested and staged and documented and the migration was a success, but my god, the learning curve....

    Wish we had read this article first. Keep writing!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

    1. What they won't tell you - it's shit, unreliable, insecure and woefully expensive,

    2. What you need to know - see 1.

    1. jtaylor

      Re: Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

      word_merchant wrote: "What they won't tell you - it's shit, unreliable, insecure and woefully expensive"

      I'm curious to learn more. Can you give examples?

      In my admittedly limited experience, Hosted Exchange is just what it says: Exchange Server, with all the protocols that includes, Outlook Web Access, and all the groupware features like contact lists, shared mailboxes (slick integration), hosted and shared calendars, etc.

      It's been pretty reliable. Not perfect, but better than typical VPS.

      Security I'm especially curious about, because it uses Azure AD as a back-end, HTTPS for Web, and TLS for email connections. What I've seen looks better than the usual hosted VPS (smaller attack surface, for one), but there's a lot that I don't know.

      Cost is $5/month per Hosted Exchange mailbox. Shared mailboxes are free up to 50GB. For a small company, this is very competitive with a hosted VPS. Anything other than fully hosted requires IT Person With Clue, which is not cheap.

      When I recommend a solution to a client, that's my name and reputation on the line. I hope you'll share what you know.

  19. Julifriend

    One thing I don't see mentioned in the article is firewalls and proxies. If you run either (and you almost certainly should) then migrating to O365 is likely to be a nightmare. Microsoft seems to assume that everyone has unfettered access to the internet these days and I suspect this will cause many companies more issues than Microsoft would like to admit. We trialled O365 and quickly canned the test as re-engineering a significant element of our network was not what we expected to have to do and could not be cost justified.

    Also, if you run a thin client environment then the problems are likely to be many. In our case 90% of our installed client devices were thin terminals without a local browser therefore moving to the Cloud without replacing client devices or keeping our existing XenApp installation was not an option.

    1. TheWeenie

      One thing I don't see mentioned in the article is firewalls and proxies. If you run either (and you almost certainly should) then migrating to O365 is likely to be a nightmare. Microsoft seems to assume that everyone has unfettered access to the internet these days and I suspect this will cause many companies more issues than Microsoft would like to admit. We trialled O365 and quickly canned the test as re-engineering a significant element of our network was not what we expected to have to do and could not be cost justified.

      Also, if you run a thin client environment then the problems are likely to be many. In our case 90% of our installed client devices were thin terminals without a local browser therefore moving to the Cloud without replacing client devices or keeping our existing XenApp installation was not an option.

      Wish I could up-vote this more. These issues may not be too concerning for an SME but for larger organisations...my God, it's a nightmare.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bosses who don't understand IT and the cloud

    About five years back, when working for a small business of about 10 people the boss/owner decided he didn't want to replace the company servers again and so wanted to move everything to the cloud (the current servers were on their last legs, crashing several times a day) and so decided we needed to migrate to the cloud.

    Now we didn't have proper IT, just me with it as a small part of my role and an external company, both of whom said it was an awful idea as we were a data heavy company (artwork and the like) and also because the office we were moving to in 6 months only had ADSL that ran around 2Mb up 0.4Mb down. The external IT guys said we'd still need a local server, just a small something around £1,000 but again he refused so they refused to do the migration and terminated the support contract. I refused to do it and wrote my objections down formally, stating that I couldn't deliver what he was asking, I quit shortly after for different reasons.

    Anyway they migrated to 365 with the help of "a friend" after all the IT companies he contacted said it wouldn't work. Email worked OK, file sharing was abysmal to non-existent (tried to upload around 4TB of files) and had to be moved to Dropbox (and sync from someone else fibre connection the first time), then they move offices. Virtually everything collapsed, the upload actually ended up being <0.2Mb and you could barely send emails, let alone share the files. He called IT companies to try and get it fixed but no one could help as he wasn't willing to spend on servers. In the end because he wouldn't admit he was wrong he ended up having to pay £800 pcm for lease lines on top of everything else. In his desire to save money and not spend £7-10,000 on new servers he ended up costing himself around £40,000 over three years to get a substandard result.

    1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: Bosses who don't understand IT and the cloud

      "...but again he refused so they refused to do the migration and terminated the support contract. "

      That might have been a Life Lesson for me. In my line (not IT), I would sometimes get clients who asked for / insisted on things that I knew Would Not Work™. Especially when the "client" was a committee. I never needed the work to feed my family etc, so "terminate the contract" was there as a resort. But one tends to think that the client is a helpless lamb whom one can save from the full consequences of one or more brainless idea(s). And if one doesn't save that poor lamb, who will?

      In the worst instance of this, I did "terminate the contract", pretty much expecting what happened: honeyed words of reconciliation that proved empty; then my agreement to continue. In retrospect, "terminate and don't look back" would have been aces.

  21. Pat 4

    Dont forget

    Dont frget that moving mailboxes to office 365 is a one way trip.

    There are tools to migrate TO office 365, there are NO tools to move your stuff back, and emails manually moved out of O365 have messed up headers.

  22. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    Gotchas from early

    They introduced "My<space>Documents" with Windows 95, specifically so that things would not work. File utilities and even some major applications that worked fine in DOS, and worked fine in Windows 95 provided you gave them a file path that did not contain a <space>, were thus rendered obsolete.

    I would be leery about adopting an MS Cloudy approach, because Capture. Yes, I use their OS, throttled down, but don't use any of their other offerings [except Sysinternals and a fun music program, long discontinued, from way back] unless I must. In the process of de-accessioning Skype.

  23. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Bandwidth

    We support many SMEs, and the biggest problem is availability of fast connections. Not every small organisation can afford a leased line for fibre and the options are very limited in some locations. Yes, in the sticks it can be quite a challenge, but we have had customers in fairly central London locations (100 yards from Liverpool st station, middle of Soho to name but two) where the only option is a £400 leased line if they want more than 1mbps upload.

    And industrial parks - we have seen many of these without FTTC connectivity and where the maximum ADSL download speeds were 2 or 3 Mbps.

    We had one customer in Wales who struggled by with a 0.5mbps connection and a satellite connection too. It took BT six months to get three phone lines installed! Then suddenly they're able to get full FTTP, and tomorrow I'm moving them over to a voip phone system and getting rid of all their analogue phone lines that they waited six months for!

  24. Zed Zee

    Did someone say "app migration"?

    "with a limited time window to have your systems down"

    Why bring it down at all - VeloStrata and UShare Soft do it on the fly, I believe!

    Please don't tell me that the author of this article doesn't know that such technologies exist?!

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