As Microsoft readies itself for the next release of Office 365 (expected in the first quarter of this year*), several behind the scenes updates are being done to prepare for this.
Most notably is the update of SharePoint Online to the Wave 15 build (aka SharePoint 2013).
To help customers ready themselves for the change Microsoft posted this article on the Office 365 Community site: http://community.office365.com/en-us/blogs/office_365_technical_blog/archive/2013/01/16/preparing-for-the-next-sharepoint-online-service-update.aspx
One of the challenges that we as a business (Paradyne) encountered early on with BPOS was moving customers file systems over to SharePoint Online.
In a traditional on-premise SharePoint scenario there are many 3rd party tools to migrate files structures over to the SharePoint environment, however these generally require extensions to be installed on the target server.
As this is not possible with SharePoint Online we started to look at another way. One simple approach is to simply open up a SharePoint library with Windows Explorer and just drag your files over, however this can run into a couple of fairly sizeable roadblocks:
- a character in the filename that is not allowed in SharePoint
- file transfer fails due to timeout, network conditions, or is interrupted by an inaccessible file or an illegal character in the file name
So what are our choices?
Doing a lot of research, we came across a BPOS partner in the UK that had written a tool to address exactly this challenge.
Enter Files to Go from Thinkscape!
Files to Go is so simple to use that even our non-technical customers have been able to follow the instructions and successfully migrate their files over to SharePoint Online.
It effectively creates a queue of files to be migrated and performs any illegal character changes on the fly, then simply processes the list and copies your files across.
You can either migrate your files into a single library, or run several migrations into different libraries. The folder structure of your file system is kept intact during the migration so that when you open the library in SharePoint Online you are seeing a replica of your file system.
Files to Go also creates its own site within SharePoint Online where you can track the status & progress of the migration as well as view any errors that have occurred.
Overall it is an extremely simple product to use, from the instructions through to the interface. Support is also an email away!
Files to Go currently works with SharePoint Online (under BPOS) and will also be supporting Office 365 upon its release.