Microsoft has recently released its latest version of SharePoint Migration tool available free of cost to their customers.
You can use Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration tool to migrate content (folders and documents) to SharePoint Online along with basic metadata. However, the Microsoft SharePoint migration tool may fall short if you have a complex or metadata intensive migration to perform. For example, you may not be able to use this tool if the source SharePoint environment has been customized to suit specific business needs and has a complex metadata structure.
To explain this better, I have detailed below a few important aspects of migration that may not be quite fully addressed by Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration tool and pointing out certain important differences (pros and cons) between Microsoft’s tool and a third-party migration tool like Vyapin’s Dockit Migrator for example. I have then wrapped it up by providing a complete list of migration features comparing Microsoft’s tool and Vyapin’s DocKit Migrator.
Copy site and list UI elements
One of the major headache for users who are performing a migration from on-premises to SharePoint Online (Office 365) is to maintain the same look and feel (webparts, navigations, quick links etc.) in SharePoint Online as the source SharePoint site, in order to maintain the current sites look and feel for end users.
In addition to this, if you have any customization in the look and feel then migration becomes even more difficult. You won’t be able to migrate those items using the Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool, whereas Vyapin’s Dockit Migrator can copy site and list UI elements seamlessly.
Now a days workflows are most commonly used among users of SharePoint. Microsoft provides a lot of built-in workflows in SharePoint and also provides the flexibility to configure the workflows through the SharePoint designer. So, most of the companies use workflows in SharePoint for their business purposes (either the built-in workflow or a custom workflow or a third party workflow). Creation of such workflows again in the new SharePoint Online (Office 365) site (where the source contents are to be migrated) is a very tedious job. So it would be better if the migration tool itself handles such workflows. Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool lacks this feature (may be they will add this later), whereas the Vyapin’s DocKit Migrator tool allows migration of workflows.
Enrich or Modify Metadata through a Metadata File
Most of the organizations don’t want to migrate unwanted/unused content and they would like to tag additional or new metadata or make corrections to existing metadata (to index and search the documents in SharePoint), when performing migration from file servers to SharePoint Online (Office 365). Applying a reorganized metadata structure on the fly during migration to SharePoint Online need to be automated instead of reorganizing metadata after the documents are migrated. Reorganizing metadata in an automated manner is also lacking Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool. Along with advanced metadata handling capabilities, Vyapin’s DocKit Migrator also provides features to flatten a folder hierarchy or re-parenting folders.
Replace illegal characters on the fly
The biggest trouble for users when performing migration from file shares to SharePoint Online is when document names contain characters in file shares that are not acceptable to SharePoint. Even though Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool does provide the facility to skip those files and folders from migration it does not provide options to replace or modify illegal characters with SharePoint friendly characters. Vyapin’s DocKit Migrator tool has powerful features to replace illegal characters on the fly using rules.
The ability to break up a migration project to multiple migration tasks at scheduled times is a powerful feature available in Vyapin’s DocKit Migrator, for example, when the migration needs to run during off-peak hours without disturbing production during peak hours. Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool lacks this feature.
Vyapin’s DocKit Migrator handles all Microsoft supported SharePoint platforms (SharePoint Server 2007 / 2010 / 2013 / 2016 and SharePoint Online) as source, whereas Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration tool currently supports only SharePoint 2013 as a source.
Here is a more comprehensive checklist comparing Microsoft’s SharePoint tool and Vyapin’s DocKit Migrator.
SharePoint Migration Tool (by Microsoft)
Vyapin DocKit Migrator
|Copy SharePoint Contents (such as sites, list, webparts, workflows and etc…)|
|Import Files to SharePoint|
|Bulk Metadata Edit|
|Bulk Migration||(only through CSV or JSON file)|
|Running Multiple Instances|
|Schedule your migration|
|Migrate Sites and Subsites|
|Merge Existing Sites|
|Migrate Web Parts|
|Migrate Customized Views and Forms|
|Migrate Quick Launch, Site Navigation (Tree view), Welcome Page|
|Migrate Lists and Libraries|
|Migrate Columns and Content Types|
|Migrate user alerts|
|Migrate SharePoint Documents|
|Migrate Document Sets|
|Copy List Attachments|
|Copy Content Between Lists and Libraries|
|Migrate InfoPath Forms|
|Preserve Version History|
|Preserve Created and Modified information|
|Preserve Approval Status|
|Preserve Web Parts|
|Enrich Metadata through Excel|
|Replace Illegal Characters|
|Filter Content during Migration|
|Flatten Folder hierarchy|
|Preserve Lookup Values|
|Remap Permission Levels|
|Remap Users and Groups||(users only)|
|Auto-Create Terms in Taxonomy|
Import files to SharePoint
|Migrate file system and file shares to SharePoint|
|Preserve File System permissions (NTFS)|
|Assign metadata during the import||(basic metadata only)|
|Map Content Types|
|Map Users and Groups||(users only)|
|Map Permission levels|
|Preserve author and timestamps|
|Save Migration Report to Excel|
|Email support||(FastTrack or paid MS)|
|Phone support||(FastTrack or paid MS)|
|Online Demo / Videos|