Office 365 Migration Tips

Much has been written about Office 365 – I won’t attempt to compete with it.  I’d just like to do two things:  offer a brief opinion to throw my hat in the ring and throw out a few practical tips for some very specific use cases.

For starters, my opinion:  Office 365 is pretty impressive.  For a few bucks a user/month, you can scale all the way from simple hosted e-mail for users to full scale hosted e-mail, Lync, Web apps, etc.  Pricing as you scale is very reasonable.   As someone who has led the ground up design of in-house IT infrastructure for mid-size organizations, I can attest to the fact that there is a LOT that goes into setting up and maintaining infrastructure successfully.  Office 365 is ridiculously simple to setup.  If you don’t require heavy integration between your Exchange / SharePoint / Lync and other external systems and don’t have very custom needs for those technologies, Office 365 is a very compelling option.  I can’t speak to uptime and performance at scale from personal experience (there’s many others who can – let me know if you want to get in touch with them) but based on what I’ve seen so far I suspect it’s quite reasonable for many scenarios.

Hosted SharePoint through Office 365 is Microsoft’s answer for DropBox in the business world.   It’s a very common use case to find yourself wanting to host what was previously on your laptop or fileshare within SharePoint document libraries.  That means you’ll be migrating files en masse.

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  • Tip 1:  Explorer View for document libraries is very handy for this, except that performance can be very slow.  Check out this great tip for getting a huge performance boost in many cases. I can’t take any credit beyond Googling for it, but it was a great find for me in my tests.
  • Tip 2:   Quotas for team sites is only 1000 MB.  So even after you purchase more storage, you’ll still run out due to the team site quota.  This is non-obvious without some digging. Don’t forget to adjust the settings.  To change, follow the instructions here.
  • Tip 3: Filenaming conventions that worked well on fileshares don’t work well in SharePoint.  SharePoint doesn’t like the following in filenames: ‘#’, ‘@’ , ‘~’, ‘&’, or “..”  (there are others, too, but those seem to be commonly used ones that can muck things up.)  Luckily, there are a number of free tools to deal with batch renaming.   I tried a couple out and found this one  to be handy in that its: free, easy to install, feature rich, not too complex to get started using.

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January 21, 2013

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