How does Google Drive to Microsoft OneDrive with Moderate Mode work?

 

Although Google Drive and OneDrive for Business are both perceived to be user-driven storage systems, they are fundamentally different. Files in Google Drive are stored in a central location and the user interface and folder structure is built on-the-fly, based on the permissions of files and folders.

Note: Scroll down to the bottom of this article to read about two rare use cases, and how MigrationWiz handles these using Moderate Mode.

To help explain this further, assume we have two users: James and John. Both have active Google Drive accounts. The following actions are executed:

  1. John creates a folder Active Directory and puts a Google document Overview under that folder.
  2. John shares the folder Active Directory with James.
  3. James creates a Google spreadsheet, Listing AD Sites, under the directory Active Directory
  4. James creates a subfolder EMEA under Active Directory and creates three Google spreadsheets: IP Overview, IP detail, and IP Specific.
  5. James shares the subfolder EMEA with John.

Note: Bold type stands for a folder created by the user, and regular type stands for a folder shared by the user.

Red stands for a folder or document created by John. Blue is created by James.

 

How will the Google Drives look?

For John:

  • My Drive > Active Directory > Overview
  • My Drive > Active Directory > Listing AD Sites
  • My Drive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Overview
  • My Drive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Detail
  • My Drive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Specific

For James:

  • My Drive > Active Directory > Overview
  • My Drive > Active Directory > Listing AD Sites
  • My Drive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Overview
  • My Drive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Detail
  • My Drive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Specific

OneDrive has a completely different architecture. Every OneDrive is a functional storage on its own. Owners of the OneDrive have administrator rights to change whatever they want in their OneDrive, no matter what the permissions are on the documents and folders. This makes defining which OneDrive folders and files are migrated very important. Unfortunately, there is no one-to-one translation between Google Drive and OneDrive.

When you migrate Google Drive to OneDrive in Moderate Mode, this is the expected behavior:

  • All files created by the user being migrated or shared by other users will be migrated to the user's OneDrive only if they are located inside a folder created by the user. Files created by the user, but located in folders shared by other users, will not be migrated to the user's OneDrive account, but to the OneDrive account of the user that created and shared the folder. Note that the user will have to access those files through the Shared With Me view. Therefore, no folders or files will be left behind in Google Drive, all will be migrated.
  • Every folder shared by other users on top of that folder created by the user will be migrated as well, to avoid confusion and to mimic the structure of Google Drive as closely as possible.
  • Items and folders in "Shared with Me" will not be migrated. Only items in "My Drive" will be migrated. To migrate "Shared with Me" items, they must be added to "My Drive".
  • Permissions are migrated as usual.

When we translate this to our example, this becomes:

For John:

  • John is owner of the folder Active Directory. This means the folder Active Directory and its content goes to John's OneDrive.
 
For James:
  • The folder EMEA is owned by James, so this will be created in James' OneDrive.
  • Also, the folder Active Directory leading up to EMEA will be created.
  • All the files under EMEA will be migrated to James' OneDrive.

 

What do the OneDrives look like?

For John:

  • OneDrive > Active Directory > Overview
  • OneDrive > Active Directory > Listing AD Sites

For James:

  • OneDrive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Overview
  • OneDrive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Detail
  • OneDrive > Active Directory > EMEA > IP Specific

John and James access those files that do not appear under their "My Drive" through the Shared With Me view, because in Google Drive they were under folders created and shared by others, therefore:

For John:

  • Shared With Me > EMEA > IP Overview
  • Shared With Me > EMEA > IP Detail
  • Shared With Me > EMEA > IP Specific

For James:

  • Shared With Me > Active Directory > Overview
  • Shared With Me > Active Directory > Listing AD Sites


How do you activate this mode?

  • Go to the project's Advanced Options and, under Support/Support options, enter this: DocumentBrowsingMode=Moderate.

    Note:
    Advanced Options flags are case-sensitive. Be sure to enter Moderate with a capital "M".
  • The Moderate browsing mode is incompatible with the default mode.
  • If you already started a document migration, and decide to activate this Advanced Option, you will need to:
    • Reset the OneDrive collections of the users,
    • Add this Advanced Option setting to your project, and
    • Remigrate.

 

Explanation of two rare use cases, and how Moderate Mode will handle those scenarios

 

Scenario 1:

How things are set up on Google Drive:

  • John has Folder 1/File 1 and File 2.
  • James creates Folder 1/File 3 under John's Google Drive (not under his own GoogleDrive, and thus it only shows up under his own Google Drive/Shared With Me account).
  • James removes sharing for John, for Folder 1/File 3 under John's Google Drive/Shared With Me account.

Migration Experience:

This scenario will result in Folder 1/File 3 being skipped during migration.

  • When we migrate John, Folder 1/File 3 will not be migrated, because he is not the owner. The reason for this is that when looking for John's files to migrate, the file (while in the folder) is not enumerated because John no longer has access to it because James removed sharing for John to this file.
  • When we migrate James, Folder 1/File 3 will also not be migrated, because James is not officially seen as the owner since Folder 1/File 3 is only under James' Shared With Me folder but not under his main Google Drive directory. This is because when looking for James' files to migrate, the file is not enumerated because it is in his Shared with Me folder versus his My Drive.

    Note: This is a very narrow, special-case scenario. It is only the case when John is not the owner and sharing has been removed with John (sharing == none). In this case, even though the file was in John's My Drive to begin with, and is only accessible to James though his own Shared with Me folder, this file will be skipped during migration.

 

Scenario 2:

How things are set up on Google Drive:

  • John has Folder 1/File 1, File 2, and File 3.
  • John transfers ownership of File 3 to James, but John still has Edit rights to File 3.

Migration Experience:

  • John will have File 1, File 2, and File 3.
  • James will have File 3.

    Note: This will cause duplication on the Destination, since File 3 will be in both John's and James' OD4B accounts.
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