Migration Planning & Strategy Guide

Just learning to do migrations? We’re here to help. Introduction to Migration Planning & Setup is your one-stop resource to building a successful migration plan. 

Each migration scenario has a number of variables: source and destination, migration type, migration size, and complexity. There are several types of licenses you may need to choose between, and certain Advanced Options vary by migration as well. Most of the information in this document is general to all migrations, but where there are specific steps or information, each specific set of information will be clearly marked with the migration type and any information specific to those steps.

Links to corresponding Knowledge Base articles may be provided for additional context. These will automatically open in a separate window. Links to the DeploymentPro, MigrationWiz, or MSPComplete guides may be included to provide FAQs, resources, and introductory guides for products relevant to this strategy.

MigrationWiz supports the capability to share migration projects across a Workgroup. When the Project Sharing feature is turned on, all active agents can view all migration projects.

A Few Things You Should Know

  • Mailboxes can be used during migration. Documents should not be altered, as it may lead to corrupted or missing data.
  • Shutting down a computer will not stop a migration.
  • There is no set time it will take for a migration to complete. It depends on a number of factors, your network connection, both environments, and whether or not you have large items, among other considerations.
  • Items changed at the source after the migration cannot be synced to the destination. We recommend planning the migration to be performed in stages (Pre-Stage migration strategy) or in a single pass (Big Bang strategy) to best accommodate this behavior within your specific scenario. There is more information about these strategies below.

Communication Strategy

A migration is a significant undertaking. To alleviate confusion or lost productivity due to your migration, a solid communication plan is important. This can occur in several steps. It is recommended that you write these emails beforehand to reduce work during the migration. 

Communicating cost, timeline, and expectations of your migration scenario to management and stakeholders is an essential part of any migration. It is recommended that you create a clear timeline and stakeholder communication plan and maintain regular communications with relevant stakeholders as you move through the project.

End user communication will simplify your eventual migration by preparing the users for any tasks or disruptions they might encounter. The samples below are only for reference; the MigrationWiz platform will help you customize official migration emails during the process.

Preliminary Communication

Before you start your migration, it is recommended that you send an email to all affected users. Include information on the reason behind the migration, benefits of the migration, any expected disruption during or after the migration, and a timeline of the migration. It can be useful to set up a calendar event as well.

Upcoming Migration Notification - No Action Required

[User], 

On [DATE], IT will be begin a data migration from [ENVIRONMENT] to [ENVIRONMENT]. There may be delays or data availability disruption during the migration. 

Instructions will be sent at a later date to guide you through any steps you may need to take in the new environment. 

Thank you for your assistance,

[IT Department]

Secondary Communication

Two to three days before your migration, it is recommended that you send out a reminder email. Include a reminder of the timeline, and a list of actions the user may need to perform to conform to company security policies, or to aid in the migration. 

[DATE] Migration Notification - No Action Required

[User], 

This is a reminder that a data migration will occur on [DATE]. There may be delays or data availability disruption during the migration. 

At this time, no action is required. During the migration, you may receive emails from MigrationWiz, the migration tool we are utilizing, with actions required. Your prompt response to these actions is requested to ensure that all data migrates smoothly. 

Thank you for your assistance,

[IT Department]

Pending Migration Communication

During the migration process, MigrationWiz may ask to send a notification email to users to prompt certain actions, such as closing Outlook or granting admin credentials. 

Final Communication

After the migration is complete, send an email with a success notification, as well as any final tips for using or adapting to the destination. These tips will be included as necessary in the Post-Migration Steps section. 

Migration Successful!

[User],

[COMPANY] has successfully migrated from [ENVIRONMENT] to [ENVIRONMENT]. You may now log into the new environment and set up your profile and preferences. 

The following actions or tips may assist you in this process:

[Outlook configuration steps, company policy compliance, etc.]

If you have any difficulties or questions, contact [COMPANY HELP DESK].

Thank you for your assistance. 

[IT Department]

Sample Final Communication

Scoping

Before you begin your migration, you will need to have a clear understanding of the size and complexity it involves. This helps you prepare for licensing, scheduling, and resource allocation.

Questions you will want to ask include:

  • How many users am I migrating?
  • How is my data distributed?
  • How much total data am I moving?
  • How many files am I moving?
  • Do I have any files of unusual size?
  • Who is on my migration management team?
  • Who are my stakeholders and points of contact?

BitTitan offers several assessment resources for your migration. You can utilize DeploymentPro or HealthCheck for Office 365 to check or configure Outlook for your destination.

To manually size your migration, perform the following steps:

  1. Perform a POC. This should include the migration of three (3) larger-sized mailboxes. To perform this POC, follow the steps in the migration guide that matches your scenario. Migration guides can be found here. We recommend that you perform a single Full migration pass, rather than following a Pre-Stage migration strategy. Important: The migration speeds seen during your POC may vary from your actual migration speeds, because many factors, such as available bandwidth and server resources at the time of migration, may be different between migrations. 
  2. After the migration completes, view the statistics for the mailbox and make note of the lower data speed (the lower data speed of the Source or Destination). The lower of the two speeds is the rate in which the migration is moving.  In the example in the table below, the lowest migration speeds are at the Source. Therefore, the average mailbox speed will be the average value of the Source speeds. In the example below, this average speed = 600 MB/hr.

How Much Data? How Many Users?

One of the most frequent questions we get is “How much data can MigrationWiz move?” The answer is “As much as you need it to,” but more granularly, it depends on the amount of data each user has. Four hundred users with 40MB of data will transfer far faster than one user with 4G of data. For these larger users, we recommend breaking the data into smaller files to speed up the migration. Essentially: more smaller users are faster than a few larger users.

Understanding the size of your migration is a key step to success. This is where you will assess the number of users and the amount of data you will need to move. For migrations, licenses are assigned to individual users at the source. For data, only users with owned data are migrated – collaborators with no owned data are not considered in the licensing count.

The amount and size distribution of data will have a significant impact on the speed and complexity of your migration. If you have not assessed your data, our Knowledge Base offers several resources to help you.

Timeline

To build a timeline for your Stakeholders and end users, you will want to have completed the scoping steps. Once you understand the size and complexity of your migration, it is recommended to communicate this to the Stakeholders to allow any concerns or conflicts to arise before launch.

While time and speed will depend on your network speed, server load, throttling, and number of folders, there are some average speeds our users have reported:

  • Low end: 250MB per hr/per user
  • Mid end: 750MB per hr/per user
  • High end: 1.25GB per hr/per user

Migration time

It can be difficult to accurately predict how long a migration will take. Several factors that will have an impact on timing are system load, bandwidth, average item size, and source or destination bottlenecks.​

MigrationWiz is unlikely be the bottleneck, as we are connected to the largest migration farms and we do not throttle data. However, this is a variable process with many moving parts.

Here is a very rough breakdown of what can be expected. Note: This is not an SLA; it is an example based on a very large sample of migration speeds experienced by our Partners.

  • Low end: 250MB per hr/per user
  • Mid end: 750MB per hr/per user
  • High end: 1.25GB per hr/per user

Here are some factors that will affect migration speeds:

 Network Speed:

How fast are the Source and Destination servers connected to the internet? The entire process is only as fast as the slowest link. We've connected to networks that range from a T1 to networks that host multiple gigabit connections, but depending on the data center that the migration server is located in, we will most likely be connected with a gigabit or 10-gigabit connection.

Server Load:

What type of equipment is the Source and Destination mailbox deployed on? Our migration process is not usually noticeable if the server is sized appropriately for your organization.

Throttling:

Does the Source or Destination system throttle the amount of data that can be read or written? Several systems implement throttling policies that prevent full utilization of available network bandwidth.

Number of ​Folders:

Depending on the number of folders and the Source system, enumeration of the folders might slow down the migration process. Read more on this topic in How does folder size impact migration speeds?

Network Latency:

The network latency is dependent on the quality of the connection between our data center and the Source and Destination. We utilize the fastest internet backbones available globally. Because of our global migration farm, our connections are made from networks with low latencies.

Mailbox Migrations

Simultaneous Mailbox Migrations:

MigrationWiz is able to migrate hundreds of thousands of mailboxes simultaneously. Migrating more mailboxes at the same time allows parallel processing, reducing the duration of your migration. If all of your mailboxes are migrated at the same time, the migration duration is the time it takes to migrate the largest mailbox.

Number of Mailbox Items & Mailbox Size:

There is a per-item transaction overhead and time cost. For example, given two mailboxes of the same size but with a different number of items, the one with fewer items will migrate faster than the one with more items.

The more data there is, the longer the migration. When migrating between two hosted providers, the size of the mailbox is unlikely to overload our bandwidth, but some Destinations might have capacity issues. When mailboxes exceed a certain size, speed reduction may occur because of those scalability issues. 

Mailbox Errors:

Errors can occur for a number of reasons: corrupt items, network outages, etc. MigrationWiz contains automated, self-​corrective technology that deals with errors automatically in most cases. For those it does not automatically handle, our Help Center offers resources and guidance. 

Choosing a Migration Style

Beyond the type of migration – Mailbox, Document, Hybrid, Collaboration, Archive – the style of migration should also be considered. The amount of data, your environment, and how quickly your data needs to be available are all things to consider.

Big Bang Migration:

A single pass migration strategy that will move the entire mailbox in one pass after MX records are cutover.
A typical scenario consists in cutting over on a Friday evening and migrating during the weekend.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective.
  • Simplest to implement.

Cons:

  • Migration may potentially not complete in time for various reasons.
    • Users accessing the new system may not have access to all their data when work resumes.
    • Any items created during or after the migration may be missed by a single pass.
    • Downtime may occur for some users if migration fails or takes longer than expected.

Pre-Stage Migration:

A multi-pass migration consists of pre-staging a majority of the data prior to cutover and doing a Full (Delta) Pass after cutover.

Pros:

  • Majority of data is available at time of cutover.
  • Can be started much earlier, while the stages allow for the final migration push to be completed usually in a much shorter timeframe.
  • Can reduce the demand on servers with fewer available resources.

Cons:

  • The final pass will not sync updates, deletes, or moving of previously migrated items.

Quick-Switch Migration

A quick-switch migration consists of pre-staging only the newest emails. New emails are accessible immediately at time of cutover by users and the remaining data is backfilled over time.

Pros:

  • Initial migration is quick.
  • Time between cutover and data availability is short.

Cons:

  • Not all data is available at time of cutover for end users.
  • Requires that the source server be available for a longer time after MX cutover.

Licensing

Licenses are required to run a migration project in MigrationWiz. To obtain license pricing information, or to purchase licenses, click the Purchase button in the top of your MSPComplete or MigrationWiz dashboard.

Payment: We accept credit cards, and wire transfer in certain situations.  

  • When purchasing with a credit card, payment is immediately processed during checkout. If successful, licenses are granted to your account instantly.
  • Wire transfers are available for purchases of 100 or more licenses. If you are purchasing at least 100 licenses, you will be presented an option to purchase via wire transfer during checkout. A wire transfer checkout will generate an invoice with wiring information for your accounts payable department and bank. Once the funds are received by our system, the licenses are granted to your account immediately. 

There are several types of license. When determining which license is required, it is important to remember that licenses are based on the source item type.

MigrationWiz will consume different types of license based on the source item type. Each license type is outlined below.

User Migration Bundle License

These licenses enable migrations of user mailboxes, documents, and in-place archives. It also allows the use of DeploymentPro to perform post-migration Outlook email profile configuration.

  • User Migration Bundle Licenses have unlimited data available per license.
  • User Migration Bundle Licenses are applied to the customer's users and are valid for one year from the time of purchase.
  • Mailbox, Document, Personal Archive, and DeploymentPro projects are all included when using User Migration Bundle Licenses.

Mailbox Migration License

These are an alternative to the User Migration Bundle license when the source item in MigrationWiz is a mailbox.

  • Allows up to 50GB of data to be migrated, per user, and up to 10 passes per user.
  • Mailbox licenses cannot be used when the source is an in-place email Archive mailbox.
  • Mailbox Licenses can be used when the destination is an in-place email Archive Mailbox, as long as the source item is an active mailbox.
  • If you are migrating more than 50GB, purchase enough licenses to cover the total amount of data being migrated, and increase the licensing count within your project's Advanced Options.
  • The mailbox migration license window, under the Purchase button, will display all the current licenses that are available in your account.

Public Folder Migration License

These are required for Public Folder source item migrations.

  • Each license allows up to 10GB of data to be migrated, per item, and up to 10 passes per item.
  • If more than 10GB is being migrated, purchase enough licenses to cover the total amount of data being migrated, and increase the licensing count within your project's Advanced Options.
  • Supported destinations for Public Folder migrations include Public Folders and Shared Mailboxes.

Collaboration Migration License

These are required when migrating Microsoft Teams from Office 365 using MigrationWiz.

  • Each license allows up to 100GB of data to be migrated per license per team.
  • If more than 100GB is being migrated, purchase enough licenses to cover the total amount of data being migrated.  .
  • The Assessment stage of the Collaboration Migration will provide a total number of required licenses.
  • The supported destination for Collaboration migrations is Office 365.

MigrationWiz-Hybrid License

BitTitan Hybrid Management orchestrates migrations between on-premises Exchange servers and Exchange Online in Office 365 by controlling the Hybrid Exchange Module and providing auto-discovery, automated batch creation, and simplified management.

  • Source: On-Premises Exchange 2010+
  • Destination: Microsoft Office 365

To apply User Migration Bundle licenses in MigrationWiz:

  1. Sign in to MigrationWiz at https://migrationwiz.bittitan.com.
    • You can either sign in and make sure to select the MigrationWiz button above the email field or sign into MSPComplete page, then click the All Products button and select MigrationWiz.
  2. Select the correct workgroup on the top of the left navigation pane. This is the workgroup that the customer and migration project were created under. Your account must be part of the workgroup and project sharing must be enabled if the project was not created under your account. For more information see Add and Edit Workgroups and Project Sharing in MigrationWiz.
  3. Click the project that requires licenses to be applied.
  4. Check the box to the left of the email for the user(s) to whom you want to apply a User Migration Bundle license.
  5. Click the More menu (3 stacked lines) at the top of the project page.
  6. Click Apply User Migration Bundle License.

To remove a User Migration Bundle License that has been applied (e.g., to a user who will not be migrated):

  1. Sign in to MigrationWiz at https://migrationwiz.bittitan.com.
    • You can either sign in and make sure to select the MigrationWiz button above the email field or sign into MSPComplete page, then click the All Products button and select MigrationWiz.
  2. Select the correct workgroup on the top of the left navigation pane. This is the workgroup that the customer and migration project were created under. Your account must be part of the workgroup and project sharing must be enabled, if the project was not created under your account. For more information see Add and Edit Workgroups and Project Sharing in MigrationWiz.
  3. Click the project that requires licenses to be removed.
  4. Check the box to the left of the email for the user(s) from whom you want to remove the User Migration Bundle license.
  5. Click the More menu (3 stacked lines) at the top of the project page.
  6. Click Remove licenses.
    Important: The User Migration Bundle License can only be removed if no migration actions have been performed and the license was applied to the user within 24 hours of the removal attempt. If a Verify Credentials or a Trial migration has been run on a user who is not supposed to be included in the project, please contact Support. Licenses will not be removed if data has been migrated in a Pre-Stage or Full migration pass.

For both application options, allow time for the license to process through the system before trying to perform migrations for the newly licensed user accounts. License processing can take up to several minutes.

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