The Second Office 365 & SharePoint 2016 Migration Readiness Pillar: Network Optimization

The Second Office 365 & SharePoint 2016 Migration Readiness Pillar: Network Optimization

June 17, 2016

This is Part 2 of our migration readiness series. In Part 1: Architecture, we wrote about architecture and making your content as lightweight as possible before making the big move.

A successful migration will do a lot to help your organization increase its productivity – and overall value – by reducing infrastructure costs, IT support and licensing. Forrester, the global research and analysis firm, highlighted what the potential returns were for a company moving to Office 365. A large enterprise would save on average $1.43M on IT support and $2.81M per year by taking advantage of the added mobility functionality. Add to that a 73% reduction in data breaches and you can begin to see why Office 365 is so popular in the enterprise world.

We introduced Lefkada, our (fictional) management company in Part 1; a company that’s successfully made a similar migration. In today’s post, we’ll examine how Lefkada optimized its networks to ensure the move to Office 365 was a success.

The importance of network optimization

Upgrading to the latest SharePoint and hoping to avail of its best features without a fully-firing network will be a frustration. In a data center environment, input/output (I/O), storage connectivity, LAN and data communications are interdependent, and without good functionality between these components the higher the risk of latency and poor performance. SharePoint demands a lot from SQL, and in order to alleviate the conflict between database and user traffic certain steps need to be considered.

Network optimization challenges

The importance of monitoring your network prior to your Office 365 or SharePoint 2016 migration cannot be overstated. Even though moving to the cloud means that your responsibility for maintaining and managing servers is significantly reduced, you should still be keeping an eye on your bandwidth. What you need (and be prepared to have) in place before any sort of move is a strong connection to the cloud – and that includes your offices abroad. If your connection is weak you’re going to face a lot of congestion across the network, which will create unneeded frustration for your employees.

When latency impacts on performance

Latency has a significant impact on performance. Productivity is cut, and employees become exasperated, which in turn has the potential to damage the business value of migrating in the first place. Lefkada certainly wanted to avoid this. It focused on getting the On-Premises network optimized before moving data to the cloud.

How did Lefkada go about this?

The company carried out an assessment phase where it evaluated the current health of its bandwidth and connectivity in both its regional and international locations. IT reviewed various network modelling tools, as well as WAN optimization technology.

SharePoint, by its very size and the nature of its use, means it likely will be the source of a lot of traffic over your network. Knowing this, Lefkada technicians sped up traffic and improve several network performance activities including:

  • Separate user and database traffic by moving to a traffic isolation model.
  • Monitored their existing connections and network in fine grained detail.
  • Looked at the members of their company who were in different parts of the world and tried to assess whether they were places where network latency could slow them down and cause an inability to work.
  • Considered the Microsoft service Azure ExpressRoute to avoid issues.

It pays to bear in mind that Office 365 supports automatic and programmed ways of moving large amounts of content, but speed can sometimes be an issue. Sometimes that can be as low as 1GB per hour – meaning plans need to be made ahead of time to compensate.

Interested in monitoring your network?

Metalogix’s Diagnostic Manager is a purpose-built SharePoint monitoring tool, across network, content, and SQL, that allows your technicians and administrators to spot trouble quickly, so they can respond quickly. There’s no need for lengthy investigations into SharePoint issues – the tool automates notifications for thresholds and other problems, as well as containing historical performance data that can be analyzed smartly.

This kind of tool enables 24/7 monitoring so that your team can be proactive about availability issues that may otherwise disrupt workflows. Users can also configure Office 365 alerts for content growth and changes to service levels; which is a pretty good weapon to have in your arsenal when looking into your task of network optimization and preparing for a company-wide migration to Office 365.

To increase your readiness, read our ‘Five pillars for migration readiness’ series here. And don’t forget to check back for the next post in the series: Database Migration.



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