The Third Office 365 & SharePoint 2016 Migration Readiness Pillar: Database Readiness

The Third Office 365 & SharePoint 2016 Migration Readiness Pillar: Database Readiness

By Adam Levithan | June 30, 2016

This is Part 3 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. In Part 2: Network Optimization, we talked about how why network optimization can significantly boost productivity.

All too often, SharePoint owners get so fed up with their existing environment that they feel the only possible solution is to migrate to the latest platform. They convince themselves that all their problems will be solved if they move to a new stack – be that SharePoint 2016 or Office 365.

Now, there’s no doubt that using the latest and greatest tools will give you a lot of additional power. However, if you simply recreate your current environment – with all its broken permissions, disordered lists and libraries and chaotic taxonomy – in the new environment, don’t be surprised if your ‘ghosts’ come back to haunt you.

In today’s post we’ll explore how you can avoid these issues by ensuring your database is ready for migrating to Office 365, and how to avoid replicating your existing problems in the new environment.

A little spring cleaning

We can trace the custom of ‘spring cleaning’ to North America and Northern Europe as a practice performed in the 19th century. In this pre-vacuum cleaner era, March of each year would see the weather beginning to warm up. It was also a good opportunity for people to neatly store or throw out anything that would not be needed through the following seasons.

This same mentality of ‘spring cleaning’ is very useful for your company when migrating to Office 365. As we have eluded to in our other blogs in the series – perfection is in the planning. Moving to the new environment provides you with a great opportunity to reduce your content and get rid of files and other data that you no longer need.

Difficulties to face head on

Throughout this series, we’ve been referring to Lefkada - a fictional management company who were preparing to move to Office 365. For Lefkada, a major issue was that the company had a lot of legacy archives and unhealthy indexes. This was bad because not all On-Premises legacy archive solutions work with Office 365, meaning when, for example, mail was moved to the cloud, it was at risk of running into complications such as needing rehydration fixes, etc.

Lefkada employed a third party tool to assist with these potential issues. But before doing so, they had to carefully and methodically go through an archiving process to evaluate content and make a decision on whether they needed to keep it. It then purged what was not necessary, helping to make its pages more lightweight and easier to migrate.

Reassessment of existing files

Another question Lefkada had to ask was if these files were stored in the best way. The team evaluated this by looking at the files they had stored in SharePoint, and seeing if the size of these individual files meant they were being stored optimally. Something that can easily be missed when evaluating file storage is the version configurations. How many versions of files were being kept? Did they need all of these versions? What they decided to do was archive older files from a certain cut-off point.

Set limits for SQL Server auto-growth

To ensure protection from going over limits in its SharePoint database (SQL Server), Lefkada set its auto growth specifically for its projected content needs. In its default setting, SQL Server will grow and shrink automatically depending on the amount of content it is holding – Lefkada wanted to avoid that.

How ready is your database?

Migration Expert is a precision tool for SharePoint migration planning, dedicated to finding and fixing problems before you begin your migration. This is a powerful tool for understanding your content and how it is currently stored and used, allowing users to:
•  Demystify SharePoint migrations.
•  Find boundaries and limits.
•  Identify migration roadblocks.
•  Free and simple to use.

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.


Adam is a Director of Product Management at Metalogix and a Microsoft MVP advocating for collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technology. Prior to Metalogix, Adam was a Practice Lead for Office 365 in a cutting edge Microsoft Consulting firm where he was responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. Adam is an ongoing member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committee and active speaker at various events.

Written By: Adam Levithan

Leave a Comment

Add new comment