Cloud Computing

Selecting Between Free and Paid Migration Instruments

Microsoft just lately determined to cease providing its free answer for dealing with tenant-to-tenant migrations. Now, customers should buy a $12 license for each mailbox if both of the tenants has an Enterprise Settlement.

Following this coverage replace, in-house IT groups and managed service suppliers are possible trying to perceive how one can choose one of the best migration software for his or her group. With a variety of free and paid options in the marketplace, there are a number of essential components IT leaders ought to take into account when evaluating migration instruments.

Total Person Friendliness

The previous saying “you get what you pay for” undoubtedly applies to the panorama of free and paid information and mailbox migration instruments. Free options usually lack enhanced interfaces and superior automation options that their paid counterparts embody. Against this, paid companies are inclined to have a extra developed person expertise that makes utilizing the software extra intuitive and accessible, with considerate enhancements that may guarantee the method is seamless and fewer time-intensive.

Whereas person expertise may not at all times be top-of-mind as IT workers are contemplating totally different migration options, it’s price noting {that a} software’s ease of use can influence how rapidly an IT skilled grasps the answer’s performance and makes the a lot of the answer’s capabilities.

Standing and Error Reporting

Any IT chief who has carried out a migration is aware of that the method will virtually by no means be completely error-free. IT groups ought to anticipate that issues will come up through the course of. When a migration throws an error, you want dependable and exact reporting to find out the supply of the issue with out having to do a lot digging. Speedy entry to essential information and knowledge is important to a easy and seamless migration that retains the migration on schedule.

The power to slim down a difficulty to the person merchandise degree (particularly when dealing with excessive person counts or environments with strict compliance necessities) is often included in third-party migration options, however might not be obtainable in free alternate options.

Configuration and Execution

Configuring a migration software is only one a part of the general course of. Understanding the legwork concerned within the setup and execution time of free versus paid instruments will help organizations evaluate and distinction totally different first- or third-party options. Conducting a proof-of-concept with a small take a look at group is a good way to seek out out the efficiency and configuration time wanted to finish the migration at scale. Utilizing this testing strategy, the crew can evaluate free and paid instruments to gauge setup and efficiency metrics earlier than committing to 1 software or one other.


The time it takes to finish a migration relies upon on the kind and dimension of knowledge that must be moved, together with different components akin to obtainable bandwidth, throttling and vacation spot setting. Free options is likely to be the fitting selection for smaller, simple migrations that don’t have to deal with a considerable amount of information—normally within the 100-200 seat vary. Complicated or data-heavy migrations will possible be dealt with extra successfully and effectively with a paid software since they’re able to scaling to maintain 1000’s of customers and migrate information from a number of customers without delay.

Free instruments are additionally not geared up to permit a personalized migration strategy, akin to a pre-stage migration. Utilizing a pre-staging strategy emigrate mailboxes is likely one of the most typical strategies of dealing with electronic mail migrations. With pre-staging, a lot of the person information is migrated behind the scenes earlier than the MX report cutover. Pre-staging frees up the bandwidth wanted through the time of cutover and reduces downtime throughout bigger migration tasks. Since first-party options might not help this selection, they won’t be the fitting selection for large-scale migrations.

Whole Value

Free migration options can really feel like a win for the underside line, however it’s essential to be aware of the chance price of the IT crew’s time within the whole price equation. If a free software is used for a extra advanced migration, the method may take vital time to finish and may require deeper troubleshooting if errors happen and IT workers have to dig deep to diagnose the difficulty.

Whereas the answer itself might not include a price ticket, there could also be licensing, {hardware}, and engineering prices that find yourself consuming into the cash “saved” with a free software. Trying past the surface-level prices of free versus paid instruments can reveal hidden prices and hassles that make first-party choices extra hassle than they’re price.

Vendor Help

Having the fitting help all through the migration course of could make or break the undertaking’s success—and ranges of help fluctuate extensively between free and paid migration instruments. Most errors that come up throughout a migration are comparatively innocuous and straightforward to resolve. Within the occasion that one thing goes actually incorrect, having strong help obtainable is important to getting again on observe.

One difficulty with utilizing a first-party migration software is that you just’re tied to a behemoth vendor for assist together with your distinctive migration. Because the vendor is offering a free software, they aren’t going to supply complete help that you just’d get with a paid choice. On high of help limitations, on-line documentation and coaching assets with first-party distributors are sometimes lower than strong too, leaving you with restricted choices for getting the essential aid you want.

Free migration instruments don’t must be prevented altogether, however they in all probability received’t meet the wants of each group or migration undertaking. As IT leaders and MSPs start purchasing for migration options, they need to fastidiously take into account the dimensions and scope of their undertaking and weigh the professionals and cons of selecting a first-party software or whether or not a extra resource-rich third-party choice will go well with their wants greatest. With the fitting migration answer, organizations will save time, cash, assets and entry the reporting and help that might make all of the distinction.

By Stacey Farrar


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