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Selecting Between Free and Paid Migration Instruments

Microsoft not too long ago 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 seemingly trying to perceive choose the perfect migration software for his or her group. With a variety of free and paid options in the marketplace, there are a number of necessary elements IT leaders ought to contemplate when evaluating migration instruments.

Total Person Friendliness

The outdated saying “you get what you pay for” positively applies to the panorama of free and paid information and mailbox migration instruments.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 embrace. In contrast, paid companies are inclined to have a extra developed consumer 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 consumer expertise won’t all the time be top-of-mind as IT employees are contemplating totally different migration options, it’s price noting {that a} software’s ease of use can impression how rapidly an IT skilled grasps the answer’s performance and makes the many of the answer’s capabilities.

Standing and Error Reporting

Any IT chief who has performed a migration is aware of that the method will nearly by no means be completely error-free. IT groups ought to anticipate that issues will come up in the course of 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. Fast entry to crucial information and knowledge is important to a easy and seamless migration that retains the migration on schedule.

The power to slender down a problem to the person merchandise degree (particularly when dealing with excessive consumer counts or environments with strict compliance necessities) is often included in third-party migration options, however will not be out there in free 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 may help organizations examine and distinction totally different first- or third-party options. Conducting a proof-of-concept with a small take a look at group is an effective way to seek out out the efficiency and configuration time wanted to finish the migration at scale. Utilizing this testing strategy, the group can examine 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 sort and measurement of knowledge that must be moved, together with different elements corresponding to out there bandwidth, throttling and vacation spot surroundings. Free options could be the correct alternative for smaller, easy migrations that don’t have to deal with a considerable amount of information—often within the 100-200 seat vary. Advanced or data-heavy migrations will seemingly 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 outfitted to permit a custom-made migration strategy, corresponding to a pre-stage migration. Utilizing a pre-staging strategy emigrate mailboxes is likely one of the most typical strategies of dealing with e mail migrations. With pre-staging, many of the consumer information is migrated behind the scenes earlier than the MX report cutover. Pre-staging frees up the bandwidth wanted in the course of the time of cutover and reduces downtime throughout bigger migration initiatives. Since first-party options might not help this feature, they may not be the correct alternative for large-scale migrations.

Complete Value

Free migration options can really feel like a win for the underside line, nevertheless it’s necessary to be aware of the chance price of the IT group’s time within the complete price equation. If a free software is used for a extra complicated migration, the method may take vital time to finish and would possibly require deeper troubleshooting if errors happen and IT employees have to dig deep to diagnose the problem.

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. Wanting 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 Assist

Having the correct help all through the migration course of could make or break the challenge’s success—and ranges of help range extensively between free and paid migration instruments. Most errors that come up throughout a migration are comparatively innocuous and straightforward to unravel. Within the occasion that one thing goes actually flawed, having sturdy help out there is important to getting again on observe.

One subject with utilizing a first-party migration software is that you simply’re tied to a behemoth vendor for assist together with your distinctive migration. For the reason that vendor is offering a free software, they aren’t going to supply complete help that you simply’d get with a paid choice. On high of help limitations, on-line documentation and coaching sources with first-party distributors are sometimes lower than sturdy too, leaving you with restricted choices for getting the crucial enable you to want.

Free migration instruments don’t must be averted altogether, however they in all probability gained’t meet the wants of each group or migration challenge. As IT leaders and MSPs start looking for migration options, they need to fastidiously contemplate the scale and scope of their challenge and weigh the professionals and cons of selecting a first-party software or whether or not a extra resource-rich third-party choice will swimsuit their wants finest. With the correct migration answer, organizations will save time, cash, sources and entry the reporting and help that would make all of the distinction.

By Stacey Farrar

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