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Case Study

File Share Server to SharePoint Online
Client Background

The client is an approved Public Work Authority contractor for traffic signals, general traffic works and traffic data collection.

The client was using physical servers, which were going to crash or overload anytime! This was due to multiple copies that exist on server.

The client was handling 8 TB size of data, documents, and reports on physical server.

The requirement was to perform migration from network files share to SharePoint online before the data get lost.

Hence, they wanted to use migration tool i.e., SPMT or Sharegate to perform smooth migration.

They wanted to create new SharePoint sites collection to migrate all data from file share.

Alif delivered exact solution as per client requirement.



Since the client stored files on- premises, it involved a considerable upfront cost of owning and managing the physical device.

The data grows every day, and they need to make a upfront investment without navigating the actual need of data size.

These are the critical equipment that needs to be running up and down seamlessly.

They were also enabling the warranties for maintaining the servers and other critical physical hardware.



Firstly, the disks and servers required a separate room, eating up considerable junk of real estate. Here they would need to maintain proper room temperature for the devices, making air condition running by 24 by 7 inevitably.

The initial upfront cost of purchasing the hardware could be high, and server require the renewing of warranties which cost more addition in investment for hardware.


Client Requirement-

Data scattered on various servers and multiple copies exist. Very old data needs to be cleaned & archived.

Because of data exists on same location form long time, permissions also need to be cleaned to make sure only required users will have permissions on the data.


We were validated the files and folders on file share server that need to migrate.

Analyzed the users having permission to above folders in file share server and those will be required to add to SharePoint post migration.

We were tested with one small file from file share and migrated it to test site on SharePoint online using SPMT tool.

Solution Delivered

Firstly, we were created SharePoint online communication and team sites as per client’s requirement and folder structure to migrate file server data.

Since Microsoft SharePoint Online is a viable alternative to on-premises storage arrays, the client desired to migrate selected files to the server with the necessary permission levels and user access while keeping in mind the SharePoint threshold cap.

The client’s on-premises file system housed mission-critical data that needed to be transferred to the Office 365 cloud. However, the server contained some legacy records and dead data that the client wanted to have on-premises.

Third-party platforms were used for seamless and on-time project delivery.

For migrations into SharePoint, the team at client decided on a prior migration strategy and proceeded with the implementation by following these three steps:


Ø  Choosing the correct file-sharing method – SPMT or Sharegate.



Few years back Microsoft had announced its in house tool named ‘SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT)’ migrate content from on-premises SharePoint sites to Microsoft 365.

Its free and Migrate your SharePoint Server sites and content to take advantage of the latest collaboration, intelligence, and security solutions in Microsoft 365. The modern experience features in Microsoft SharePoint are designed to be compelling, flexible, and performant.

SPMT supports migration to SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams from

·        SharePoint Server 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019

·        SharePoint Foundation 2010 and 2013

SPMT also supports the migration of workflows from:

·        SharePoint Server 2010 out-of-the-box workflows (OOTB) & designer Workflows.



ShareGate offers organizations a more specialized tool for transitioning from their on-premises file server than Microsoft. Its powerful features can accommodate more diverse needs, simplifying a OneDrive or SharePoint Online migration.


These tools can handle the scalability of a complex and large-scale migration. As a result, businesses can successfully keep their data pristine, with fewer errors or data files pulling a disappearing act. In their new target environment, they can expect to preserve their existing information architecture, permissions, metadata, and file and folder structure.


So, depending on organizations need (cost, data size, permission complexity, data support, licensing, server requirement, etc.) we select either SPMT or Sharegate.



Ø  Assessing the file server and SPMT or Sharegate to determine the data sophistication and how to resolve such complexities creatively.


First, we created an account having the similar access (admin rights) on file share server and SharePoint online tenant.

We will do the server assessment like minimum h/w s/w requirement to install SPMT or ShareGate, available free space to run the migration jobs, folder/file structure analysis on file share server.

Analyze and remove the unwanted data/ redundant files/ file names with special characters and backup the folder/file permission.


Ø  Migrating the necessary SharePoint Online folders with the permissions that were required.


We created the different jobs and scheduled it to run folder wise. We also selected the folder permission to be copied as is to SharePoint online.

Depending upon the file share data for the folders, job would run and migrate the data to SharePoint online.

Post migration can verify the log files and walkthrough the SharePoint online site where data had been migrated.


Also perform the UAT to verify the permission/ data structure for the migrated files/folder on SharePoint online.


Architecture Diagram-


Availability from anywhere-SharePoint offers hybrid and cloud deployment choices, enabling organizations to provide users with data access regardless of location.

Additionally, SharePoint and its related applications are mobile-friendly, further enhancing accessibility. Consequently, SharePoint facilitates on-the-go work for its users, a crucial necessity for fostering efficient collaborations, especially for multinational corporations with a global presence.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, wherein remote work became a ubiquitous practice with employees relocating their workstations to their homes, the imperative for accessibility from any location has emerged as a fundamental need for nearly every organization.

Consequently, SharePoint has unquestionably risen as a contemporary solution that aptly caters to the demands of today’s workplace settings.


Centralized access-SharePoint effectively addresses a common issue encountered in traditional file server environments – the proliferation of duplicate copies of a document scattered across various locations.

It accomplishes this by centralizing document storage, enabling universal access for all users.

Within SharePoint, users can seamlessly engage in activities such as document creation, sharing, and editing without the complications of managing multiple redundant copies of the same document.


In essence, multiple users can access and collaborate on the same document from various locations.


Versioning-SharePoint retains previous document versions even after modifications, ensuring that the latest version remains accessible to all users.

Consequently, it becomes feasible to restore earlier iterations as required, allowing for effortless reversal of any document changes.

This versioning system not only minimizes confusion but also simplifies the process of reverting a document to its prior, unedited state.


Check in/Check out-SharePoint’s Check In/Check Out functionality effectively manages document editing by ensuring orderly access, even when multiple users collaborate on the same file.

This feature guarantees that only one user can edit the document at any given moment.

As users take their turns to edit, it preserves the work contributed by others, ensuring that all users have access to the latest version of the document, inclusive of all collaborative changes.


OneDrive-SharePoint encompasses various elements such as sites, site collections, Groups, and several other components.

Nevertheless, among these components, OneDrive stands out as the sole entity that emulates the functionality of a traditional file server.

OneDrive offers an analogous experience to a file server, but it enhances it with advanced collaboration and sharing capabilities.

Its resemblance lies in its capacity to house files and folders, mirroring the behavior of a conventional file server.

While it’s not the recommended practice, users can create folders and subfolders within OneDrive, much like they would on a file server.

Furthermore, it allows for the direct uploading and downloading of files and folders between the file server and SharePoint.

For a seamless and uninterrupted file transfer experience between file servers and OneDrive, OneDrive can be synchronized with a local system.




SharePoint offers the flexibility to tailor metadata to specific requirements, even accommodating custom metadata.

This enhanced metadata capability in SharePoint simplifies the task of organizing and sorting data.


Powerful search-The search features in SharePoint are more powerful than those in Windows. In Windows, it may take hours to search and find a specific file from its location. But in SharePoint, you can do it in seconds.


Compliance features-SharePoint offers a superior data security environment compared to traditional file servers.


While file servers typically grant users significant control over their data, SharePoint allows for centralized control, enabling administrators to manage access and permissions at higher levels, such as Document Libraries, in alignment with specific job roles and requirements.

As a result, achieving compliance with both regulatory and organizational standards becomes a straightforward process within the SharePoint framework.


Better integration with Microsoft products-SharePoint provides enhanced compatibility with various Microsoft products and services, encompassing Office 365, OneDrive, MS Office, Teams, Yammer, and more.

Additionally, SharePoint offers a cloud-based iteration known as SharePoint Online, which can be utilized independently or as an integral component of Office 365.

Your deployment choices for SharePoint encompass on-premises, cloud-based subscriptions, or hybrid configurations, offering flexibility based on your specific needs.

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