SharePoint Upgrade or Migrate?

SharePoint 2019 Upgrade or Office 365 Migration Q&A

Thanks to everyone who attended the “Upgrade to SharePoint 2019 or Migrate to Office 365” webinar. You can download the materials here:

Here are the questions and answers from the webinar… enjoy!

Can you share this infographic after the webinar – it’s useful

Thanks.  Here’s a link to the SharePoint Upgrade infographic on Gennet.

@Joel – Does the data/tool “Gateway” work with Office365/SP Online as well as SP2019?

The Gateway is designed to provide a mechanism for Flow, PowerApps, etc… to have access to on premise systems including SharePoint 2019.  It’s an infrastructure.

Any recommendations for a method of converting InfoPath based forms to PowerApps in anticipation of InfoPath losing support in 2026? 

Here’s an article that may help you with your Journey:  Transform you Infopath forms to PowerApps.

PowerApps and Flow

Are drag and drop columns only available in office365?  Yes, that arrived as recently as January/February 2019.  Formatted columns is in SharePoint 2019.  You can read more about the modern features in SharePoint 2019 in the TechNet Forums.

But for how long? Unlimited One Drive storage

It goes in stages.  Read this writeup for details on how it works…
OneDrive Storage is unlimited

Can General Networks break use the analysis done by another vendor as the intro to an engagement?

We can start with the analysis.  We’ll still need some time to get familiar with you and your environment, and may need to collect additional information if it wasn’t included in the analysis but it would save some time.

Can search be across domains under single global tenancy?

Sorry no cross tenant search but setting up hybrid on premises including multiple farms and online search is definitely possible.  If you’re asking about multiple geo’s in one tenant, then yes.  Really depends on what you mean by domains.

Can we still develop custom workflow app on SharePoint Online?

Custom workflows online are now built with Flow for the most part, but there are ways of migrating workflows with tools.

Can you go directly from 2010 to Office 365?

Yes, with Third party migration tools.

Can you setup SharePoint Online to be accessible from multiple Microsoft Tenants?

There’s one SharePoint instance per tenant.  There’s no multiple tenants or multiple SharePoint.  It’s a 1:1 relationship.

Do we know what will replace InfoPath?

Forms, Flow and PowerApps

Do you know if SharePoint 2019 server communication site support anonymous? Also, can be created as host name site collection?

I haven’t tested it, but recently the root site collection in Office 365 was enabled to support it.  It’s much easier in on premises to define the root site collection.  With SharePoint 2019 you can configure the sites to use whatever authentication you like. SharePoint 2019 does support host named site collections.

Do you think all the InfoPath form was created at 2013 can migrate to the Office 365. Or we do need to redo it completely?

I have seen it work with very some slight configuration using the tool Sharegate.  I’m sure there are other tools that can help you migrate your forms as workflows as well.  There are a few exceptions:  InfoPath forms that must be deployed via SharePoint Central Admin and approved by an administrator due to managed code are not supported in SharePoint Online / Office 365.  Some data connections may need to be removed or remediated if they are on-premises data sources.  The SMAT tool can be used to identify incompatible InfoPath forms before Migration.

Does Microsoft FastTrack provide services for SharePoint?

Yes, but the SharePoint migration programs with SharePoint to SharePoint are expired and no longer available.

Does Teams integrate just as well with SP 2019 on-prem?

No.  There are not as many integration points.  You can add pages and you can publish your SPFx.

Does the Online Tool Gateway require a separate server or utilize one of the SP servers that would already exist?

It is a separate server.

For a new SharePoint environment should we just go to O365 or is it worth considering 2019 on premise?

If you can, you should migrate to Office 365.  That should be your default choice as that’s where most innovation is going… It’s cloud first.

FYI: Audio loud and clear, Cathy, and we can see Joel’s screen.

General Networks Team is AWESOME !!!

Thanks for the endorsement… 😊

Have you had clients make claims against MS’ SLAs? It seems Office 365 is less reliable than our on-prem environment.

Yes, I encourage it. If you’re beating these numbers that’s great.  If you’re getting higher than 99.97 that’s pretty impressive.

Here are the recent uptime statistics per quarter:

Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
99.99%  99.98%  99.97%  99.98% 
Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
99.99%  99.97%  99.98%  99.99% 

Have you seen any issues with users knowing they have unlimited storage? Meaning – do people abuse that service and overlook content management best practices if storage is not an issue?

Not really.  Most users will never get to their first TB.  In a company of 5000 we never saw anyone store over 4TB.  This is something you can manage and something you can control.  There are gates to continue to increase user storage.  I wrote about it here: OneDrive Storage is unlimited

How about exe files

In SharePoint 2019 you can control the blocked file types.  In online, it’s not very restrictive.

How about user analytics?

SharePoint 2019 has new analytics features, so does Office 365.  It’s still no WebTrends, but if you want to get information on who has viewed a file and how many times, you’re covered.

If we are going to migrate are we able to migrate the customize master page to the new SharePoint 2019 ?

When you upgrade you can keep the sites in classic mode, but you should update your master pages, assuming your current version is SharePoint 2013 or later.  SharePoint 2010 master pages are not compatible with SharePoint 2019 or Office 365, even in classic mode.

if we have licenses for SP 365 online can we use them also as a cals for in promise at the same time if we have two environments

Licensing is different for Office 365 from Server and CAL.  You can read more about SharePoint Licensing on Microsoft’s site.

If you have SPO and SP2016 in a DC or Azure, can search work across that? 

Yes, you can setup hybrid crawler with either of those configurations.

If your primary goal is file sharing/versioning is it better to just use Teams or use SharePoint without Teams?

Typical file sharing scenarios are better with straight up SharePoint, but if you’re sharing files across a team the Teams interface is great.  Really depends on the team.

Is Microsoft planning to do any Feature Packs like they did for SP 2016, to bring new features to on-prem SharePoint?

No announcements have been made related to “feature packs” as of 5/16/19

Is O365 SP 2019 or do you have the option of 2016 or 2019?

Office 365 SharePoint Online is a moving target and beyond SharePoint 2019.   In fact it’s more like SharePoint 2019 is a product born from the Office 365 SharePoint Online back from 2018.

Is the SP2013 ribbon gone?

Yes, modern has a different library user experience.

iI there a way to setup take advantage of a hybrid environment (SP Online and SP on prem) so as to minimize data stored online and therefore cost?

SharePoint Online isn’t expensive storage, but the storage is based on the site collection… there’s no stretching a site across both environments or pointing the storage at one or the other.

Most important one should be SharePoint Online does not support anonymous site. This is the hard limit there is no way to overcome. We do have quite a few anonymous publishing sites on SharePoint 2013.

OneDrive Mac using the thin sync yet?  OneDrive Mac does have availability of the Next Generation Sync Client for the latest MAC OS.  I’m not sure what you mean by thin sync.

We are in SharePoint 2010, is it good to do an upgrade or migrate the content directly to SP2019?

That would be my recommendation.  You’d need to use a third party tool to accomplish it.

We are on SharePoint 2013 and planning to migrate to O365. My question, is it better to upgrade SharePoint 2013 to 2019 and do Hybrid or setup hybrid sp2013 and later plan for 2019 upgrade?

It’s better to migrate directly to Office 365.  There is no advantage in migrating to 2019 then trying to migrate online.

What are some bigger issues with going to Office 365? We have nintex for running workflows, which connect to other local resources on site such as SQL Server databases, shares, and what not. Do you see any issues with those and referencing locally? I understand that Nintex may have some licensing issues moving to 365, but aside from that are there any gotchas that you know of?

The good news is Nintex has a good story for Office 365. Nintex partners with ShareGate for migration of Nintex workflows from SharePoint Server to SharePoint Online.  Any data sources that are referenced on-premise will need to be configured for external access for the Nintex workflows to retain access.

What do you prefer for long terms better with Office 365 or Sharepoint 2019 and then have to migrate again 2022?

I do recommend Office 365 as the more future proof solution to minimize upgrades in the future.

what is an estimate cost for such assessment and roadmap planning engagement

Roughly between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the size and complexity of your environment. We are offering a special Webinar rate:  contact Cathy, and use code: May16

What is the compelling reason to stay on prem on 2019

I covered this in the session.  I’d recommend referring to that slide, but the gist of it is your ability to own the environment from end to end.

What kind of customizations would cause an application to not be a good candidate for O365?

Server assemblies, code behind InfoPath forms, and sandbox solutions.  Most things can easily be re-written and many will migrate.

When you say Exchange, does this need to be Exchange in the cloud?

No.  The alerts and groups may be a little strange if all email is on premises, but you can work around it.

When/where will the SharePoint upgrade business case slides be available?

They are already uploaded to at

Where is GNC offices?

Our main office is in Glendale, California

Who managed Office 365? We have teams for Exchange, SharePoint, AD, Group Policy, etc. Microsoft is pushing people to teams with sites, groups, mailboxes, etc. Who administers this?

Microsoft Manages the various servers/services.  Office 365 includes an Administrator portal for different roles, such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, etc. where your IT can manage configurable settings on the service.

Will Hub site be available in 2019?

Unfortunately No.

Will automated transcription of audio/video files be available in 2019?

It is an Office 365 feature.  There may be some capabilities if you can integrate with Flow. 

Will custom 2013 .wsp solutions run in O365 and 2019 on-prem?

WSPs are note supported in Office 365.  You’ll need to do testing, but yes, one of the reasons people may choose to stay on premises is they can continue to use WSP solution files in SharePoint 2019. 

With SharePoint 2019, there is improved Flow, PowerApps and Power BI Integration. Does a customer needs O365 in order to use Flow / PowerApps on SP2019?

Yes. Flow, PowerApps, and so on can be integrated with the Gateway infrastructure.  There is licensing that you’ll need to use these tools.  The tools have different licensing based on which tool features and so on.

Bloggers, Klout, Influence, and the power of Networks

Last week I went to a “Utah bloggers” event.  It first surprised me to see 90% women, didn’t bother me, just surprised me.  Then I went on to find I was the only technical blogger there.  All were mommy bloggers, food bloggers, hair bloggers, and DIY bloggers and on and on.  It was amazing to see that really as opposite ends of the world there was something common in terms of how bloggers can have influence, and how brands look to bloggers for awareness and PR.  In my last post I brought up the question: “Should Bloggers and Influencers Make Money from Posts and Tweets?” I did expect to see more of a discussion.  Guess everyone is already convinced that, hey it’s your blog… do what you want.  People are influenced by what they read and influenced by their peers.  I think it has a lot to do with who we follow and who we trust.

I’ve had a unique opportunity in the SharePoint world to work for Microsoft, a Vendor and now a customer.

When I was in Microsoft IT, there were times when we’d approach a vendor to find out how we’d address given issues.  We had a special relationship with the product team where we could always ask them for things, which is what they would want, but depending on the amount of pain we were going through, we’d either consider off the shelf or build it ourselves to bridge the gap, and times where the product team would say they had no plans to address our need.

Next when I was in the product team, I spent a lot of time with customers and vendors and listened as they described things they wanted fixed.  We had discussions about whether or not we could fit in these features.  When we knew we wouldn’t be able to address them, we’d reach out to vendors with specialties and or capability for delivering.

Next in my move out to the field, and landing at a vendor.  The experience was now analyzing what customers needs were, Microsoft’s gaps, and then figuring out if people were willing to pay.  Beyond that there was figuring out if the need was more than one vocal customer, but seeing if the cost to build could be justified.  This struggle is a tough one.  Once a solution is delivered there’s another problem.  How to you reach the person looking for the solution?  Also how do you tell the story that describes the problem or challenge that resulted in a solution.

As a blogger, I was interested in helping out the vendor that was looking to connect with his audience.  When I first started looking at google ads I noticed there was a lot of what I’d consider SharePoint pornography or anti-SharePoint content.  There was simply bad analysis that was exposed by google ads.  There was junk whitepapers that would simply bash SharePoint and try to sell a competitor tool.  Frustrated by what google was doing in their ads exposed by people in our community I looked around at a vendor hall one day I thought, there has to be a way that we could connect bloggers with the vendors.  In sharing my dilemna with Inna Gordin, an entrepreneurial spirit with marketing skills who understood the problem as I did.  She had a vision of how we could build the platform that would connect these publishers with vendors. was born out of this. was born out of the need for awareness as well.  Leveraging social media features with focus on ratings and reviews.

I’m now looking at opportunity with the advancements in social media.  Ads themselves give some level of awareness, but don’t give the full story.  While it may contain a line of text presenting up a problem or opportunity.

I would suggest that we comparatively build a very serious network in our community.  The penetration of facebook, twitter, and linked In. The most passionate dedicated SharePoint people are very well connected across the globe.  This network building happens online and in events, and gets built and happens across the social networks.  The pages of our online book and collective conscience is captured on blogs and in the status of microblogs.

In a recent Sharing the Point tour where we sat down with the Filipinos.  In an on the spot exercise I went around the room asking each of the local SharePoint experts what their names where fascinating things happened.  Despite the fact that I had never stepped foot in the Philippines, we had people in common that we knew, many of them were from Malaysia and Singapore.  This exercise in discovery helped us understand the world is smaller than we knew.

With Facebook, twitter, and linked in it was amazing how we could spread messages around the globe through our networks and help reach even those only connected with local people.   

In the SharePoint world there are people with clout, but we’ll refer to that as Klout which is a tool which tries to represent a score that provides a number to describe the reach and influence of an individual.  There are a few hundred individuals that have very serious influence in our community.  Efforts by Global 360 produced an Influencer 50.  Many looked at that list and realized that that was too small, or questioned the algorithm or methods used to calculate it.  Microsoft has it’s own list based on some formula of newsgroups and community work.  In addition, they’ve put together some of their own charts around the influencers in twitter, facebook, and in the blogsphere.  There are hundreds that have significant influence in the SharePoint community across social networks, blogs, and as speakers and writers.

Rather than simply trying to create the hierarchy of the influencer 50 or 100, or 1000, I am interested in putting together a bloggers and influencers network.  People who are interested in working together on topics and conferences and events, and yes ultimately reaching out to the vendors and even Microsoft.

SharePoint Bloggers and Influencers

Real World Upgrade: What We Learned Last Week

Real world is always more raw and has so many more variables. I think we’ll continue to learn always… not matter how many tests you do.

Even after doing a test upgrade 2 weeks prior. Engineering completed an upgrade and here’s what we saw:

  1. Plan on Doing Visual Upgrade Soon – Sites that were binary upgraded all new sites created underneath existing non visually upgraded sites where in the 2010 look and feel. Yes all new sites were 2010, but also all new webs were as well. Some of these new webs underneath sites that were not visually upgraded had issues with list creation. You could go directly to the create page if you knew the URL, but otherwise it would hang. Work around was to upgrade the root site collection. We weren’t ready to do this due to a custom look and feel.
  2. Workflows can be problematic especially if they have Fab 40 dependencies – We had a number of sites that had problems with workflows. Apparently we had some small bits of an application template that were dependencies. A list definition from a custom site definition in one of the app templates was being used. Yeah, I very upset at those app templates, more because I’m the admin and don’t see the value in them, but also because due to MS not supporting them in SharePoint 2010 we have concerns about supportability. Yes, Kahlil rocks and it’s great he upgraded the Fabulous 40 all those for the rest of us, but it hasn’t been very clean, and I now don’t consider these sites "vanilla." This was supposed to be an easy upgrade of some out of the box sites. I had been saying I didn’t think we needed a third party tool since we just had out of the box sites. Now I’m saying I need a script to track down customizations to a greater detail than test-spcontentdatabase. I sure wish either preupgradecheck or test-spcontentdatabase would actually identify the site collection that’s impacted due to the custom site def or feature, so we could plan on using third party migration tools like Quests Migration Manager for post migration sync, or Metalogix Migration Manager for SharePoint for site migration and workflows or AvePoint’s free 100GB of data deal. Something that will make getting out of these customizations. We were hoping to simply attach these databases and simply ignore the errors. This was a big mistake. While the data looks fine there are a lot of issues underneath with dependencies such as list templates, workflows and so on that apparently break if those features aren’t in place. Those features being specific app 40 templates. Now we’re looking differently at ensuring on the 2007 side things are nice and clean with 0 errors related to missing features. I’ve been stressing that we shouldn’t be getting any upgrade errors or warnings if we’ve actually prepared our databases correctly. We’re looking at separating those site collections that have app 40 templates into a "chocolate farm" separate from our vanilla farm. I think this is a good start to keeping a clean environment and may need to start some type of charge back for those that need application functionality.
  3. Some Excel Webparts ended up slower, but we think this is due to the number of cells we are publishing. We’ve built our own Gantt charts into excel that are data driven and displayed as colored cells. Hence each webpart is rendering thousands of cells. Not sure how we’re going to optimize these webparts since they were faster to render in 2007.
  4. Microsoft support – If you have a Sev A. You do get Microsoft’s attention. We went through a lot of engineers. If you request you can have a dedicated PFE if you’re a large enough customer and actually have them handle the relationship on tickets. We were having an issue with timely returns with lower priority tickets, and Sev A is expensive. So we plan to have MCS or PFE resources lined up this next time we do a big upgrade.

More lessons to come…

Track SharePoint 2010 Installations Across the Enterprise

Did you know that built right into SharePoint 2010 during installation there’s a little check to look for a container in AD and if it exists then add the server? In fact you could create an AD Group Policy to block SharePoint installs! By default nothing more than a warning happens in the installation log and most people will ignore it and move on. Others will be a little confused and say, why is SharePoint trying to access an object in AD. What is this service connection point in Active Directory? I didn’t know I should extend my Active Directory schema for SharePoint. Again, by default you don’t have to extend the AD schema, but are there any benefits by doing so. I see three key scenarios here you can take advantage of all fairly straight forward with the right support from your AD team. (You know they already love you from your User Profile Service meetings.)

  1. I want to track installations of SharePoint 2010 – You’ll simply create the "Microsoft SharePoint Products" under the system container for the service connection point (SCP) . Write does have to exist for those installing SharePoint servers to actually get the SCP created. If they don’t they’ll get an installation warning and move on. See the resources below on the how to details for configuring this.

    See Jie Li put together a script in the Script Center for listing all the SharePoint 2010 server names

  2. I want to BLOCK new installations of SharePoint 2010 including SharePoint Foundation – Since pretty much anyone can install SharePoint Foundation and run it under their desk, you might want to actually block the installation. Of course this would be the plan for someone trying to keep only the managed SharePoint farms on the radar and avoid the rogue deployments.

  3. I want to control who can install SharePoint in the enterprise to a limited group – I remember discussing this need with the SharePoint product team… "For governance reasons we should be able to control who can install SharePoint." We went on to explain… "we don’t want it popping up everywhere" because people assume we won’t support their app. We want them to engage us. You can do that too! Here you’ll create an ADM policy or GPO with Disableinstall=1 filtered by the security group. Mark Cresswell goes into great detail including links to sample ADM/ADMX files.

Now you’re asking. Why didn’t I see this in the documentation before I installed my first SharePoint box? One option is running discovery… Consider a free demo of Quest’s Site Adminstrator to help you locate the SharePoint boxes in your enterprise. There have been a number of scanning tools I’ve used over time, but make sure you’re network admin knows before you start a port scan. I say that from personal experience. It looks nasty to a network admin and could be grounds for dismissal.

Key references on the *HOW TO* on configuring:

Mark Cresswell –SharePoint 2010 brings new Governance controls to IT Pro’s

Jie Li Track SharePoint 2010 Installations by Service Connection Point

SharePoint Joel: New Chapter – Focus on the Family

Three years ago this month, I announced my resignation from Microsoft and my intention to carry on my evangelist and community activities in the field.  Today I turn that page, and announce the next chapter in my career.

I’ve had a great time with Quest Software.  It started with a conversation where I explained what I wanted to do with travel, events, blogging and community, and Quest saying… "That’s what we want too!"

I was looking for flexibility and created a vision for what I wanted to do based on gathering the best of what I heard in speaker lounges at TechEd’s around the world.  Ultimately I got some amazing flexibility to support my efforts of blogging, speaking, and community engagement with a global customer base.

My Quest travel stats included 300 days of travel the last two years with 450,000 miles logged across 77 separate trips.  That’s over 550,000 miles since I left Microsoft.

While my kids have been able to benefit from the travel part including joining me on a few of my trips, I realized they were also getting the short side of the stick.  Not being home for band concerts, soccer games, birthdays, and such I have really been feeling it.  My wife and kids haven’t been able to rely on me for much.  I’m definitely ready to change that.

I’ve been blessed with a good job… and the support I get from the community has been incredible as I’ve been able to travel around the world literally reaching out to people and places that I could only dreamed of.  Memorable trips include the trip to Peru, visiting a community I had little to no contact with.  Jordan, Israel, Dubai, and Palestine where I’d find a whole world of people with passions and complexity worthy of all the time I could give them and more. India, Malaysia, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore another region busting with potential and fascinating cultures.  My trips to Africa have all been met with passionate SharePoint people and adventures galore.  From Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Norway, Amsterdam, and more… Haven’t been let down by the community.  In fact I’m fitting in a family trip to Egypt prior to the move date, so my family can experience what I did. Looks like the SharePoint User group x2 will be April 9th in Cairo. Details to come.

I wasn’t really counting how many places I had been until I met Michael Noel.  Sure I had the "where I’ve been" map on facebook, but it was when Michael discovered the Travelers Century Club that the two of us decided that we would set a goal to visit 100 countries.  (Yep, he beat me to 100, he passed it on this last trip and I’m sitting at the last mile at around 96 with the last few on the calendar.) My aspirations for visiting new communities, new cultures, and breaking down the barriers of language, distance and isolation became real goals.  Our recent Sharing the Point tour in Asia really represented that desire to reach to emerging markets that otherwise get neglected.  It’s allowed us to focus.

What’s Next

It started with a job interview a couple of years ago.  I met this great team of SharePoint folks who had a vision for what they wanted to build and they thought I’d be someone who could build the team.  At the time I wasn’t ready to give up the flexibility, and was worried about the move and what we’d do with the house.

Since that time I’ve had a lot of time to think about working for a nonprofit and what it would mean to me and my family to go to the more of a 9-5 job and see me for breakfast and dinner everyday.  As well, looking at my career aspirations I decided I wanted to be a CIO when I grew up.  Looking at what I need to do next I realized business, and deeper management experience.  This nonprofit has 50,000 employees and already has 2TB+ of SharePoint content, and a SharePoint 2010 portal and plans to take advantage of Fast.

The role I’ll be taking on is a solutions management role who own the vision for how SharePoint and other collaboration solutions will be used across the company.  Having had a recent restructuring the IT department itself has been redesigned with empowerment in mind.  These solution focused roles really fit well with what SharePoint has been lacking in many corporations.  The vision, mission, and the ability to look at addressing problems rather than a focus on the technology.

For me what this means is less travel, a family focus, a focus back on the fundamentals of management, business, and problem solving at the business level.  I’ll be a manager, managing people, but also helping understand the various business units needs and addressing these with the technology roadmap.

Why am I doing this?

  1. More quality time with Virginia, Dean, Scott, and Jared (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
  2. Next step in my career, focusing on developing my management and business skills
  3. Finding Purpose and giving back. I’m very excited to seeing and influencing how SharePoint and collaboration technology will be used to solve real problems including things like assisting in improving people’s life’s, human welfare and disaster situations.

Find me on my blog

On the social media and marketing side, this means I will be returning to a normal life of working at a customer.  My speaking will be limited to once a quarter events supported by the non profit by allowing time off to speak.  So I definitely will be cutting down the travel, but I will continue blogging on and to simplify my life… I will no longer be running the channel on  The best place to find me will continue to be here and at few select events around the globe.


My start date is April 25.  Between now and then I hope to see you at SharePoint Best Practices Conference if you’re in Europe, and at TEC SharePoint Conference if you’re in the U.S!

More on the new job coming soon…