Public Folders to Office 365 groups, anyone?

Just recently, the Microsoft Exchange Team reached out to the public again asking if partners or customers out there are interested in moving from the well known ancient Exchange Public Folders (and yes they can be modern or legacy) to the new Office 365 groups.

In the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog they state that the main focus will for now be to migrate mail and calendar items, but they do leave the “door open” to future support to be extended to other item types. How awesome would it be to convert Public Folder posts into OneNote in the Office 365 groups, right? 🙂

As a final note, they also state that, this will be focused in source Public Folders that can be on-premises or in Office 365.

Now before we look at all migration (and in some cases conversion) options, lets look at all the item types that you can have in when you create a Public Folder:

  • Mail and Post
  • Calendar
  • Contact
  • Note
  • Tasks
  • Journal
  • InfoPath forms
  • Documents

So what can you move to Office 365 groups and how? Ideally you would migrate mails and calendars into the Office 365 group mailbox, documents into the Office 365 group document library and Posts into OneNote. That I’d say would cover a huge percentage of the Public Folder usage we have out there today, don’t you agree? Hopefully if you’re reading this post, and thinking on doing the conversion from Public Folders to Office 365 groups, the Public Folder usage of your organization is focused in mail, calendars, contacts, posts and documents.

So now your question might be: is there any option out there that can migrate at least part of this content, from Public folders to Office 365 groups? And the answer is YES!

BitTitan MigrationWiz will help you do the following migrate from Public Folders (Exchange 2007+ on premises or Exchange Online) into Office 365 groups. Not all content will be moved, due to limitations in the EWS API, currently used by MigrationWiz to migrate Public Folders as a source, but here’s what you should expect:

  • Emails get migrated from mail enabled Public Folders into the Office 365 group mailbox. They will show in the conversation section.
  • Posts get migrated from Public Folders into the Office 365 group mailbox (attachments included). They will show in the conversation section.
  • Calendar items get migrated from the Public Folder calendar into the Office 365 group mailbox calendar.
  • Office 365 groups do not have a way of showing shared contacts and tasks, therefore you should not try and migrate them.
  • Documents do not get migrated from Public Folders to the Office 365 group SharePoint library.

Migrating data between different systems (Public Folders vs Office 365 groups) is not all about the question “Can the data be migrated or not?”. A good example is what I highlighted above about the tasks and contacts, why?

  1. MigrationWiz can migrate the tasks and the contacts
  2. The tasks and the contacts, after being migrated, will show up in the statistics of the mailbox (that you can extract via PowerShell)
  3. The design of the Office 365 groups won’t allow your users to see those tasks and contacts in any of the clients where you can use to access the groups
  4. That makes migrating contacts and tasks a pointless exercise

Finally some high level tasks on how to perform the migration:

  1. Create MigrationWiz Public Folder project
  2. Edit the advanced options a change the destination to shared mailbox
  3. add in the advanced support options: RemoveFilterBasedOnFolderType=1
  4. Add one line item per item type: One for email and one for calendars
  5. Add folder mapping to each line item to map the items into the correct folder in the destination (i.e FolderMapping=”^.*$->Calendar”)

Like stated in the disclaimer below, BitTitan does not have currently a migration guide for this scenario. If you want more detailed steps please leave a comment and I will reach out.

Disclaimer: To migrate from Public Folders to Office 365 groups I used the BitTitan feature of migration from Public Folders to Shared mailboxes. Technically an Office 365 group has a mailbox in many ways similar to a shared mailbox, but with some differences.

BitTitan does not have a migration guide nor it states (at the day and time that this blog was written) that it supports the migration from Public Folders to Office 365 groups.

This blog post was written after careful testing and verification and the migration worked without any issues. If you are interested in using MigrationWiz to migrate from Public Folders to Office 365 groups I highly recommend that you contact BitTitan and engage in a POC (proof of concept).

As always, any comments are welcomed and let me know how that migration went.

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