Microsoft Plans For Customer Data Migration 

FormusPro Review of Microsoft major change update 

Author: Alexander Walters | Software Consultant | Formus Professional Software | March 2020

Have you received a Message Center Major Change Update Notification from Microsoft on moving your core customer data to the United Kingdom?

Microsoft are looking to migrate everyone in the UK*, with data held in a European Union data centre over to a UK data centre in order to allow clients to benefit from in-geo data residency, business continuity, and disaster recovery.

Sample email regarding data migration in Office 365

What Services are Affected?

The affected services are as follows:

  • Exchange Online mailbox content (email body, calendar entries, and the content of email attachments).
  • SharePoint Online site content and the files stored within that site.
  • Files uploaded to OneDrive for Business.
  • Teams chat messages, including private messages, channel messages, and images used in chats
  • Skype for Business (not mentioned in Microsofts original email)

Who's Affected?

*This only affects customers who subscribed to Office 365 or the above applications before September 2016. This is not just customers who subscribed to these services through us but any Microsoft provider or partner.

If you are affected, your services may be migrated independently of each other. However, Microsoft will notify the tenant admin (same person/people who received the original notification) when each service has completed its transfer.

Potential Service Interruptions

Whilst Microsoft move your data around behind the scenes there may be a few things to be aware of.

We would advise that you let your teams know, that if these issues appear, they may be as a result of Microsoft data migration occurring behind the scenes.

Exchange Online

Microsoft are migrating these one mailbox at a time per tenant admin.

If an Outlook user has mailbox folder permissions to another mailbox (folder permissions only, if they have full access to the email account this does not apply) then if Microsoft move the mailbox that contains the folder they have access to, the user will not be able to access the shared folder for the duration of time that the two mailboxes are on separate data centres.

Microsoft are being a little fluffy on delivery deadlines here, quoting the process “can last weeks”.

The solution: The only real way to allow for this is to grant full mailbox permissions. Then users can login to the second mailbox on the new datacentre.

SharePoint Online

If you are using any of the following SharePoint services you may be affected.

This includes the following:

  • One Drive for Business
  • Project Online
  • Project for Office 365
  • Office 365 Video Services
  • Office in a browser
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Visio Pro for Office 365

Microsoft are listing the following effects that will be noticeable after the move has taken place:

  • After the move Videos in any of the above will not be able to be played for an unknown amount of time.
  • Search indexes on migrated data are being started as soon as the Migration starts, any changes to content after that may not be indexed until 48 hours after the Migration is completed and the notification sent to tenant admin.
  • Delve doesn’t include changes that occurred after the migration until crawling picks them up.
  • Popularity and Search Reports for the site: Counts for Excel reports in the new location only include migrated counts and counts from usage reports that have run after we completed moving your SharePoint Online data. Any counts from the interim period are lost and can't be recovered. This period is typically a couple of days. Some customers might experience shorter or longer losses.
  • Video Portal: View counts and statistics for the Video Portal depend on the statistics for Excel Reports, so view counts and statistics for the Video Portal are lost for the same time period as for the Excel reports.
  • eDiscovery: Items that changed during the migration aren't shown until crawling picks up the changes.
  • Data Loss Protection (DLP): Policies aren't enforced on items that change until crawling picks up the changes.


No reported downtime or side effects.

Skype for Business

  • All users will be signed out from Skype for Business client software during the cutover – automatic sign in will reconnect all users within 2 minutes.
  • Tenant Admin TRPS (Tenant Remote PowerShell) will not be available for administrators to create sessions.
  • Tenant administrator LAC (Lync Admin Centre) will not be available for administrators to sign in and change user settings.
  • Meeting data (uploaded presentations, etc.) will not move and will need to be re-uploaded.
  • Older Lync clients, such as the Lync 2010 client and Lync for Mac 2011 client, are known to cache DNS information to the service causing sign-in issues - clearing the DNS cache may be required if the user is not on the latest Skype for Business Windows client.
  • Third-party Audio Conferencing Provider add-on services for Skype for Business are not available for users homed in new geo-specific data centres.
  • Existing customers using a third-party Audio Conferencing Provider service should not request a move to a new geo-specific data centre.
  • New customers deployed into the new geo-specific data centres will need to request a move to a regional data centre to use a third-party Audio Conferencing Provider.

Final note: Microsoft are offering an early migration opt-in.

We would advise that there is no need to take this option. It would appear, that you would not be given a migration date to work toward but instead be migrated behind the scenes sometime before Jan 2022 instead of July 2022.

The added consideration with not taking early migration would be that hopefully, the later your data is migrated the higher the possibility that some of these issues might have been ironed out.

We hope that this helps but if you require more information or support please do get in touch.