Best Practices: Embedded Google Drive Migration

Please note that this article is not valid anymore and under review by our technical team. An update will be soon released: 27/09/2018


  1. Embedded Google Drive migration
    1. Migration order affects destination
    2. File structure vs permissions
    3. The Cloudiway solution
  2. Planning your migration
    1. Plan a general migration path
    2. Run the Get Sites tool
    3. Run the site audit
    4. Run the file audit
    5. Migrate your data

1. Embedded Google Drive Migration

Imagine buying a newspaper and discovering that many of your favorite columns, along with most of the front page, are blank.

Migrating Google Sites and Drives can lead to a similar result if some aspects of migrations are overlooked. For example, where do site migration end and file migration begin? The reality is that they’re intertwined.

As a result, there are several migration strategies for you to choose from. Each strategy leads to different outcomes, so it’s important to choose a strategy that best meets your needs and goals.

1.1. Migration order affects the destination

A Google Drive file displayed on a Google Site can be migrated to either a OneDrive or a SharePoint Site. A file is only migrated once.

If it’s already been migrated to OneDrive, it will not be migrated to SharePoint. If it’s already been migrated to SharePoint, it will not be migrated to OneDrive.

It’s therefore very important that you carefully consider the order of your migration because this will influence the destination for all your data. There are some other important considerations once this is understood.

1.2. File structure vs permissions

Google Drive and OneDrive both provide a shared file area. Google Drive users can move shared files to other private folders within their drive without changing any existing sharing rights. In comparison, if a OneDrive user moves a shared file, any existing sharing rights will be broken and the file will take on the sharing rights of its new parent folder.

During migration, access rights are prioritized over a location, so any shared files which have been organized into other folders within a Google Drive will be bundled together into OneDrive’s ‘Shared with me’ area. This isn’t ideal for Google Drive users who have reorganized files shared with them into folders. It’s also not suitable for a shared folder with files owned by a variety of people; after migration to OneDrive, those files will no longer be grouped together.

For example, before a migration, a Google Drive folder called Project X is shared between three users. Each user can see the folder and its contents in their own Google Drive (Google uses links to the original folder but the user is blissfully unaware and can move the folder to anywhere else in their Google Drive). Each user has placed a document in the folder, which is automatically visible to the other users who have been given access to the folder.

After migration, the documents are split so that the document of each user created is in their private OneDrive area. The shared project documents they don’t own are placed in the special ‘Shared with me ‘ folder within their OneDrive, along with any other unrelated files that have been shared with them. The change in file organization is not always the desired outcome.

One alternative is to move everything to SharePoint, where shared files will remain within their parent folders regardless of owner. Using the example from the diagram above, the project files would be migrated together to a ‘Project X’ folder on SharePoint. However, private folders and files are also migrated to the SharePoint site. This is rarely an ideal solution either.

1.3. The Cloudiway solution

The Cloudiway migration platform is capable of migrating Google Drive files to different targets. A user’s shared files and folders can be migrated to a SharePoint site while private files and folders are migrated to their OneDrive.

This is possible through the use of several tools offered by Cloudiway (the file migration tool and the site migration tool) and carefully planning your migration path. You can use Cloudiway’s file audit tool to identify folders that are heavily shared, then direct their migration to either SharePoint or OneDrive. You have complete control over the destination, and you can change target destinations for individual files and folders. The Cloudiway migration process is, therefore, both easy to automate and flexible to suit your needs.

In addition, Cloudiway can perform file migrations where the destination SharePoint site has already been used to migrate a Google Sites website. No data is overwritten, and no data is duplicated.

2. Planning your migration

We recommend you follow the order of the steps below to ensure an optimal migration:

  1. Plan a migration general migration path
  2. Run the Get Sites tool to create a list of all your existing source sites (if any)
  3. Run the site audit to refine your migration path, if required
  4. Run the file audit to refine your migration path, if required
  5. Migrate your data in the order of your migration path

These steps are covered in more detail below.

2.1. Plan a general migration path

Now that you understand the significance of migration order, file structure and permissions, you’re ready to plan a general migration path.

If you have any Google Sites, we recommend you migrate those first in order to migrate all files associated with the site to the new SharePoint site. You can then choose whether your Google Drive data should be migrated entirely to OneDrives or entirely to SharePoint sites, or a mix of both OneDrives and SharePoint sites.

The Cloudiway file audit can help you decide the details for each user. Some companies may choose to migrate using a different order. We recommend you get in touch via to confirm that your migration order will work as expected prior to starting your migration.

To recap, your plan will likely follow the order:

  1. Migrate Google Sites to SharePoint sites
  2. Migrate any Google Drive data to SharePoint sites
  3. Migrate any remaining Google Drive data to OneDrives

2.2. Run the Get Sites tool

Cloudiway provides a tool that retrieves a list of all sites in your source. Get Sites will find sites accessible from the administrator credentials added to the source connector configuration on the Cloudiway platform.

During a Get Sites request, the tool will:

  • search for sites in the source;
  • connect to each site it finds; and,
  • display the accessible sites in the Site List view of Cloudiway.

The Get Sites tool can be used at any time before a migration. If used more than once, it will add any new sites but it will not delete any sites that no longer exist (they can be manually removed if you wish to keep the migration list tidy).

The Get Sites tool will list the source connector, source site name and source site URL. It will also suggest a target site name and target site collection. You can manually edit these details, assign a target connector and assign a license at any time before migration.

2.3. Run the site audit

Cloudiway’s free site audit tool produces a list of all Google Sites site content — sites, subsites, pages, embedded files and all related content — plus all permissions. This is helpful for establishing exactly what sites already exist, and to determine what needs to be in your migration plan. You can see your audit results on the Cloudiway platform at no cost.

Our consultants can create a more detailed report, which covers site and file volumes, a breakdown of gadgets and which ones can be migrated, a list of Google scripts and their site locations, embedded Google drives and more. We recommend that you engage one of our consultants who will produce this report for you, and provide recommendations prior to your migration to ensure it runs smoothly.

2.4. Run the file audit

Cloudiway’s file audit tool produces a list of files and permissions for each user in the User List area of the Cloudiway File Migration platform. The list displays each user’s entire Google Drive files with details of their location and who they are shared with, and this collection of information is free in text format on the Cloudiway platform.

A Cloudiway consultant can also produce a report from this information so that you can choose where files and folders should be migrated to (SharePoint or OneDrive). The report will be created once you have committed to using the platform.

By default, the full contents of a user’s Google Drive will be migrated to whichever destination you specify. You can manually select files or folders to be migrated to a different destination from the User List area of the Cloudiway platform. Cloudiway’s flexible migration solution, therefore, puts you in complete control of your migration strategy.

2.5. Migrate your data

Migration can begin now that your migration strategy has been fully considered. Cloudiway provides a separate document detailing the technical steps to perform a migration, including the use of the migration tools outlined above.

If you would like further help, please contact us and we can discuss what options are available to ensure a fast, cost-effective and stress-free implementation.

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