Before we begin describing methods that can be used to improve migration and backup performance, it is important to briefly understand the architecture of the Essentials for Office 365 solution.
Firstly, the solution is a client side application which means that it needs to be installed to either a physical or virtual computer to run. From this host computer, all operations will be performed and all data will pass through. Think of the software as sitting between your source and destination locations, whether that be an on premise SharePoint you are migrating to SharePoint Online or a OneDrive for Business site in Office 365 that is being backed up to Azure storage.
The diagram below provides a basic example of how Essentials for Office 365 communicates. This simple example places the software between source and destination and highlights the data flow during a migration or backup operation.
As we will discuss a little later, any obstacles or hurdles that sit in the process of this data flow (load balancers, firewalls, antivirus scanners, VPN, etc.) may have a negative impact on throughput. Wherever and whenever possible, we want to establish a path of least resistance.
To summarize, the typical deployment of Essentials for Office 365 is to install it on a host machine that sits between source and destination, allow the source data to pass through this host on its journey to the target. Now, lets begin to explore if this typical deployment is the optimal deployment to maximize performance.