Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Things to watch on SharePoint migrations

I've recently worked on a larger migration project from SharePoint 2007 to 2013/Office 365.

One of the goals of the initial phase of the project was to establish whether or not the sites could entirely migrate to Office 365 or if an on-premise installation would be required, in conjunction with Office 365. Naturally, the on-premise installation would imply a hybrid scenario and the whole infrastructure overhead that would come with it.

There are an array of tools out there that can collect the majority of information you need on your content: DocAve from AvePoint, Metalogix or ShareGate reports.
These tools can go as deep as report on

  • All features installed by site url
  • Size of sites (GB) 
  • The last time a site has been used
  • Site templates
  • Custom list templates
  • Custom webparts, etc. 
In reality, there is not much need for scripting anything in order to find out exactly what your farm(s) contains and how it is used.

The same names offer migration tools (e.g. Content Matrix) that allow for a very configurable migration at any level (web app, site collection or list level even).

The real challenge are customizations and their portability to SharePoint 2013 or Office 365.
When it comes to customizations, one needs to quickly be able to differentiate between customizations that can be replaced with new SharePoint/365 functionality and customizations that will require more digging around and possible conversations with business users.

Things to watch for that can be easily overlooked:

  • remember un-ghosted forms/pages : not many tools report on this, but you can write a short PS script that will give you the list of those in a farm
  • InfoPath forms - can be migrated nicely, but they have data connections that need to be updated (also via script if necessary)
  • workflows
Possible approaches:
  • work at site collection level OR if you need to go down to site level, make sure you work within the hierarchy of sites! Labeling a particular sub-site without customizations as "migration-ready" may be incorrect if the parent site collection has custom features.
  • Use a data analysis tool like PowerPivot to aggregate all reports. This will be more about making sense of numerous reports, rather than developing the reports. Remember there's tools out there that do this for you!
  1. PowerPivot is a great tool that allows you to aggregate various reports (similarly to a database with relationships and joins)
  2. PowerPivot will allow you to expand/collapse on a hierarchy of sites within site collections
  3. PowerPivot will allow you to slice and dice by custom wsp-s, features, site collection admin, etc.
  4. PowerPivot will make the new IA become evident to you, especially in the case of huge numbers of sites.
  5. And last, but not least, it will give you the final list of sites and their attributes in a CSV/Excel format, so you can take that and "feed" it to any migration tool in an automated manner.
As a result of the slicing and dicing, you will be able to show value to the business users and avoid a hybrid approach.

Have fun migrating!!

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