Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Q&A on SharePoint Architect from MetaVis Technologies

Below are answers (in my own words and some of my own commentary) I got from a Q&A meeting with MetaVis Technologies on their SharePoint migration tooling called Architect Suite. They recommend their Architect Suite and the questions are answered based on the assumption that is the tool you will be using. However, depending on your needs some of the individual products in that suite can be purchased instead.

Q: What are the limitations of this product

A: The following are not supported:

· Highly customized look and feels

· Copying of assemblies for web parts that are installed. This must be manually BEFORE the content is copied.

· Best to copy solutions to target before copy content.

· Many workflows are not supported, but no clear way to tell.

· Running workflows are not supported.

· Workflow history is not preserved.

· Can on preserve either Workflow Approval Status or Last Modified By, but not both.

· Users must be in both active directories, otherwise the current user will be used.

Q: Are OOTB workflows supported

A: It depends. If there are dependencies or customizations then no. We can try it and see if they work. The copying of workflows is not enabled by default. In most cases they recommend just recreating the workflows.

Q: What happens to workflows that are running?

A: Running workflows are not support. Workflows MUST be completed before they are copied.

Q: Is Workflow history kept?

A: No, no workflow history is kept.

Q: What is the copying of a workflow actually doing?

A: They are getting the xaml for the workflows and then replacing links in them.

Q: Where should I install the Metavis application?

A: The Metavis application should be installed close to the source or target system.

Q: What kind of performance can I expect from this application?

A: 250MB an hour is slow and up to 6GB is the fast. Multithreading is recommended. This varies greatly though based on structure, permissions, location, bandwidth, etc. For example, moving files is fast, but re-creating structure, permissions, etc takes longer.

Q: What is the recommended approach for migrating

A: Make sure all the users that you want to keep history for are in active directory in the source and target.

Make sure all workflows are completed or don't copy workflows.

Enable claims based authentication if needed for Office 354 SharePoint migration.

Use one of the three approaches for copying:

Use the UI provided by Metavis

This has the advantage of requiring no other tooling and is still fairly efficient. Its disadvantage is that you must be present each time new sites need to be selected.

  1. Take advantage of multi-threading.
  2. To do this create the top level sites on the target.
  3. Select a few sites at a time and start the copying.
  4. Repeat step 3 while taking care not to overwhelm any systems. Do this until all sites have been processed.

Script / Schedule the Migration

This has the advantage of being executed again easily and give you more control. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this is you can run with minimal interaction.

  1. Use the Metavis UI to migrate a site, but instead of executing, just generate the script. This script can be used on the command line, windows scheduler, etc.
  2. Copy the script, change the source and destination to match each site you want to migrate
  3. Execute the scripts in a parallel manner while taking care not to overwhelm any systems. Do this until all site have been processed.


This is the easiest because you just select all the sites and let it navigate the tree one site at a time. The downside is that it will take a lot longer to finish a large number of sites because it is only doing it one site at a time instead of in parallel as the other two approaches.

Test workflows that you may have copied. If they don't work, then re-create them.

Once everything is copied to the target have users do UAT to make sure everything is working ok. At this point keep the source system as the production one until UAT has finished. UAT will take some time. Don't expect everything to move over flawlessly, there will be issues in the beginning. Once everything looks good, go back and do an incremental copy from the source to the target system. No you can decommission the source system.

It is NOT recommended that you promise users that the system will be perfect on a given date. Plan to work with end users in UAT to solve issues. Once they have been solved it will be up to the users to start using the new system. This means that if you have a lot of users and sites you will likely have some users on the source system and some on the target system.

Q: Do site groups get copied over and over again

A: No they only get copied once, but there is a performance penalty the first time they are copied.

Q: There are a lot of settings on copy screen, should I just check everything.

A: No, the defaults are typically the best choice. Only change them if you know what they do (use the help icon near each option to better understand).

Q: How can script the migration

A: Use the UI and pretend like you are doing a migration using the UI. Before you get to the Finish / Execute step a button to generate a script will appear. Use that to generate a script you can use as a template for the other sites. You typically just need to change the source and target.

Q: Why aren't alerts copied by default?

A: Alerts are not copied by default, but you can enable them. Be careful though. The reason is that if you copy them when you are copying the site, the copying of the content will trigger alerts (lots of them). You can go back and copy the alerts after everything has been copied or you can leave it up to the end users to sign up for alerts again. Beware of copying alerts before you are sure you will not be doing any more incremental copies. Metavis recommends the later.

Q: How do I import data and metadata from other systems such as Lotus Notes, Alfresco, or even the file system?

A: In all cases, Metavis does not write custom connectors to different products. However, most products can be exported to the file system and the metadata put in CSV format. You can then drag and drop from the file system to the Metavis application. The application then allows you to map the metadata (including folder structure) to SharePoint. You can also map users, permissions, etc at this point.

Q: How can I keep history of users that are no longer with the company?

A: The users MUST be in the source and target active directory. If you are migrating to Office 365 SharePoint just be sure that these users are not assigned a license. You can mark them as disabled as well. Then you can map the usernames using the Metavis application.

Q: Can I expect 100% fidelity of my sites after a copy?

A: No, there are too many customizations that can be done to SharePoint to guarantee full fidelity copying. However, lists, calendars, master pages, permissions, users, groups, and most uncustomized functionality is copied without issue.

Q: Is there a way to compare two sites

A: Yes, the two provides a visual compare of two sites. Permissions can be ignored as well.

Q: In the trial version it is difficult to get my site to transfer all the files, how can I get the entire site copied.

A: The trial version will only copy the first 5 item in a list. You can go back and copy the ones that were missed. You can also use the compare features to see any differences. There are typically some hidden lists as well. If you right-click on lists you can choose to show hidden lists.

Q: Are there any tools to help migrate references in Outlook to SharePoint lists and calendars to the new locations after the migration?

A: Not that I am aware of, but a good place to start is Colligo.

1 comment:

pruitt said...

Hi.... i am william thanks for sharing information on sharepoint.