Monday, 13 February 2012

Moving to a New SharePoint

This week I am going to try and address the frustrating topic of migrating. No, I am not about the leave the wintry shores of Great Britain, but instead I will be talking about migrating from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010. Although, with the current frustrations of being an Aston Villa fan perhaps a move abroad might not be such a bad idea. Somewhere where every other football manager isn't Scottish.

At Office Talk we have found a huge uptake in the last three months of UK companies deciding it is time to upgrade their SharePoint to 2010. Many of these upgrades have been due to the fact that they are now using Office 2010 and there are a lot more features that they could now use if they had the latest SharePoint. But when it comes to simply upgrading from their existing 2007 environment to the new 2010 one they soon face disappointment. It certainly isn't easy.  Due to extra webparts and applications very few SharePoint 2007 environments remain in an 'out of the box' state. So don't expect it to be anything but painful if you try the upgrade option that comes with 2010 Server. There are packages out there from companies like AvePoint, Quest and Metalogix. All of these I have tried to use and all with limited success which have led to further frustrations. If I had much hair left I would be pulling it out. This is why I am now fully converted to the parallel install approach to migrating SharePoint.

Parallel install means creating a SharePoint 2010 environment along side your existing 2007 one and then moving sites across one at a time. It sounds long winded but it has the added advantage of being a really good time to do some housekeeping. Why would you want to move across hundreds of sites that are not used or were part of projects that have long since been scrapped? This is the time to take a good look at what your SharePoint is being used for, a time to recheck the security, a time to use some of those new clever features of 2010 and a time to see how SharePoint can continue to save your business even more pennies. So there are many good reasons to do a parallel install, but two major downsides.

The first downside is licencing. Having both versions running can mean double the number of SharePoint and SQL licences needed. But don't forget you can run a trial licence of SharePoint 2010 for 180 days. Second downside is that you still have to move a lot of content over to the new environment. Even if you have standard document libraries you still can not move documents straight across because the metadata doesn't come with it. The 'Created By' becomes the IT member of staff who moved them and the 'Created' date becomes today's date for all the documents. This is why a package we have recently discovered at Office Talk has become a personal favourite of us all. The package, that has now been added to Office Talk SharePoint portfolio is 'Sharegate'. A migration tool that for only £700 (for ten users) that labels itself as 'The simplest content migration tool ever!'. Quite a claim but after only ten minutes playing with Sharegate we could see why. So if you are thinking of migrating your content from SharePoint 2007 or even just from network drives and keep the metadata and permissions then try Sharegate out. You could go and buy it from Sharegate themselves or you could visit the Office Talk website. It's up to you but please give it a try and if you are as impressed as we have been then pass the message on.

Here is the link to find out more about Sharegate    

Now, if you have SharePoint Server 2010 now and want to save a few pennies why not pop down to Office Talk where they are having a sale on SharePoint Department Templates You had better get there quick before they have all gone.