Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Change Doesn’t Always Take Time (Migrating SharePoint)

I have to start this week by telling you how amazed I am at how well Metalogix SharePoint Migration tool is performing on my current SharePoint project.

Regularly readers will know that I have often been doubtful about tools that claim to migrate from SharePoint 2007 to 2010. Well, I was wrong. The latest Metalogix version does really work once you have mastered all the many little switches you can turn on or off and finally managed to connect to both environments using the Metalogix Web Services connector. So it is possible to painlessly transform your SharePoint 2007 system into the new sexier 2010 with it’s jazzy ribbon and overall more powerful features. Without getting some very strange results. Unfortunately for the Villa migrating a whole football team is not so easy. 

Yes, you might have noticed with only one point from three games the Villa are not exactly setting the world alight under new manager Paul Lambert. My phone keeps receiving so called funny jokes at my beloved Villa’s expense; like ‘Villa has just signed Lenny Henry. It is the only way they will be staying in a Premier next season’. But I am not worried because I can see the team is being transformed with nine new players being bedded in and an exciting passing style now being incorporated. It takes time and unlike Metalogix’s Migration software cannot happen overnight.

So why am I suddenly such a great fan of this Migration software? I have found through trial, error and the fast response of their support centre that it is possible to get a near perfect upgraded site. All you do is copy the original site and then paste it where you want on the new 2010 (you can include all subsites in one go) then you sit back and watch as it churns along. Sadly, it doesn’t estimate how much time it is going to take so it is a bit of guess work but normally time to go and make a cup of coffee. At the end you will find some little frustrations at first glance, like the Alerts haven’t come over or the navigation is wrong. But these can be very quickly remedied by copying site again and then choosing ‘Paste Special’. This lets you just copy and paste the Alerts or the Navigation over what you have already copied. Another option that is great is the incremental copy option. So you can migrate all your sites one night and then another night migrate any changes that might have been made to your original sites since migration because somebody didn’t read the email that went out. The software even changes any links to the old system to the new one.

 Perhaps I have made everything sound just a touch too rosy though because even with Metalogix there are a few cons. Firstly, it isn’t a cheap package although we at Office Talk will always try to be the cheapest resellers of it. But it will save you many many man days and a lot of frustrations. That is when you finally get all the settings correctly set and this isn’t easy. The cost is also calculated on how much data you have to migrate. Two important starting points here is to make sure first that that machine you install on in the 2007 is able to browse to the 2010 SharePoint and visa versa. You may well have to tweak the Hosts files to get it to work. Secondly, I recommend installing the management console for Metalogix on the 2010 App server. Then install the Metalogix Web Services Agent on ALL of the 2010 Web Front End Servers. Then also install the Metalogix Web Services Agent on ALL of the 2007 Web Front End Servers and the 2007 App server. When you connect the Web Apps on the Management Console I recommend forcing it to use Metalogix Web Services not to leave it to automatically choose. Oh, one last point is if possible try to have an account that is a Farm Admin in both environments to use to connect with as this will make your job a lot easier. But once you have got all of the above working it really is plain sailing.

So if you want to find out more about this software or even try it out just click here. If only Paul Lambert could try his signings out first. But in Paul Lambert we trust and we just hope he can be the success that he was at Norwich City.

If you do try Metalogix out, or have used it before, please leave me a comment. Also comments on the Villa’s new signings would be good, but please no more relegation jokes, it is only September. I shall leave you with the old favourite. What’s the difference between a triangle and Aston Villa? Answer : A triangle has three points.