Migrating to SharePoint 2010: Home Makeover MOSS Edition

By Marc Solomon posted 02-03-2011 19:03


It's snowtime ... no, showtime. What I mean is migrating +100 GIG of documents, schematics, and media files from our MOSS production server to our looming SharePoint 2010 launch.

The snow metaphor is an apt post-Groundhog parable to describe the towering piles of content that threaten to punch the collapsing roof through the ground floor of our current house of architecture. What we'd like to do sounds reasonable. We're not expecting a spring thaw but our share of shoveling the walks, heating the stove, and readying the toddies for our ECM users.

But that assumes we're shoveling virginal snows. As WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov notes in the current state of the Boston winter, "Add to that a little motor oil, windshield wiper fluid, some dog poop and you have a toxic mound of snow."

That pretty much sums up our current state too. If we put our content house on the market, the asking price would be...

  1. 113 GIG farm all based in one site collection
  2. Tens of thousands of inconsistently labeled artifacts (some with versioning conflicts)
  3. Excessive number of libraries (+1000 – some bloated, others barren)
  4. Loosely-defined content types (– not always aligned with collection libraries)
  5. All tethered to a delinquent and outdated production version of Active Directory (how's that for a rock-solid governance foundation?)

How do we address this knowing that we have a signed lease but no move-in date for SharePoint 2010? For starters we invite in a caravan of migration tool providers. We just completed a trial with Burlington MA-based Axceler and were impressed with their tool-set and professionalism of their sales engineers. A discover engine in the DaVinci migration tool triggers a set of diagnostics that can be drilled down on to witness underlying ommissions and inconsistencies. A plan and migrate tab models the migration sequence. That said, DaVinci called off its discovery beyond the list property level. A seasoned SQL programmer might have some leverage here.

Bottom line? The not-so-concealed truth is that the tool vendors aim their pitch at IT administrators who track security levels and database sizes. The user experience is not on the console or radar horizons of these shops. "Power-user friendly" is still a distant buzz for these glorified directory add-ons.

I don't mean to be harsh but permission structures be damned. We're still dragging the past sins of the source data and dropping them off to a shinier destination with histories we're forced to relive.

Another option is to use custom developed code to instigate "search and move." This means we have control at the file level to group documents with common properties (metadata values) and then reassemble them as new libraries in SharePoint 2010. Mark Gerow of Fenwick & West is a proponent of this approach. He notes that the cost curve flattens when internal talents can leverage the STSADMIN commands in the SharePoint SDK. (I first interviewed Mark in last year's KMWorld SharePoint Reality series).

Are we still building the wish list? I'll go two steps further:

  1. URL transitioning
    - Swapping out MOSS addresses for new 2010 locations prompted by re-architecting
  2. Auto population of metadata
     - Ensure that single unique ID will trigger accounting details within document properties during upload sequence

Those approaches are intended to service the following core migration goals:

  • Chunking oversized content database into four site collections organized by business use
  • Elimination of individual collaboration and workspaces for account teams and projects
    • Stabilization of root URLs in embedded HTML links so that new SharePoint 2010 addresses don’t sever MOSS
  • True DIY capacity for supporting virtual and distributed consulting staff

Will these goals still be standing when the salt is hosed off the summer streets and the sand trucks are parked at the beach? Hard to say. But I can offer this:

If you were moving your family you wouldn't want a forklift any more than an interior decorator. Perhaps a gentle brute who could cradle the vase that cracks as easily as your stressed-out spouse if you hire the wrong movers. Given the fragile state of our content assets a marriage counselor carries more weight than the industrial strength migration solutions that are ambling up to our loading docks.

That will only change when their next version warms to the home makeover editions happening in our own yards.

#activedirectory #STSADMIN #Migration #SQL #SharePoint #MOSS #Axceler