Planning for File Share Migrations to SharePoint
Most file shares have become a dumping ground for content. Metadata is inconsistent, if applied at all. Hardware and maintenance costs are spread out across your various organizations, masking the actual costs. Finding relevant content means knowing exactly where it resides, and having the right permissions to get to it.
As you begin to shape your SharePoint strategy and review your current environment, what are your file share plans? Is your plan to move them as-is and decommission your old systems, or do you first need to factor in a larger plan to clean them up? Are your users driving this process, or is it largely an administrative effort? Have you considered the need to apply metadata as part of this migration so that all of this content folds into your (as yet) defined taxonomy?
As outlined in our free whitepaper ‘11 Strategic Considerations for SharePoint Migration,’ planning for file share migrations should be a critical component of your overall SharePoint migration strategy, as it will allow you to very quickly recognize some of the cost and resource efficiencies of moving to the SharePoint platform.
One of the primary reasons you moved to SharePoint was to consolidate your content under one roof, right? The ability to better organize your content, improve discoverability, and clarify authorship and accessibility by mapping to permissions are some of the strongest value propositions for SharePoint. So why do so many people delay their file share migrations, continuing to maintain two parallel – and typically separate – systems?
One of the primary reasons for delaying a file share migration is that it’s a lot of work. While moving the content itself is not too difficult, much of what resides in a file share needs to be cleaned up, sorted through, and its source, purpose, and business value identified so that you’re not simply moving the problem from one location to another. As with any spring cleaning, migrating your file shares presents an opportunity for users and administrators to clean up document versions, reorganize folder structures, clarify content ownership, and update relevant metadata – all steps which help your data better fit into the SharePoint paradigm.
Users generally have three options:
- Move content, as-is, into SharePoint and clean up there
- Clean and organize content first, then move to a new structure in SharePoint
- Migrate content in waves, using the iterations to sort through and organize your content while in transit, moving some content as-is, reorganizing and transforming others
Which method works best depends on a number of factors: volume of content, number of business owners, complexity of content types and metadata to be applied, and so forth. The key to planning for file share migrations is to:
- Understand what is out there
- Know who owns the content
- Understand the business application/need/value
- Determine whether the content even needs to be moved
- Understand whether it needs to be indexed and searchable
- Know if the folder structure is important, or if it can be simplified (using tags instead of folders)
- Determine if you need to maintain historic metadata and versions
Migrating your file shares is a massive recycling project, but well worth the effort because of the benefits of being on a single platform – SharePoint. If you’d like to learn more about how Axceler support’s file share migrations, check out the echo FileLoader on our website, or join our free file share migration webinar on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 at 10am EST, and see the echo FileLoader in action!