Understand Your SharePoint Customizations Before Migrating
One of the most critical aspects of SharePoint migration planning is identifying the customizations on your source system, and making decisions around whether to update, migrate as-is, or retire them from your plans. Customizations will have a direct impact on the success of your SharePoint migration.
Think about migration as an opportunity to clean up, renew, and re-architect your environment. Take the time to understand what is on your system beforehand and develop a migration plan. Going into your SharePoint migration without a strategy (and thorough discovery process) is a sure-fire way to extend your migration project schedule. For more guidance on migration planning, I recommend you review the free whitepaper ’11 Strategic Considerations for SharePoint Migration.’
The customizations you should be looking for on your source system include:
- Custom UI design
- Web parts
- Line of business application integrations
- Installation directory
- 3rd party tools
- Custom features
- Custom solutions
- Custom themes
- IIS customizations
- 3rd party or custom controls
- 12 hive-sitedef
- Site definitions
- Field types
- Event receivers
- HTTP handlers
- GAC (global access cache)
- Any changes to the file system, period
As you build out your SharePoint migration strategy, here are some things to consider:
- Employ Your Governance Model.
A solid governance model is your first line of defense. Use it. Be proactive now to reduce your headaches later. Stay organized and on top of what is happening within your system as best you can. Enforce policies, and try to get admins and team to document their customizations as part of your discovery and system analysis.
- Talk to your SharePoint Site and Site Collection Admins.
Have a clear picture of what they want the future environment to look like. The customizations in place today may be available out-of-the-box in 2010, so understand the business drivers behind the current system. Your admin requirements may paint a very different picture of what is in place today (which could be good or bad). Understand requirements, investigate unsupported development, and document what you find. (Also - be wary of most designs created entirely using SPDesigner, as it sometimes does "interesting" things to your code that make it difficult to migrate)
- Run ReadyPoint.
ReadyPoint is a free tool from Axceler that scans your SharePoint 2007 environment to tell you how ready you are to upgrade to SharePoint 2010, including number of active vs. unique users, amount of disk space consumed by your content databases, number of managed properties on your farm, number of blogs and wikis relative to the number of sites, and other critical data to help you estimate the size and scope of your migration. You can download this free tool here.
- Run PreUpgradeCheck (a few times).
While results are not always consistent, running Pre-Upgrade Check should be a pre-requisite for every migration, it is helps identify potential issues with your farm. You can learn more about PreUpgradeCheck on the Microsoft website.
Here's what it covers:
- Searches content sources and start addresses
- Outlines Office Server topology
- Identifies servers in the current farm
- Lists SharePoint version and list of components running in the farm
- Outlines supported upgrade types
- Provides Site Definition and Feature information
- Details language pack information
- Identifies Alternate Access Mappings that will need to be recreated
- Outlines Customized List Views (these will not be upgraded)
- Outlines Customized Field Types (these will not be upgraded)
- Identifies WSS Search topology
- Provides list of Content Databases and SQL server location
5. Define your Strategy.
It is important to know how many of those customizations are outside of the SharePoint framework, which may change how you prioritize each for SharePoint migration. It is also critical to understand whether any customizations can be replaced by out-of-the-box functionality. For example, many organizations deployed custom or third-party social media tools in MOSS 2007 to bridge the functionality gaps in SharePoint, but many of these tools are now out of the box in SharePoint 2010. You could save yourself time and money by simply replacing these custom tools with out of the box tools.
These steps will better prepare you for the migration activity, but be prepared for the unknowns. An Axceler partner recently spent almost 13 weeks on a SharePoint migration project that was initially scoped at 2 weeks -- almost entirely due to the undocumented customizations found on the system.
For additional help in identifying and managing customizations on your system, Axceler also offers the Davinci Migrator for SharePoint 2010, which handles migrations from both 2003 and 2007 to the 2010 platform. Davinci has several unique features, including a complete Discovery tool that allows you to query your system and find the right content and sites to be migrated. It also includes a comprehensive pre-migration analysis tool which allows you to identify problems beforehand, fix them in real-time, ensuring your migrations work right the first time. See an end-to-end migration using Davinci Migrator here.