Saturday, December 15, 2007

SharePoint Migration Level Of Effort

I am posting this blog is a little late. A common question is what is the level of effort to migration a out-of-the-box SharePoint 2003 implementation and are there any tools out there that can help me determine this? I have been asked this several times by current and prospective clients. There is a lot of information already out there on the migration from SharePoint 2003 to SharePoint 2007 but this is what I have seen.

Note I am going to refer to SharePoint 2003 generically instead of specifying WSS 2.0 or SharePoint Portal. Same with SharePoint 2007 instead of calling it WSS 3.0/MOSS.

If I had to give a level of effort the size of the content database for SharePoint can be a factor but it really does not influence the complexity of a particular SharePoint migration. Running the prescan tool on your content databases will provide you the best information to understand what you are up against when migrating to SharePoint 2007.

To run the Prescan Tool you must install SharePoint 2003 SP2. The prescan tool can be downloaded here. The Prescan Tool will find

  • Sites that are based on languages or that use controls that are not installed
  • Custom Web Parts
  • Orphaned data objects
  • Customized site templates

The first one I have not run into yet and the second one is nothing to be concerned about either because most custom web parts "should" be compatible with SharePoint 2007.

The third one could pose some problems but many of the issues can be resolved with applying SharePoint 2003 post-SP2 hot fix. A good resource to get an understanding of errors that are through during the migration process is Bill Baer's blog on the subject. Many of these issues can and will be resolved pretty quickly using this hot fix. You will run the hot fix's new database repair command and then re-run the Prescan tool to determine if the errors have been resolved. If orphaned data objects still remain, you will have to evaluate each one and determine if there are critical pieces of data that must be migrated.

The fourth one is probably the most difficult issue you will come across when doing your migration. I have seen several clients say "we have not done any customizations and we are using SharePoint 2003 out-of-the-box". In many of those cases we found these statements to be un-true where 30% to 80% of their SharePoint implementation had been un-ghosted (customized). This issue is extremely problematic because if a site/page has been customized the presentation of that page will not take on the new SharePoint 2007 presentation; as many want this. A common way a site becomes un-ghosted (or customized) is when FrontPage is used or when a developer has gone in a directly modified the templates in the hive. Note that changing the templates in the hive is an un-recommended practice for either SharePoint 2003 and 2007.

In the end for un-ghosted (customized) site templates you will have to evaluate each one individually and determine what the migration path is for it. If the specific page has been edited with FrontPage, then you could simply revert the page back to the original template. In many cases this is a sufficient solution as many of the changes with FrontPage are presentational in nature. If a SharePoint 2003 site template was purchased or created you will need to migrate the site definition using a XML mapping file that will migrate the template definition to the SharePoint 2007 definition. Creating this XML mapping file requires more effort depending on the complexity. I would ensure that you allow enough time to do several test tries for this. This can be done by simply backing up the content database and bring it back up on different test server.

Using the Prescan tool will help you determine all of this and assist you with understanding the effort for migrating to SharePoint 2007.

No comments: