Having to manage SharePoint farms tends to get difficult and you might get lost among all the data and settings. Environments may vary in performance and configuration, which is why farm comparison comes in handy. SPDocKit does that for you. And on top of the Compare SharePoint Farms feature, in SPDocKit you can compare web applications, site collections, permissions, and web.config files.
In this webinar, we show how you can compare different SharePoint farms with the ultimate SharePoint reporting tool – SPDocKit. In the video, you can find out how to utilize SPDocKit to better manage your farms, compare different snapshots, and compare permissions and web.configs.
To learn more about how you can compare different SharePoint environments, watch our SPDocKit webinar.
Table of contents
02:47 SPDocKit Quick Overview
05:59 SPDocKit Compare Wizard Quick Overview
08:21 Demo 1: Compare different farms
19:52 Demo 2: Compare single farm over time
24:40 Demo 3: Compare Site Collections and Web Applications
28:07 Demo 4: Compare SharePoint Permissions
33:51 Demo 5: Compare Web.config files
39:02 Key Takeaways
Gather all them differences!
When managing multiple environments like DEV, UAT, QA, Staging and Production we have to make sure these environments are as similar as possible. However, when it comes to managing SharePoint, each farm has hundreds of different settings that can easily diverge between farms.
SPDocKit offers the ability to create configuration snapshots of each farm (manually or on a predefined schedule). This is useful since multiple farms often have different software configurations that you need to adjust to be as similar as possible. For example, you need to make sure your QA, Staging and Production farms have all been configured in the same way before you begin a rollout and start testing a new feature in your farm (see figure below).
To get accurate comparison results, SPDocKit supports mapping of servers, service applications, host names and farm account names. The Compare feature we offer covers all the settings from SharePoint Central Administration but also gives you the ability to compare settings on a Web application and at the Site Collection levels, as well as compare web.config files. The SPDocKit Compare Wizard not only provides a comparison between two different farms, it also offers you the ability to track changes on a single farm in different time ranges.
The main purpose of the Compare Wizard is to effortlessly show differences, which you can then further analyze. And I promise that once you get to know SPDocKit, you will always have an answer ready when someone asks, “What went wrong? It worked in the pre-production environment, but when it was deployed to production, it didn’t.”
Your first step is to select a compare type; in other words, you’ll choose what you want to compare and track changes in. You’ll notice that some types have two or more subtypes, which provide more detailed scopes for comparisons.
SPDocKit compare types
There are five major compare types in SPDocKit:
- Web Applications
- Site Collections
- Web.config files
SPDocKit stores snapshots of your entire farm configuration. This makes it possible to track changes in an entire farm or even different farms. Depending on your exact needs, you can pick from one of the following types of farm comparisons:
- Compare Farm with a Previous Snapshot—This lists the configuration differences between snapshots of two farms. This type of comparison is ideal if you want an overview of all the changes made over time.
- Compare Two Different SharePoint Farms—This lists differences between two different SharePoint farms. This type of comparison is most useful if you have multiple farms, such as DEV, TEST, STAGE, PROD, and QA farms.
- Compare with Out-of-the-Box Farm—This lists differences between your farm and SharePoint’s baseline farm settings. This type of comparison can help you determine how a farm’s configuration has been altered in comparison to the default settings.
The awesome thing about SPDocKit is that it lets you go through the farm compare feature and compare all SharePoint farm settings, every web application and site collection.
When comparing two different SharePoint farms, you can map service applications, accounts, database and host names, URLs, service application proxies between two farms, servers, and SQL Servers.
This feature lets you compare two SharePoint web application configurations to check for any differences. You can compare two different web applications or the same application at different points in time.
Select a snapshot that contains the web application settings you want to compare, and select web applications in the Compare Results window. SPDocKit will detect the differences and give you results with objects marked showing, for example, differences in children or objects that are missing in the scope or target. SPDocKit will also show any differences in rows and cells.
Comparing site collections covers a narrower scope than comparing web applications.
Site collection comparison lets you find any differences between two different site collections or track changes for one site collections over a specific period.
You can compare any two site collections, and they don’t even have to be from the same web application or farm.
Troubleshooting permissions and figuring out why your users can access one document but not another is difficult. Before SPDocKit came along, these kinds of tasks made people want to launch their computers into the sun. Luckily, you don’t have to resort to this.
Managing permissions and generating SharePoint documentation are the two main features that helped propel SPDocKit to become the ultimate SharePoint administration tool.
You can compare SharePoint permissions for different subsites, lists, and list items. Like other compare features, you have the option to compare permissions on two different subsites or compare permissions for one particular subsite over time. This makes it easy to track permission changes through different periods.
There are four subtypes of permission comparisons:
- Object to Object—This lists permission differences between any two SharePoint objects.
- Permissions Differences—This lists all the permission changes made in SharePoint over time, such as granted and removed permissions, changes in permission inheritances, changes made to SharePoint objects, and principals’ Active Directory permissions since the last snapshot.
- Group to Group—This compares two different groups to check for changes made to group members. It’s quite useful when you need to troubleshoot permissions and identify duplicate SharePoint or Active Directory groups.
- Membership Differences—This compares SharePoint or Active Directory groups to check for any changes over time.
There are a few things you should keep an eye on when it comes to web.config files, especially because these files contain configuration parameters, which is something you shouldn’t joke around with. The web.config files are so important because they need to be identical across all your Web Front End servers. If they’re not, you might experience some issues.
When you’ve manually changed the configuration, you must make sure tall the changes are implemented on all your SharePoint servers hosting a particular web app. This can be done manually through the Internet Information Services Manager, but let me tell you, it’s tedious monkey work.
Instead, you can do it the easy way. With our Compare Wizard, you can verify that all changes are properly implemented on all the SharePoint servers hosting a particular web app. You can also check to see if there are any differences between your web.config files on various web applications.
To find out more about how to spot differences in your farm configurations and compare farm settings with the Compare Wizard, visit our Compare SharePoint Farms help page. Experience the latest SPDocKit improvements for SharePoint administration. Download SPDocKit and start managing your SharePoint farms like a true SharePoint savvy.
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