[Video] SharePoint migration: Preparation, cleanup, and checkup

This week’s webinar was on the topic of SharePoint migration. The webinar was hosted by Toni Frankola, SPDocKit’s product owner, 9-time Microsoft MVP, and the CEO of SysKit.

In this webinar summary, we’re going to outline the key elements of SharePoint migration, as discussed in the webinar.

Webinar summary

Toni starts with a brief introduction of SPDockit then heads over to the demo. The demo itself is segmented into three parts to show you in detail how SPDockit features can help you prepare for a potential upgrade to the next version of SharePoint. Additionally, he discusses how SPDockit can be of help in other SharePoint projects and how can you be more successful in planning and performing a SharePoint management.

In case you missed our webinar, here’s a video recording for you to check out.

Table of contents:

0:00 Intro
3:51 What is SPDockit?
6:36 Pre-migration: SharePoint farm assessment
8:50 How can SPDockit help?
12:35 Demo 1 – Farm infrastructure assessment
28:51 Demo 2 – Farm content and usage
38:08 Demo 3 – Farm comparison
45:11 Q&A

What’s SPDockit?

SPDockit is a SharePoint administration tool that allows you to be more efficient when working on various projects. SPDockit can gather an entire inventory of your SharePoint farm, collect all the settings, and everything stored in your SharePoint (from Central Administration to all the service applications, web applications, site collections, and more).

All this will help you further down the line when creating various reports and give you the ability to create general documentation. SPDockit reports help you analyze your SharePoint content, structure, and permissions. Additionally, SPDockit allows you to gain insights into your SharePoint configuration and it offers community best practices to make your environment run smoother.

Clean up Your SharePoint Environment Before You Do an Upgrade

When it comes to SharePoint migration, you need to plan this ahead. You need to understand what kind of SharePoint farm you’re dealing with, especially if you’re a consultant hired to make sense of someone else’s environment.

Pre-migration is a lot of work, there are a lot of things that you need to manage before upgrading and one of the things that you must do is perform a farm cleanup.

Refer to this TechNet article for more information on items you need to clean. Luckily, with SPDockit, you have your work simplified. Let’s discuss the pre-migration steps that SPDockit covers for you.

Step 1 – SharePoint Infrastructure Assessment

When doing a SharePoint migration as a consultant for a client, you most likely weren’t involved in the original setup and you’re not sure what the client has in the environment. What’s even better, the client also probably has no clue what’s what. Once you assess the farm, you will get a better understanding of how long the migration might take and you can send a quote to your client accordingly.

If you’re managing your own SharePoint, it will provide easily accessible information, which makes maintenance of your environment sound like a piece of cake.

SPDockit can spell it all out for you; what kind of SharePoint farm your dealing with; what needs to be upgraded; if there any custom solutions in the environment; what kind of content you’re beginning to deal with. Everything you gather will be documented in the SharePoint farm documentation, which you can later export and discuss with your client.

To help you create a farm that looks as similar as possible to your original farm we have a built in out-of-the-box integration with AutoSPInstaller which you can use to provision SharePoint farms automatically.

SPDockit gathers all SharePoint settings as well as helping in thttp://www.spdockit.com/blog/video-create-a-copy-of-your-sharepoint-farm-with-spdockit-and-autospinstaller/he pre-migration process. For example, our best practices can help you a great deal in this case.

  • Check whether your SharePoint is up to date (e.g. if you want to upgrade to SharePoint 2016 from SharePoint 2013 then you will need to have Service Pack 1 before proceeding with your upgrade).
  • Determine whether the web.config files on all servers in your farm are identical
  • Export the entire Best Practices documentation
  • Set up Best Practices alerts for all configuration settings you want to track

Step 2 – SharePoint Content and Usage Audit

Step 2 explains how can you use SPDockit to analyze the content of your SharePoint farm. In this section, you will learn more about storage and content usage, features usage and activations, as well as SharePoint structure.

Use various SPDockit reports to determine what kind of content you have in your SharePoint farm.

Before doing an upgrade, it would be a good idea to comb your environment and check whether you have any dead documents, documents that no one has access to, large sites that aren’t in use anymore, or maybe there is a site collection no one uses and you can archive it before starting the upgrade.

SPDockit helps you find all those long-forgotten projects that should be dealt with properly. For instance, you can archive them or change them to a read-only mode.

If there are any custom Content Types, especially if they are provisioned from a Content Type Hub then you should be aware of them because you will need to re-provision the Content Type Hub. SPDockit shows you exactly where these Content Types are used.

Be sure to check if you have any dead documents, which are actually documents created in your SharePoint but the original author does not have access to the document anymore or the author has been disabled in the Active Directory. You can either delete them or not upgrade them if they are no longer needed.

Also, with content reports, you can see how many databases you have and see what some of the largest sites are. If you have a large site collection, that is taking up 99% percent of the database, you need to take care of it. You might want to split these site collections into different databases.

As a company evolves, things change and there might be some sites and site collections that haven’t been used for some time—SPDockit can help you detect how many of these unused sites you have.

Clean Up and Manage SharePoint Permissions

When you should clean up your content, you shouldn’t forget to clean up your permissions as well because they can be a nightmare to manage.

The second part of Step 2 covers SPDockit reports that gather information on SharePoint permissions. This helps SharePoint administrators track permissions for different users and groups across a SharePoint farm to easily manage SharePoint permissions.

SPDockit scans your sites for missing groups, groups with disabled users, groups without users, users disabled in the Active Directory, and users without permissions. This can be useful when you are trying to remove unused content.

Step 3 – Compare SharePoint Farms

Picture this:

You are at the very end of your project and you have your built-in SharePoint 2016 farm, your servers are up and running, they have been provisioned, and your about to migrate your content from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2016.

Before you continue, you must ensure that everything has been configured in exactly the same as your new farm, just as it was in your old farm. In SharePoint, as you may well know, there are way too many settings for a mere mortal to keep track of manually, and, obviously, you might forget something. That’s when the SPDockit Compare Wizard steps in to save the day.

For example:

You might see that your original farm had only one Web Front End server and that your new farm has more servers. SPDockit is a brainiac so it detects whether similar roles are installed and the built-in engine will suggest default mappings. The system figured out that you had a SQL 2012 and that this is in fact equal to SQL 2013. It also knows you had the server SP2013-001 and that now you have four different SharePoint servers in your new farm. SPDockit will then compare the settings and you can also map different accounts because you might be running a SharePoint upgrade from one domain to another.

As always, the SPDockit fans asked a lot of questions. All of them are covered in this Q&A section.

Q: Where can we get further information on generating an AutoSPInstaller XML Configuration File?

A: More information about this feature is available here. This feature allows you to create an AutoSPInstaller script based on previously loaded farm settings using SPDockit. Once you load SharePoint farm settings and you are happy with your farm configuration, you can create a copy of that environment using the Save XML configuration feature.

SPDockit gathers all the relevant data from your farm, and allow you to modify the settings. SPDockit then creates an XML file containing the settings of the selected SharePoint farm, such as services and web applications, as well as managed accounts or host named mappings.

Q: What SharePoint account must be used to run all tasks in SPDockit?

A: You need to be a Farm Administrator to retrieve information about your infrastructure. Refer to the User Permission Requirements article for more information.

Q: Are the features shown today common in all license levels?          

A: Please take a look at our pricing page and check which features are available per each license type.

Q: Which SharePoint versions do you support?

A: SPDockit supports SharePoint 2010, 2013, and 2016. SharePoint 2007 is supported only in SPDockit 5.3.1. Check out a detailed list of supported editions here.

Q: What happens if a user was deleted from AD? What happens with all items created by the user in the new farm?

A: These documents will probably still be visible in the new farm; however, they might be left without users or permissions. You can use the SPDockit report Dead Documents to find these items.

Q: Can the Scheduled Difference reports be targeted for specific areas, such as the Scheduled Report of what the Farm Admin changed since the last snapshot?

A: You can configure the compare template for farm reports. Navigate to the SPDockit Subscription Manager for more scheduling reports, and there you will find the most often used report filters that you can use to adjust the level of detail in your future reports.

Q: Unmodified content reports are very useful! Do you have a report for unviewed content? I’m interested to see if anyone is looking at particular documents.

A: Unfortunately, this is not available yet but we are working on some new capabilities, so stay tuned!

Q: Could you discuss in further detail the intermediate steps needed to move from SharePoint 2010 up to SharePoint 2016? Is it possible to use SPDockit outside SharePoint farm? In an Offline mode? For example, to return an audit a report.  

A: To see the options that we discussed in this webinar, you will need to run SPDockit at least once in your SharePoint farm. Some of the data SPDockit is trying to retrieve, like the information from the Central Administration, won’t be available otherwise. You can run the tool in the SharePoint farm, then store the snapshot as a file, and take it to your workstation so you can examine it further. You can also use SPDockit on your workstation by connecting to the SPDockit database (if you have installed it), and then retrieve this information and create various reports.

Q: Is there a possibility to get a report about all hyperlinks (within the content of a web page, in rich multiline text or hyperlinks metadata and documents)?

A: Unfortunately, this is not possible.

Q: Are SPDockit features available with the Consultant license as well?

A: All features that we have showed you in this webinar are available with the Consultant license.

Q: Can SPDockit generate a report about the unmodified content on My Sites?            

A: Of course!

Q: I need to migrate a farm from SP2010 to SP2016. May I use SPDockit for cleaning up my environment before I proceed with the migration?

A: This is a more complex process. Using the out-of-the-box tools, you’ll need to have a SharePoint 2013 farm then upgrade your databases from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 (like a staging farm), and THEN to SharePoint 2016. We would definitely recommend you help yourself with one of many third-party migration tools available online. Those tools will help you skip the SharePoint 2013 step. This might be the best solution if you are planning some kind of content reorganization.

Q: Do you have the ability to change the author to an active user with the Dead Documents report?

A: At this very moment this can’t be done.

Q: Do we need to install SPDockit on all our SharePoint farms?              

A: You need to install it on one server within the farm you want to document.

Q: Is all of this available for SharePoint Online as well? Is it possible to make the distinction as we go?

A: You can use SPDockit to manage permission in SharePoint Online. Later this year, we plan to introduce new reports regarding SharePoint Online and give you the ability to manage both On-Prem and Online in the same way.

Q: I have a question about the Permission Reports. I can see bunch of permission reports that we can run in SPDockit. Is there a way to find the query behind the report?

A: There is a SPDockit database that is used to generate all these reports, but if you need help creating custom queries to retrieve certain information, please contact us.

Be sure to stay tuned for our next webinar and see how the tool works, get answers from our product team, and learn more about SharePoint administration with our guest presenters.

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SPDockit’s capabilities to see if this is the feature you’re looking for, test out the tool and share your experience with your colleagues. If you’re interested in finer details, our team can arrange a personalized demo.

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