You will remember our 5 tips for planning your SharePoint 2010 migration. We are back with 5 more tips to help you when the planning is done and it's time for implementation.
First of all, beware of a vendor representative (e.g. the sales guy) who uses the word upgrade when describing moving from one major revision of a product to the newest revision of said product. This scenario is a migration, and any attempt to call it anything else is a recipe for disaster.
It was with this idea in mind that I sat down with the former Director of Infrastructure at MFG.com, and current research director in IT operations at Gartner, Jonah Kowall. Jonah and I discussed his experience at MFG.com when he migrated from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010.
Lesson 1: Treat SharePoint Like an Enterprise System and Not Like a Pet Project
Even if your organization received its MOSS 2010 licenses for free (or at a significant discount) as a "thank you" for purchasing multiple Microsoft Office suite licenses or Microsoft SQL Server licenses, don't treat MOSS 2010 like free (or cheap) software. SharePoint 2010 is enterprise software and should be treated as such.
When Kowall first arrived at MFG.com, SharePoint was in place and being used but it was a pain point in the enterprise. In this instance, SharePoint 2007 was originally installed with an SQL Express backend -- which has a 2-gigabyte size limit for databases. Therefore, it is no surprise that users were running out of space when trying to add content.
Kowall's first task was moving the SharePoint 2007 installation onto a new box running SQL Server standard edition. With the initial step complete, Jonah then turned his attention to the state of the content in the SharePoint 2007 repository -- which leads us to our next lesson.
Lesson 2: Take the Opportunity to Get Your House in Order
And by "house," I am referring to the content in the SharePoint 2007 repository. Before you begin the migration of actual content from your old SharePoint 2007 repository to your new SharePoint 2010 repository, take the time to evaluate and clean up the content.
If your content is in bad shape before the migration, it will be in bad shape after the migration. As the old saying goes: "Garbage in, garbage out." The change in revision number of your platform will not make your content any more useful or sane.
Kowall's key piece of advice here is to put in place a sense of ownership and accountability for the content -- also known as a governance model. Without governance, your brand-new SharePoint 2010 system will resemble little more than a shared hard drive.
Lesson 3: Use Virtualization
The original configuration at MFG.com was a single physical machine running the full SharePoint 2007 architecture. Kowall tried to virtualize the system multiple times without success and he used the release of MOSS 2010 as a tipping point to move forward with virtualization.
According to Kowall: "Virtualization allows resources, specifically memory, to be tuned as necessary. This way, more memory can be devoted to the presentation tier (where more caching occurs) and less allocated to the database tier."
The other bonus of using virtualization is getting more out of your physical hardware. Kowall told me that the server housing the virtual machine for his SharePoint 2010 system was supporting five to 10 other virtual systems.
Lesson 4: Don't Be Afraid to Go Off the Map
But beware of dragons. MOSS 2010 was released at the same time that SQL Server 2008 R2 was made available. Kowall took the opportunity to install the bleeding-edge version of SQL Server primarily to take advantage of its improved performance when running on VMWare.
Unfortunately, because both products were so new, no one had tried to do what Kowall was attempting. A situation like this can make for some lonely Google searching.
Kowall was able to complete the migration successfully by following our final lesson.
Lesson 5: Don't Be Afraid to Call Support
When Microsoft releases a product, it gets its support staff ready for the onslaught of support calls that will almost certainly be coming. This instance was no different, except that Kowall was doing something that few other implementers, if any, were attempting.
After many hours spent searching and tweaking, Kowall engaged Microsoft support and opened an official support case. He quickly made his way up to one of the core SharePoint engineers, who helped complete his configuration using SQL Server 2008 R2 and 64-bit Windows Server 2008.
While the migration did not go exactly as planned, the project was successful and MFG.com is currently reaping the benefits of Kowall's work. If your organization is mired in an upgrade/migration effort or you are preparing to make the journey, I hope these lessons will help you along the way.