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It's been awhile since we talked content migration, so we thought we would take a look at a couple of other solutions on the market. Proventeq has been in the content migration market since 2007, with a special focus on Oracle and SharePoint. Let's have a look.  

A Content Migration Vendor Refresher 

It's been a little while so let's step back for a few minutes and review want we've done to date. 

Kapow Technologies

We started our content migration review series with Kapow Technologies. Kapow has a content migration module that comes with -- or without -- their Web Data Server. With Kapow's migration module you can migrate content from just about anywhere to just about anywhere -- this is a common theme with all the products we have looked at. Kapow utilizes robots that are configured (not coded) and can be tested prior to using in production. We also liked the bi-directional synchronization capabilities. Read all about our review of Kapow in A Look at Automated Content Migration: Part 1 - Kapow Technologies.

Vamosa

Next, we spent some time with Vamosa, a vendor that offers both content governance and content migration solutions. Vamosa's Content Migrator can be used on-premise or in the cloud, is a web-based Java solution and is also much more about configuration then coding when it comes to setting up a migration. With Vamosa, one of the things we liked was the ability to view your content and associated metadata within the tool prior to the actual migration. Read all about our Vamosa review in A Look at Automated Content Migration: Part 2 - Vamosa.

With that little refresher out of the way, let's move on to vendor number 3, Proventeq. To help us understand the Proventeq Migration Accelerator, we spoke with Eric Dubiner, VP North America, and Proventeq's Director/Founder Rakesh Chenchery.

A Focus On Content Migration

Unlike Kapow and Vamosa, Proventeq focuses solely on the analysis and migration of content. They have built both their product and their professional services around supporting enterprises with the migration of web, document and application content to new enterprise content management systems and/or portals.

Now we all know that migrating content is no simple task and that every migration activity is different. We also know that many organizations underestimate the work actually involved in the manual migration of content. With that being said, we won't spend a lot of time explaining the value of automated content migration.

Migration Accelerator

The Migration Accelerator is a client-server solution built on the Microsoft stack. It can be easily scaled out to support larger migrations and Proventeq in the process of adding support for the Oracle DB as well.

According to Proventeq, their Migration Accelerator is the only certified solution for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 FCI (File Classification Infrastructure). The majority of their work is done with Microsoft and Oracle. The architecture is fairly straightforward:

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Proventeq Migration Accelerator

An Iterative Migration Process

It's never as simple as set it up once and migrate. Proventeq's content migration methodology is an iterative process with a number of steps. Here's the at-a-glance view:

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Proventeq Content Migration Configuration
 

The processes of Discovery and Analysis (figuring out what is in the source system) to the Load process is iterative -- organizations will do these steps over and over until they are satisfied that the content is in the right format and going to the right location. 

A couple of important points to make here: 

  • Not all content may need to be migrated and it's important to filter out the unwanted information so you aren't wasting your time moving something you don't want or need.
  • The extraction process pulls out all the meaningful information for a piece of content, including relationships and associated content.
  • Part of the transformation process involves not only transforming the content to something the new system understands, but also the required security on that content.
  • Loading the content isn't a simple process, not when you remember that you need to things like include versions, security and publishing state.

There are three types of mappings that Proventeq defines:

  • Constant Mapping: Straight mapping of a constant value to one in the target system.
  • Value Mapping: A source value copied to the target system with some transformation
  • Generated Mapping: A completely new value added to the target system

From this you can see that it's clearly not as simple as taking from one and putting into the other, there's some thinking about the site structure, content types and associated attributed that needs to be done prior to the actual migration.

Defining the Pipeline

Accelerator enables you to run multiple projects at once -- called workspaces. Proventeq also works with the pipeline terminology for content migration. You start at the beginining and build your migration pipeline. It comes with a pipeline you can use out the box, configuring it to your specific needs, or you can build your own pipeline using a number of pre-built nodes. 

You set up your source systems and your target systems to get started. Note that you can pull your content from more than one system at a time and load it into more than one system at a time. It all depends on your requirements.

There are a number of migration accelerator connectors including:

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Proventeq Accelerator Configuration

There are a number of out the box content types and transformations that you can customize as well. Custom rules can be written using C# or VB -- there is intellisense built in to help with the rule creation.

Content is extracted and placed into a separate repository so you can work on the migration pipeline without affecting the day to day activities of employees. The entire pipleline process except for the Load process happens within the staging database. 

Some key capabilities:

  • You can configure the migration to take all document versions, or only a certain number.
  • Link transformation ensures that all links within documents and other content are transformed accordingly, this even includes links within Excel formulas.
  • Perform complete site restructuring. For example for a migration from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010, you can transform folder structures from 2007 into metadata classification in 2010.

Content Comparisons

Once you have mapped your content from the source system(s) into the target system(s) you can have a look at your content. You can view the content at different phases of the process. For example you can perform an item comparison side-by-side view that shows extracted content vs transformed content. A visual view shows the actual content, a detail view shows the metadata associated with the content.

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Accelerator Side-By-Side comparison view
 

Viewing the Status of a Migration

As you execute a migration pipeline -- whether it is a test or an actual run -- you want to see the progress. The Accelerator has a very user-friendly visualization of the pipeline showing the results of each process step. The visualization will also graphically show where errors occurred and you can click on an error to see the actual error message.

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Accelerator - Execution Process View

You can filter this view by content type or error type if you are looking for specific information. Of course there is also a simple list view showing the same information.

Reseting The Migration Process

If you run a process and decide you don't like the results or want to make changes to site structure or metadata you can go back, make your changes and re-run the pipeline. This will re-set the entire pipeline or only part of the pipeline (you say where the reset should start). This will reset the content back to its original format, location and the updated process will re-run.

Scheduling Migrations

The Accelerator uses a native windows scheduler so you can schedule your migration processes for any time. This means you can do a one-time migration or use the tool for automated archiving of content.

Migration Reports 

The Proventeq Migration Accelerator has several reports that you can run including:

  • An error report
  • Migration Detail by Phase
  • Migration Summary by Phase

 

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Accelerator Reports

Product Roadmap

As we said earlier, Proventeq has a strong focus on Oracle and Microsoft, so it's only natural more capabilities will focus on these products. The company is continuing their Oracle partnership by defining a migration path for Oracle's legacy products to Oracle UCM 11g and they are creating additional modules to support WebCenter.

In addition, they plan to continue to develop their capabilities for Microsoft Online (BPOS) and further invest in SharePoint 2010.

Proventeq also has a professional services team that can work with you and/or train you to use the Migration Accelerator. And they have a partner ecosystem that works with their solution.

It's also interesting to point out that Proventeq licenses can be configured at the enterprise level or as a rental model. This means if you are doing a one time migration, you don't have to invest in permanent licenses for this product. 

To Sum It Up

There were a number of things that stood out for Proventeq's Migration Accelerator:

  1. The Pipeline visualization is great for at a glance viewing of the processes, including seeing the errors down to the actual content level.
  2. Configuration vs coding of rules and transformation is also a plus. Knowing that you can code more complex rules is also important.
  3. The side-by-side comparison view of content before and after transformation is something we haven't seen before.

Probably the biggest disadvantage we see with this solution is that it isn't web-based. This means for every member working on the migration process, a client installation is required. Of course, if there are only a few employees doing the work, this isn't a big deal.

It's not also clear if you need to purchase your ECM connectors separately, or if they come as part of the Accelerator Solution. And the Discovery Tools used to help you map out your source systems are discussed separately. It's important you understand clearly what is part of the package and what isn't.

There are a lot of solutions out there to help with migrating content from SharePoint 2007 or another CMS/fileshare to SharePoint 2010. Proventeq is another one to add to your list. And although we are sure the other solutions will do migrations to Oracle UCM, this is the first one we've seen with a dedicated focus on that product. With 11g only recently released, there may be a long list of customers looking to migrate.