MigrateYour SharePoint Content with MetaVis
MetaVis (news, site) is a company whose goal is to help you manage and control your SharePoint environments. So if you are one of those companies who wants to use SharePoint for more than a gloried file share, the MetaVis Migrator for SharePoint is a tool you should consider adding to your arsenal.

Classify vs Migrate vs Both

Originally called Classifier, MetaVis re-branded their migration and classification tool to Migrator. Why? Because people seemed to confused by the name, not really understanding that it included not only the ability to classify your SharePoint content, but also the ability to migrate your content from one SharePoint site, collection or environment to another.

So it's got a new name MetaVis Migrator for SharePoint. But even better, it has new functionality:

  • Windows Explorer like UI: Now you can copy and paste, or drag and drop, lists, libraries, sites that you want to copy or move in an environment that looks much like Windows Explorer -- adding to the usability of the tool. You can also select multiple items from lists or libraries for copying/moving.
  • Create Tagging Parameters: You can retain core SharePoint properties when you move content (like Created/Modified at and by dates), have a metadata field take on an automated value for all content with a particular content type
  • Templates: Create templates for repeatable processes such as regular copying of content into a site. With a template, you specify how the columns are mapped so that you don't have to re-map the columns every time you do a migration.
  • Migrate entire lists, libraries, sites to new locations: The Migrator allows you to move content between SharePoint 2003, SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010. You can copy entire lists, libraries, sites and specify that everything gets migrated including content types, column values, versions, etc.. Or you can select exactly what information should be migrated with the content. Also nice is that if you are migrating something to a location where another item of the same name exists, you will be prompted to overwrite or rename the content you are migrating.
  • Import From File Systems: You can import content that resides in file systems, using the folder structure as the source for your metadata values and retaining the core created/modified values.

There are a number of improvements in the latest version of the Migrator (Classifier). Functionality that will let you turn those SharePoint "file shares" into a truly managed information.

The Migrator is multi-threaded which means you can run multiple migrating activities at the same time, speeding up the time it takes to do your job.

More Improvements to Come

Steven Pogrebivsky, CEO and Co-founder of MetaVis Technologies walked us through these enhancements and some other things they are currently working on. Here's a sneak peek:

  1. Merge Sites: Copy an entire site or site collection and associated subsites and merge it with an existing site.
  2. Copy to New Site: Copy the entire architecture of a site or site collection to the same or different level in the same collection or server, or a completely different SharePoint environment. This will take everything content, history, permissions, subsites, site permissions and more.
  3. Governance: With MetaVis Architect, you will soon be able to create templates for your SharePoint environment much easier. Using a wizard approach, you can base your template on an existing site, using some or all of its structure or you can create a new site template from scratch. The template is virtual and doesn't exist in any environment until you actually apply it. Note this can be done today with SharePoint 2007 to a limited extent, but it is complex to do.
  4. Compare Sites: Want to see the difference between two sites? Run the Compare Sites Wizards and then update your target site to match.
  5. Reporting: You will soon be able to run a full inventory report on your site to see what's inside it and how it's structured. This report is created in Excel so you can then do filtering and analysis as required.
  6. Site Map: Want to see what your SharePoint implementation looks like visually? Get ready to see it all with the new Site Map feature.

On Development Approach and SharePoint 2010

Pogrebivsky told us that there wasn't actually a lot of work involved in getting the Migrator ready to work with SharePoint 2010. Microsoft still employs the same web services structure, only it has a number of new features.

So it was a matter of testing to ensure everything still worked as expected. Of course MetaVis working on taking advantage of some of the new metadata features in 2010.

An Iterative Development Approach

If all those upcoming features excite you, don't wait for a new major version of MetaVis Migrator or Architect to be released. MetaVis works on a more iterative development model. Essentially they put out a new feature (or bug fix) to their solutions every two weeks.

So every time you start up Migrator, it will check with MetaVis to see if there are any updates available and give you the option to download and install them.

This was a highly requested feature by MetaVis clients and has been well received to date. Of course it does mean some very tight QA processes need to be in place and Pogrebivsky told us that full regression testing is done for each update.

It's Not a One Time Migration

It is important to note that it's rare that migrating content to SharePoint or between SharePoint sites or environments is a one time deal. MetaVis sees migration as a regular activity and has built their tools and their pricing model to reflect this.

So there is no limit to the amount of content you move if you buy the entire MetaVis Architect Suite. The difference between the full suite (US$ 4500) and the Migrator Tool (US$ 3000) is only US 1500 per seat. And there are features within both that you would use on a regular basis.  So take that into consideration when looking at the product.

Feel free to take a closer look and take the product(s) for a trial run.