1 WHITE PAPER : Best Practices Before, During and After Your Migration ABSTRACT Demand for migration to Microsoft SharePoint continues to grow as the platform rapidly becomes the standard for organizations seeking a centralized knowledge repository and collaborative workspace. However, migrating or consolidating your legacy content into your new SharePoint environment is no simple task; and there are many things to consider before your organization dives into a migration. This white paper will examine why and when to consider an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) legacy system migration to SharePoint. Emphasizing the challenges, benefits and technical considerations of a SharePoint migration, we will focus on sharing best practices and highlight the components needed to ensure a seamless migration process. The information included is based on KnowledgeLake s extensive experience and proven track record of successful migrations. 1. Introduction In 2012, SharePoint claimed over 70 percent enterprise penetration, bringing in over $2 billion annually for Microsoft. This product, which launched in 2001, experienced the fastest revenue growth in Microsoft s history, even compared to Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. The primary reason SharePoint has been such a successful product for organizations is simple: SharePoint is deeply embedded within organizations. In fact, two out of three enterprise workers have SharePoint and use it in some capacity. SharePoint usages range from intranet, extranet and portal creation to simple document management. With the recent release of SharePoint 2013, organizations can even use SharePoint for widespread social networking and the App Marketplace. The exact ways that people are using SharePoint today are just as important as the foothold it already has, and the determination organizations seem to have for making SharePoint work as a platform for myriad applications.
2 > HOW DOES SHAREPOINT FIT INTO THE ECM WORLD? As defined by AIIM, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization s unstructured information, wherever that information exists. Enterprise Content Management has become a key business priority for most organizations. As the amount of information created and shared is increasing in size and speed, government compliance requirements are becoming more stringent, and key business tasks require accurate and fast access to records, documents and other information. Without effective content management, information becomes chaos, as employees waste valuable time searching for information and organizations pay the price for lost or misplaced documents. Enterprise Content Management with Microsoft SharePoint delivers both a high-quality solution that stimulates and facilitates user participation, and the tools for highly secure, well-managed content. The demand for migrations from legacy Enterprise Content Management systems is rapidly growing as the Microsoft SharePoint platform is becoming a standard for organizations that are seeking to maintain a centralized repository and are taking advantage of their existing technology investment in SharePoint. The main reasons organizations turn to SharePoint ECM, include: Ease of Use Consistent Look & Feel Increased User Adoption Industry Compliances Leverage Existing Microsoft IT Investment Low Training Costs Quick ROI The same reasons organizations love SharePoint - simplicity, ease of use, improved collaboration, among others - contribute to the platform s common challenges, such as governance, compliance and scalability. > RECOGNIZE SHAREPOINT S SHORTCOMINGS AND ENHANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES The same reasons organizations love SharePoint simplicity, ease of use, improved collaboration, among others contribute to the platform s common challenges, such as governance, compliance and scalability. In most cases, SharePoint needs a little help to meet the complex and ever-evolving business objectives of today s business world. As a platform, it can be molded and shaped into a robust and easy-touse business process tool that can completely transform the way you work and do business. Organizations need to recognize when (and how) an add-on solution can get and keep their business functioning at its very best. Third-party applications fill the gaps and extend SharePoint s capabilities - a synergy that Microsoft encourages through its software partner network. With the right third-party application, your organization can boost the value of SharePoint as both a rich collaboration portal and a centralized document repository, creating a better and more comprehensive platform for managing, searching and tracking information that exists across the enterprise. Finding the right solution to partner with your SharePoint implementation is as critical as ever. 2. Why Migrate to SharePoint? Aside from the fact that SharePoint has proven to be flexible with the wide variety of organizational needs over the last decade, there are still several other important reasons that large enterprises should consider SharePoint for their ECM platform. SharePoint provides most businesses with a standard platform at a reasonable cost. It is an Enterprise Content Management platform with a lower total cost of ownership than other legacy systems. Many companies already have a technology investment in Microsoft, and that makes SharePoint an even more desirable platform. In addition, the ROI that most organizations experience when moving from a legacy system to SharePoint is very compelling.
3 There are many reasons to consider a migration if you currently use a legacy ECM system. Annual Legacy Maintenance Fees Many clients justify their legacy system migration purely on the legacy maintenance fees. They are able to reduce that fee by such a significant amount that they justified the cost of migration on that factor alone. Internal Support Costs If you already have SharePoint in house, you do not have to hire or train people with that skillset. Supporting Multiple Platforms and Expensive Hardware Often organizations are dealing with multiple legacy systems that have been acquired over the years. These systems may have older, proprietary hardware associated with them. Custom Code Associated with Legacy System Supporting custom code can be costly. Leverage Current Technology Again, most organizations already have SharePoint and are using it in some capacity. Predictability and Support Unlike many legacy systems that force customers into an upgrade because the platform is being retired, SharePoint is predictable and fully-supported. 3. Migration Planning & Strategies SharePoint migrations don t have to be long and complex. For example, at KnowledgeLake, we have completed FileNet migrations with three million images, including OSAR proprietary hardware, in three weeks. The key to a successful SharePoint migration: planning and analysis. While no two migrations are alike, no matter the path you choose, the following key planning questions are vital to consider. > KEY PLANNING QUESTIONS What is the volume of documents to be migrated? What retention policies do you have in place, if any? What types of documents are stored in your current system? Where are they stored? How are documents currently added to your system? Determining this can help identify file types and additional requirements needed for the new system. For example, you may need more than scanning, such as needing to support fax or multi-function devices. Does the current system use foldering? How do you search for documents? How is security handled? Are there multiple versions of a document? When you migrate do you plan to carry over all versions? Are annotations used? How are they applied to the documents? Are they embedded or stored separately? Do you use Compound Documents? For example, you may have a Word document and inside that document you have a link to an Excel document. Are Overlays used? Do you have any Workflow Processes associated to documents? When people think of a migration they mostly think about content. In reality, content is only half the battle. There are other things you want to consider and evaluate during your research phase. For instance, what about supporting applications? What applications does your current system integrate with and how do you replace them? Can SharePoint support the application needs? What about the end users? Many times we find users are not even using the current legacy ECM system that is deployed. It is important to consider what process changes or improvements are required to motivate them to use the new system moving forward. How do you keep this from being another failed project? The answer is planning and analysis. Determine how committed you are to SharePoint, how committed your organization is to SharePoint and if there is a real ROI in undergoing a migration.
4 > MIGRATION STRATEGIES Your SharePoint architecture is the most important consideration for planning and analysis. You need to consider how the organization of your current legacy system maps to the topology of SharePoint. Some consultants will encourage you to migrate everything or nothing and to do it all right now. Resist this strategy. There are other options that can work better for your organization. Department by Department Do one department at a time and choose the simple one first. SharePoint Day Forward with Phased Migration SharePoint will be used day forward and how to migrate the legacy system documents will be decided later. Interoperate with Legacy System This is not as common but can be done, as organizations may decide to use SharePoint along with the legacy system in a phased approach. Migration Challenges The following challenges really apply to any migration, not just SharePoint. These could even be challenges associated with upgrading your platform with the existing vendor. The core features set of a new system doesn t align 1:1 with your legacy system. How are you going to fill the gaps? Need to replace existing customizations such as workflows, forms and Line-of-Business (LOB) integration. How will they be handled on the new platform? Determine third party requirements for features that may not be available in the core platform of a new system. For example: Scanning, Searching and Viewing, Records Management, Backup/ Recovery, Departmental Applications (Accounts Payable, Human Resources) and Vertical Solutions (Legal, Healthcare.) 4. Best Practices Before, During & After Migration It is important to reduce risk factors by considering a few key best practices before, during and after the actual migration. > BEFORE THE MIGRATION For most migrations, the legacy solution has been running for a while, which results in millions of documents that need to be migrated. That means you re about to blast SharePoint with a lot of content in a very rapid time frame. It is important to take a look at the profile of the documents that you will be migrating to see how that will impact your destination SharePoint platform. Identify raw document storage Analyze the average file size, total number of documents and total storage size of the content that will be migrated to SharePoint. Identify document load rates Use historical information from the legacy system to determine document load rates and year-over-year load rate changes. Ensure sufficient storage architecture Use document volumes and load rates to determine the necessary SharePoint storage, from both a raw storage standpoint as well as storage performance. It s important to understand that migrating to SharePoint is not a simple 1-to-1 migration calculation. There are several factors that determine how to plan for overhead data. It s important to ensure that the SharePoint web servers, SQL Servers and storage subsystems can handle typical business user requests without being impacted by the significant additional load added by the migration servers. SharePoint web servers For existing SharePoint users, estimate the impact that a high-volume migration solution will have on the existing web servers. If possible, stand up dedicated target servers that the migration software can use without impacting end users.
5 SharePoint SQL Servers (log files) During the migration, data will be pushed into content databases at a very rapid pace. Without question, the number one impact the migration has on the SharePoint farm is content database LOG FILES. Most SharePoint deployments do not plan for the intense load rate of a migration. Without proper planning, the log files will fill up during a migration. This can cause the migration to perform erratically or experience errors and end users will also be affected. SQL Server resources SQL Server is used by SharePoint for the storage and management of document data. During a migration the content databases are hit hard. Also, a proper migration solution should document an audit trail of all operations performed between the source and destination systems. This can result in a heavy performance impact on the migration database server. For larger migrations it may be necessary to dedicate a SQL Server to handle any migration databases that the migration software uses. It s always possible to throttle back a migration, but in most cases time is money and the longer a migration runs the higher the migration cost. > DURING THE MIGRATION Now that the farm is ready to accept large volumes of content, it s important to consider a few things that need to be managed during a migration. In general, it is critical to make sure end users are not impacted. When content is added to SharePoint, under most circumstances, it s flagged for crawling during the next incremental, continuous or full crawl. This can be problematic, particularly when migrating content into a SharePoint web application in which end users are also collaborating. For example, if a user uploads a new document to portal.acme.com, the migration solution is also blasting portal.acme.com with hundreds or thousands of documents per minute, the incremental/ continuous crawl is going to be VERY overloaded. This means that the user s document won t be available for searching for a lot longer than normal. Ideally, it s best not to migrate content into the same content source that end users may be using in a live system. The search content source in SharePoint determines what start addresses are crawled by a given crawl schedule. The bottom line is that you should design the migration such that you re pushing content into a different web application (or possibly a host named site collection) that is serviced in a completely different content source. For example, if the primary collaboration site is portal.acme.com, perhaps the migrated content could be pushed to archive.acme. com. Since we are now pushing our migration content into archive.acme.com we can control the crawl schedule for just that content source. Ideally, the crawl should be completely turned off during the migration. This is because the crawl subsystem will become overloaded with changed/new content. This will ultimately result in end user content being buried in the migration content. By turning off all crawls for the migrated content, the crawl subsystem can focus on crawling new/changed content that end users submit. By far, the most important task during a migration is to ensure that SharePoint remains in good health at all times. The following SharePoint metrics need to be monitored regularly during a migration. Content database data and log files Stay ahead of any problems by having a large enough log file to ingest the high volume of transactions between log file backups. Migration libraries You should be migrating your content in such a way that you are not exceeding SharePoint software boundaries. Specifically, don t just push all your migrated documents into the root of some poor library. You will kill your performance and make it very difficult to programmatically fix the problem due to the way that the SharePoint server side development API works when enumerating content in a given parent object (library, folder, etc.) Gut check Keep an eye on the destination locations for all of your content. Do the overall document counts make sense? Navigate into the libraries. Do you see content? Sometimes it appears nothing is in the
6 libraries when you know you ve migrated content. For example, this can happen when a required field is not getting data. SharePoint will accept the document but it will remain in a checked out state. This means that other user accounts can t see the content that the migration service account is using. Resource metrics Keep an eye on CPU utilization, memory usage (available RAM vs Paged RAM,) available disk space, and disk I/O. Disk I/O can be monitored by watching Average Disk Queue Length for the volume where the content databases are storing content on the SQL Server. The ADQL should be in the decimal range. If it s in single digits, it s probably doing OK. If it s in high double digits, triple digits, or even quadruple digits, then you re in a world of hurt. Your disk spindles aren t fast enough to keep up with your load rate. In addition to bottle-necking your migration, your disk I/O is also affecting your end users. It would be time to throttle back the migration if any of these metrics are severely out of balance. > AFTER THE MIGRATION After the migration is complete, there are a few tasks that need to be performed before you consider the data live. Back up everything! After your migration completes, the very next thing you should do is back up all content databases affected by the migration as well as the migration database. The audit trail results and the status of the content in SharePoint must be in harmony. If a failure of some sort gets the migration database out of sync with SharePoint then you have no way of proving that the migration was successful. So do yourself a favor and execute (and verify) full backups of all migration related databases. Validate your results Ideally, the migration platform will have a mechanism for performing programmatic validation of content. Have your business users review the migrated content A migration is only officially successful when the business says it is successful. The business users know the content better than anyone. They have the ability to look at the migrated content and know if something is wrong. Turn those crawls on Now is the time to configure the full crawl schedule, kick off a full crawl and then configure the incremental/continuous crawls (in that order). You want the full crawl to get started. An incremental crawl on tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of documents is nothing short of a painful event on the crawl servers, but a full crawl is designed to handle the load of a raw, not-previouslycrawled content source. If your organization has not taken on a migration before, take your time, test, validate, test again, migrate and then validate again. It is very easy to make a mistake that calls into question the reliability of the migration. If there is any doubt, the doubt must be mitigated. In many cases, there are compliance laws that must be taken into consideration. If a lawsuit requires that archive documents be produced and those documents were lost during a migration, it could be a very costly expense. 5. Making the Most of Your SharePoint Investment SharePoint is a flexible and scalable framework and base infrastructure that can be extended in a cost effective way to meet the needs of any enterprise. Migrating your current content management platform to a robust SharePoint-powered ECM solution will enable your organization to consolidate your technology investment to maximize your already sound investments in proven Microsoft technologies. The SharePoint platform does all the heavy lifting related to content storage, content security, authorization and authentication. The included user interface also provides a powerful foundation for exposing content to end users without a single line of code. But the flexibility is there to bend, stretch, mold and otherwise enhance a
7 solution that is much more than the sum of the out-ofthe-box parts. SharePoint is rapidly becoming the platform of choice due to its practicality, innovation and adoption. However the continued popularity of third-party add-ons have enabled organizations to take advantage of SharePoint as a more robust, and cost-effective, live content management system. There are many considerations to be had and third-party experience is definitely recommended for migrations. Trends show that spend is moving from SharePoint licenses to third-party addons and services. Third-party vendors can fill in the gaps (such as workflow, search and reporting) and provide experienced professional services. However, before soliciting third-party vendor assistance in migrations or add-on value, make sure to do your research. 6. Getting Started Having the right expertise can make all the difference between a painful migration and a successful one. There will certainly be challenges in any migration, even with proper planning and analysis. The key is to have the expertise involved that can handle such challenges and keep the migration running smoothly. KnowledgeLake transforms Microsoft SharePoint into an enterprise-ready ECM platform. We have helped more than two million users in 35 countries, including global Fortune 100 companies, deploy Microsoft SharePoint ECM solutions that deliver rich business outcomes. These solutions include scanning and releasing more than 400,000 documents into SharePoint on a daily basis, and migrating more than 60 million documents from legacy ECM databases into SharePoint. KnowledgeLake has a skilled migration staff with extensive experience and a proven track record of successful migrations. OnBase, EMC Documentum s ApplicationXtender, Laserfiche and others. Our migration process ensures that all content is effectively migrated and tracked for auditing purposes. KnowledgeLake knows that your ECM content is vital to the success of your business. Key benefits to leveraging KnowledgeLake for your migration include: A proven and tested tool that is already developed, and the speed of migration will save you money vs. in-house development and testing KnowledgeLake Professional Services has experts that specialize in migrating content from legacy ECM platforms to SharePoint 7. Conclusion Successful migrations leverage the best practices listed in this white paper - before, during and after - the migration process. As with any migration, you need to do the proper planning and analysis of the legacy system and how it will map to SharePoint. The proper SharePoint architecture will ensure that your solution provides users with quick access to the business-critical information they need today and in the future. With the functionality SharePoint and KnowledgeLake bring, users across the enterprise can leverage the ROI benefits of ECM, including: enhanced compliance, user productivity, more efficient business processes and improved security of business information. KnowledgeLake follows a structured migration process that is proven and reliable. Our detailed methodology and flexible tool set provides us with the ability to execute highly-customized migrations with predictable results time and time again. We work with clients to seamlessly transfer their content into SharePoint; from hard drives, shared drives, s and legacy systems, such as: IBM s FileNet, Xerox s DocuShare, Hyland s