SharePoint Tip of the Month

SharePoint 2013 Migration – Lessons learned from multiple years of experience

June 2015

How is your current SharePoint environment?

There has been a lot of requests to migrate to SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online (Office 365). But what do you really need to do in preparation for the big migration?

First, take an inventory of your current environment. All of the following factors play a huge role in how and when to migrate.

  • Number of web apps, site collections, and content databases
  • Size of content
  • Number of custom solutions and/or applications
  • Number of workflows and types of workflows
  • Use of managed metadata
  • Number of InfoPath forms
  • Use of third-party solutions (Nintex, Bamboo, KnowledgeLake, etc.)
  • Current patch level

How are you going to migrate?

Second, determine your best migration approach. Database attach works best when you are not skipping SharePoint versions. So 2010 upgrading to 2013 is the only path supported by database attach method. Otherwise, consider a third party migration tool.

All tools are not created equal.

Some tools will do better than other in certain area. For example, Metalogix Content Matrix will retain original item ID’s. This is particularly important when you have lookup lists that rely on the ID for references. However, Dell Migration Suite is easier to use and licensing is less costly. Choose your tool wisely.

So you can move the contents over, now what?

So moving the contents over is easy. Simple copy and paste, nothing especially exciting. But is this sufficient? Is it ready for go-live? No!

UAT (User Acceptance Testing) is the most important step in migration. Choose your limited audience to test the new environment thoroughly. Here are some areas to pay attention to.

  • Permissions (inherited and unique)
  • Contents match and integrity
  • Workflows migrated
  • Site structures

Tips and tricks

Here are some tips and tricks that may reduce some stress in the process.

  1. Turn off app pool recycle jobs in IIS for source and destination farm during migration. Some jobs may run overnight for larger sites and an app pool recycle will cause interruption and data loss. Remember to turn it back on after migration.
  2. Optimizations of destination farm. Less is more, especially if the servers are VM’s. Do resource planning properly. Size out the farm with enough resources for scaling. Turn on caching when possible. Hold off configuring search crawls until all contents are migrated.
  3. Permissions retention is not automatic. Make sure to check for permissions migration options in the migration tool. Enable it when applicable.
  4. In-flight workflow do not always continue to run on destination farm after migration. If migration tool is used, make sure to verify the workflows are still running. It is possible that they need to be stopped and restarted.
  5. InfoPath forms is likely to be submitting to the old farm. Make sure the URL for submission is updated and republish the form.
  6. Verify that all data migrated by running the compare option in the migration tool. Most tools will have an option to compare the source and destination site and highlight the differences. Use this feature often to validate the data integrity.

This SharePoint Tip contributed by Abel Solutions Senior SharePoint Consultant, Khanh Hoang