Assess Current State
Posted by Dorinda Reyes
Success or failure of a migration starts with the assessment of your current environment especially when it comes to migrating to the cloud. The services, features, templates and web parts are not 100% one to one available.
The biggest advantage of doing a technical assessments of your environment is to really find out what features have been enabled or added and what content has become stale, is it really useful, does it have purpose.
Below are just a few examples of the type of information that can be captured to make you better prepared:
- Site Templates: These templates vary from one version to the next as well as online versus on-premises. Work-spaces have been deprecated in O365 and are no longer available you will need to have a strategy to move the content from these sites or determine if they are even needed any longer.
- Features: For the most part most of the standard features from one version to the other have been kept. However, if you have any custom built features that you are currently using those will have to be evaluated to decide if they will be used on O365 and if so they will need to be recreated in order to have them work in the new environment.
- Web Parts: This is the one area that I spend a lot of time evaluating. The reason is in most cases when you see that there are issues with web parts it is due to configuration issues associated with changing environments. CQWP and Script editor web parts are good examples of what just needs to be reconfigured to work on the new environment. Where things get a bit more muddy is when you custom built web parts such as Data View web parts. These require a developer to actually go into the code and in some cases completely rebuild the web part to make it compatible with the O365 environment. Additionally, any custom built web part will need to be rebuilt to be used in the O365.
- Workflows: O365 uses by default 2013 Workflows, however if you have 2010 workflows those will migrate over as well. You will need to test them to ensure they are functioning as expected. These can be edited and modified if needed in SharePoint Designer 2013.
- Lists/Libraries: Reviewing your list and libraries is really critical when it comes to migrating to O365. This is due in large part to the thresholds that are put in place for performance purposes by the tenant. Unless you have an enterprise level plan a lot of restrictions are put in place. As with all of the previous versions there are limits that have been assigned to number of items etc. However it is important to remember we are also looking at the actual documents in these libraries to determine if they are still relevant.
- The Fab 40 that was available in the 2010 environments are not available online so your lists and libraries will migrate but some of the custom stuff included in those templates will not be available
- Master Pages, Page Layouts and Branding: One of the biggest areas of concern falls around master pages, page layouts and custom branding. For the most part all of this will have to be redone in some form or fashion. What does this mean? All custom master pages will need to be edited and updated to work on the O365 environment. This also includes any custom page layouts as well. If you have any custom XSL files or JQuery associated with these pages they will also need to be adjusted. CSS files will need to be edited to point to the correct locations.
A lot of times SharePoint sites become glorified filing cabinets and content loses its purpose or value. With doing an assessment you get the ability to know what is really on your environment and using tools to help you run these assessments will ensure you are able to capture those critical areas that need to be addressed prior to migration.
By doing a deep dive into your sites, sub-sites, lists and libraries you will really get an understanding of just how much is really sitting in your environments as well as determine is it current, does it need to be archived, or should it just be deleted. When you are doing your content migration you will be able to use these three areas to ensure only the the correct data is being moved over.
While doing the content assessment keep the following limitations in mind and use the tools to flag areas that need to be addressed prior to migration:
- List Analysis: 5000
- While you can have a lot more items in your lists and libraries the ability to use filtering by columns is disabled if over 5000 items is exceeded. You can enable the feature Metadata Navigation and Filtering to help boost this limit but it is also has thresholds as well.
- List Size Limitations (MB)
- O365 has very strict limitation for the file sizes that can be uploaded to the tenant. If you are not using an enterprise plan this limitation cannot be adjusted.
- Item Size Limitations (MB)
- The default value is 50 MB, but this can be adjusted. SharePoint Online maximum size allowed is 250 MB.
- Additional areas to consider:
- File Path Length should not exceed 256 characters
- Blocked File Extensions
- Invalid Characters
- Name Ending Strings
As you can see just by doing this assessment you will be able to determine the level of effort needed to complete these changes as well as the types of resources you are going to need (PM, BA, Developer).
Assessing your current environment and evaluating the content and technical requirements are in place will continue you down the road to a successful migration.