Lotus Notes to SharePoint Blog

Blog about Dell's Notes Migrator to SharePoint tool and other things related to Lotus Notes migration projects

How should I connect? How do I link? Which solutions do I need to install?

[Note: I am updating this old post to reflect the latest migration options in Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0.1.  Specifically, the “Lightweight Migration Service” is no longer needed.]

Connection options

Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0 now supports two very different ways to connect to SharePoint sites in order to migrate content to them. 

1. Quest Import Service.  The “classic” way is to install the Notes Migrator for SharePoint Import Service.  This is a stand-alone IIS web application that you run on one or more of your SharePoint front-end server boxes.  You have to directly access (or remote into) a SharePoint front-end server, run the NotesMigratorForSharePoint-Services-64bit-6.0.0.x.msi setup program, and select the “Import Service” option.  You need to be a farm administrator to install it and think about service accounts, permissions, etc. 

You also have to configure every new SharePoint site collection you create to use a particular Import Service instance.  To make this possible you also need to install the “Front End Services” solution included in the same NotesMigratorForSharePoint-Services-64bit-6.0.0.x.msi setup program.  Unless you are putting these components on different physical machines, you would simply install both components at once, which is the default. 

The Quest Import Service is definitely not trivial to install, but it is by far the most powerful and best performing option.  It should be noted, however, that there are three cases where the Quest Import Service cannot be used at all:

  • You are migrating to Office 365 (SharePoint Online Standard or Dedicated)
  • Your SharePoint site is using Claims Based Authentication
  • Your administrator refuses to install third-party code on your SharePoint environment

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2. SharePoint 2010 Web Services.  The new option, for 2010 customers only, is to migrate via Microsoft’s new out-of-the-box web service.  This is much simpler to deploy – in fact there is often no need to deploy anything on your servers at all (see below).  There are really only two disadvantages to using this approach.  First, it can be significantly slower than running migrations via the Import Service.  Second, there is a slight limitation to how our Link Tracking Service works.  As you will see below, everything works in the end, but the user experience suffers a little until you finalize your links.

Linking options

Related your choice of connection options is the choice of Link Tracking Service options.  The Quest Link Tracking Service is an optional feature that keeps track of all the Notes documents you have migrated and dynamically redirects users to the current location.  I won’t go into all the details of the service here, but I want to focus on how the Link Redirector page works. 

If you enable the Link Tracking Service, every Notes DocLink (or HTTP link to a web enabled Notes document) in every migrated document gets converted to an HTTP link to a Link Redirector page (QuestLinkTracking.aspx).  This redirector page typically performs a lookup in a centralized Link Tracking database and then dynamically redirects the user to another migrated document in SharePoint (if it has been migrated) or to the original Notes version (if it has not yet been migrated).  So the natural question here is: Where does this Link Redirector page live and how does it get installed?

There are actually now two different versions of the Link Redirector page that you can choose from.  First is the “classic” one that you get when you install the Front End Services solution described above.  This one is configured on a per site collection basis, alongside the Quest Import Service.

An alternative version is the Sandbox Link Redirector page.  This version is intended for cases where you do not have the ability to install custom solutions and/or you cannot establish SQL connections from your server to the a shared Link Tracking database.  The main case we were thinking of when we designed this solution is Microsoft’s Office 365 environment and other highly secured hosting environments, but there will be plenty of people who prefer this option even for on-premises environments.  This page is packaged as a simple SharePoint solution (Quest.SandboxLinkRedirector.wsp).  Because it is a sandbox safe solution, it can actually be installed by any site collection administrator, even on locked down environments such as Office 365, without involving your farm administrators at all.

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Note that because Sandbox Safe Link Redirector page does not connect to an external Link Tracking database, it always offers to redirect user to Notes, even if the document had been migrated to SharePoint.  In this scenario, users will not actually get redirected to their new SharePoint documents until their links are Finalized.  The saving grace here is that you can Finalize your links as often as you want to.  In productions migrations, customers often choose to Finalize links on a daily basis.

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Putting it all together

Wow that is a lot of options and choices here!  Let me try to simplify things with a nice table.

Migration mode Quest Import Service SharePoint 2010 Web Services
SharePoint versions 2007, 2010 2010
Office 365 (BPOS) Dedicated only Dedicated and Standard
Server installation Administrator must run MSI, etc. None
Server configuration Per site collection None
Performance Fastest Slowest
Functional limitations None None
Link Tracking Service Full Dynamic Link Redirection (via Front End Services solution) Limited Redirection (via Sandbox Link Redirector solution) *

* NOTE: Strictly speaking, it is possible to install the Front End Services solution (with full dynamic link redirection using a Link Tracking database) even if you are not installing the Quest Import Service.  We believe, however, that most people will either want to install the full solution or keep things as light as possible and will not often mix and match.

7 responses to “How should I connect? How do I link? Which solutions do I need to install?

  1. Boyd Collins August 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Steve, I’ve been reading your blog for some time and I always find it valuable. I was wondering if you knew of a way to migrate a dropdown list field in Notes to a SharePoint dropdown list such that the choices in the Notes field become a lookup list bound to the SharePoint field? The documentation indicates that this can’t be done OOB, but I was wondering if there was a way to script the process?

    • swalch August 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      You are correct. In the current version of Notes Migrator for SharePoint, you have to provision the lookup fields manually. This is indeed a pain if you want to actomatically provision the list and then migrate to it. The workaround today is to do that manual work once and save the list as a reusable template in SharePoint. Then have our tool provision future lists using that template (you can specify that in the Target Data Definition).

      In Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.1 (coming this fall) the ability to fully provision the lookup fields will be an OOB feature. We have actually done the dev work already and should have a beta available to key partners by late September.

  2. Martin Curmi September 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Hi, i’m trying to look for more info/reference about the 2010 out-of-the-box web service that you mention. Whats it called?

    • swalch September 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Not sure I understand the question. You do not have to do anything on the server to user these web services. Just point out clients at you SharePoint server and go.

      • Martin Curmi September 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

        I’m talking about migrating data from Notes databases to SP 2010 lists/doc libraries etc. How do you achieve this using this new SP web service? In the past i’ve written Notes agents that updated SP 2007 by calling the UpdateListItems method of Lists.asmx

  3. Logan October 29, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Hi, I am using SharePoint 2010 Web Services for migrating data but now in one database we need to migrate the links also. We could create a dedicated sql database for link tracking. What approach should we use to migrate links? If we use link tracking services then is it needs to be installed on every SharePoint front end server?

    • swalch October 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      No, you only need this if you want dynamic links to work for end users before link finalization occurs. In other words, you can choose to do all link processing from the NMSP clients and if you finalize links as soon as possible, end users will rarely notice the difference.