Lotus Notes to SharePoint Blog

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

Category Archives: SharePoint Online

Introducing Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.2

This release will be downloadable from the web site in a couple days. 

The biggest feature by far is full SharePoint 2013 support.  Everything you could do in SharePoint 2010 you can now do in SharePoint 2013 and the new version of Office 365.  Its that simple!

The other features from our release notes are:

  • Zip attachments while migrating
  • Support for Pass-through HTML
  • Special handling of documents containing just one attachment
  • Full folder migration (example: Domino.Doc binders)
  • Support for multiple Notes passwords
  • Improved lookup field support (add missing choices)
  • Improved support for migrating to Claims-based environments
  • Render with form improvements (computed subforms, etc.)
  • Discovery process is more robust

Some of these features will be more self-explanatory than others.  I will be posting detailed walkthroughs of a lot of these features here in coming days.  You can also check out the “what’s new” section of the user guide or watch my recorded “update” training here: http://communities.quest.com/docs/DOC-14812

Allowing PDF files to open in the browser

Does your SharePoint server force you to save PDF files to disk first, instead of opening them directly from your list or library?  If you are lucky enough to have access to SharePoint Central Administration, there is a simple way to fix this in your web application’s General Settings.

 

The details are discussed in this blog post by Bram Nuyts: http://bramnuyts.be/2011/11/03/allowing-pdf-files-to-open-in-the-browser/

Now if only Microsoft would change this setting on Office 365!  Without it, archiving your old Notes applications as PDF documents is a lot less satisfying.

New Webcast: Migrating Lotus Notes Applications to SharePoint Online in Office 365

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.

Office 365 launches… Now read the white paper!

Last week, Microsoft  announced the launch of Office 365

One week before that, my awesome new white paper, “Migrating Lotus Notes Applications to Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online”, went live on the Quest web site.

Here is a sneak peek at the table of contents:

Introduction
Pre-Migration Analysis
    Introduction
    Discovering All of Your Notes Databases
    Determining What You Don’t Have to Migrate
    Understanding the Complexity of Your Applications
    Consolidating Similar Application Designs
Formulating your Migration Plan
Migrating Notes Application Content
    Application Migration Overview
    Lists, Libraries and Pages
    Migrating Content to Standard Lists
    Migrating Content to Custom Lists
    Migrating to Document Libraries
    Generating Documents
    Using Document Sets
    Migrating Content to SharePoint Pages
    Archiving Legacy Content: Document Rendering
Migrating Application Designs
    Migrating Schema from Notes Applications
    Migrating Form Designs to InfoPath
    Migrating Approval Process and Workflow State
    Deploying Sandbox Solutions
Understanding the Limitations of Office 365
    Connecting to Enterprise Data
    Mail-In Databases
    Deploying Custom Code
    Standard Server Settings
    Bandwidth and Throttling
    Other “Missing” Features
Conclusion
Appendix A – SharePoint Online Deployment Basics
    Getting Started
    Choosing the Right Office 365 Plan
    Basic Tenant Administration
    Adding Users and Synchronizing Directories
    Provisioning and Managing Site Collections
    Building your SharePoint Sites

 

Let me know what you think!

PS:  A similar paper on migrating to SharePoint Online Dedicated (aka BPOS-D) is going through post-production now.  Stay tuned.

Office 365 Public Beta – a Celebration, a Warning and a Request

As many of you already know, Microsoft announced the public beta for the Office 365 platform yesterday (Yeah!).  See this site for details:  http://www.microsoft.com/office365

What this means for me is that all the hard work my team has been doing to add Office 365 support to Notes Migrator for SharePoint will now be available to a much wider audience.  I have talked to literally dozens of customers and partners who were chomping at the bit to get into the beta program and start migrating stuff.  This announcement also means that our NDAs are lifted and I can now publically discuss my (very positive) experiences with Office 365 .  I have a lot to say, so stay tuned.

WARNING:  Recent changes have been made to the Office 365 authentication system in the beta environment.  This means that the official Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0 release you can download from the web site will not be able to connect to your beta account as advertised.  We already have a hotfix that addresses this issue and the fix will also be in the upcoming 6.0.1 release.  You can request the hotfix from Quest support or just email me at steve.walch@quest.com.

REQUEST:  Microsoft also just launched a beta version of the new Microsoft Online MarketplaceNotes Migrator for SharePoint is listed there of course, but there are no independent product reviews.  As tempted as I am to post glowing reviews of my own product, I don’t think that was the intention of the site. Smile   So my request is that anyone who has used the tool on a real migration project (to Office 365 or not) post a review here.

By the way, many people have asked me whether they can count on being able to migrate to the Office 365 beta now and have the content roll over into the release version later.  I am happy therefore to share this statement I found in the FAQ section of the new beta site:

Q. What happens at the end of the Office 365 Beta?
A. The beta program will transition into a trial when Office 365 is commercially released. Then participants will have 30 days after trial activation to choose whether or not to continue with the service as a paid offering.

Getting started with Multiple SharePoint Environments

Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0 now allows you to manage connection information to multiple SharePoint environments. Previously, if your staging and production environments required (for example) different passwords you would have to change the password configured in the tool when you wanted switch between them. Now you can save a set of connections for every SharePoint environment in your world and the tool will automatically pick the appropriate one.

To accommodate this, the Advanced Configuration Options dialog has been redesigned somewhat. Now the SharePoint tab has a checkbox at the bottom:

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When you check this box, the user interface changes info multi-environment mode and you can define multiple environments. Now each environment maintains its own connection type, credentials for authenticating, settings appropriate for that type of connection, and list of available site collections:

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When selecting a target site or running migration jobs, all site collections in all environments will be available.

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Getting Started with Migration via Native SharePoint 2010 Web Services

Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0 now allows you to migrate directly to SharePoint 2010 environments without needing to install the Notes Migrator for SharePoint Import Service (or any other Quest code) on your SharePoint front end servers.  This of course is a huge win for anyone who operates a highly secured SharePoint environment where asking to install a third product raises eyebrows.  It is also essential for migrating to SharePoint Online / Office 365 (option 3 in this blog post).

Enabling this migration mode in Notes Migrator for SharePoint is simple.  Go to the SharePoint tab in Advanced Configuration Options and set the connection type for your environment to “SharePoint 2010 Web Services”.  You will notices that there are actually two choices here, one that uses “Classic Mode Authentication” and another that uses “Claims Based Authentication”. 

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For SharePoint Online (Office 365 or BPOS-Dedicated) use “Claims Based Authentication”.  For most other sites, use “Classic Mode Authentication” unless you know your SharePoint environment is using CBA.  We will cover more about how authentication works with CBA sites in a separate article.

For environments configured to use “SharePoint 2010 Web Services”, the Settings dialog is slightly different than for environments that use the Import Service.

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The main option here indicates whether to you want to use the Quest Link Tracking Service for documents migrated to this site.  For most people, the answer would be “yes” because the value of preserving intra-document links is so high.  One thing to be careful about however is that the default URL for resolving dynamic links is a layouts page in the current site.  Unless you are planning to install Quest’s Front End Services or Sandbox Link Redirector solution, that redirector page is not going to be there.  It is a good idea in this case to specify an alternate Redirector page URL, otherwise users would see broken links until you got around to finalizing them.

Back on the main environment configuration dialog, click on the Credentials link to specify your method of authenticating with the server.

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Once you have configured the type of connection you want and related options, everything else works pretty much the same as it did when you were migrating via the Import Service. 

So what are the limitations of migrating via web services instead of via the Import Service?  The good news is “not much”.  The new SharePoint 2010 web services are surprisingly complete and our developers have found ways to do almost everything our tool needs to do through them.  As of today, there is only one known limitation:

  • Can’t migrate to SharePoint 2010 managed metadata fields.

To overcome this and any future limitations, we have introduced a new component called the “Lightweight Migration Service”, which I will discuss in more detail tomorrow.  (Unfortunately, this option is not yet available on Office 365, but it is available for BPOS-Dedicated and on-premises servers.)

One additional issue is performance.  In some (but not all) cases, it takes longer to migrate through the SharePoint 2010 web services than it would have to migrate through the Quest Import Service.  Also the default connection timeouts etc., for the web services reside in SharePoint config files and some people would not want to have to reconfigure them for the sake of a migration tool. 

For these reasons, we don’t expect the Import Service to go away any time soon.  But for many people the ability to get up and running without having to install anything on the server is a huge benefit.

Why is this space so hot right now?

Someone inside Quest recently asked me why the Notes application market is so white hot right now.  Thought I would share my answers here…

1. This is prime time for Notes migrations.  SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online have opened the floodgates of a migration wave that was already peeking.  Office 365 in particular delivers many of the improvements that Notes customers were eagerly waiting for.  Hundreds of the world’s largest organizations are committed to migration off of Notes over the next few years.  Similarly, many of the world’s largest system integrators have geared up to help them.

2. SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online create many new opportunities – and new challenges – for migrating complex Notes applications.  New capabilities such as document sets, managed metadata, search and scalability improvements, wiki pages, office integration are all seen as game changers for Notes shops looking to migrate.  InfoPath list forms, new built-in workflow and data validation features, and the ability to integrate external SQL Server databases as “external lists” dramatically reduce the cost of rebuilding complex applications.  Quest was the first Notes application migration tool to support SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online and (with Notes Migrator for SharePoint version 6.0) is rapidly innovating further ways to allow Notes migration customers to leverage these new platform capabilities. 

3. This is not a job for lightweight migration tools.  Because Notes was the platform of choice for building secure, collaborative applications for a so many years, organizations may have tens of thousands of old Notes applications.  Some are still business critical and many others contain valuable and often highly sensitive data that needs to be preserved with full fidelity.  Migrating all these applications correctly can be a very expensive undertaking for an IT department or an outside consultant.  Quest continues to invest heavily in this problem space because we realize that every incremental improvement we make can literally mean millions of dollars in ROI for our customer base.  It is paying off as the deeper people go into complex migrations, the better we look.

Introducing the Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0 beta program

Here we are with Notes Migrator for SharePoint 5.3.3  just out the door and we are already talking about the 6.0 beta!  For a variety of reasons, we were working on both releases in parallel for several months now.  The release is far from done, but the beta already includes some very cool stuff:

  • Support for InfoPath List Forms (SharePoint 2010)
  • Support for Document Sets (SharePoint 2010)
  • Adobe Acrobat (PDF) document generation
  • Option to migrate via native SharePoint 2010 web services
  • Ability to authenticate with servers running Claims Based Authentication
  • Office 365  / BPOS-S support (utilizing the above 2 features)
  • Lightweight Migration Services (for even better BPOS-D support)
  • Migrate to SQL Server databases
  • New Designer menus (including MRU lists)

This time, the beta will be managed on the new SharePoint for All community site.  If you would like to participate in the beta program, go to http://communities.quest.com/groups/notes-migration-product-beta-group.  Sign in with your Quest Community ID, or register to create a new one.  Then press the “Ask To Join This Group” button.

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One of the site owners will review your request and will typically approve it the same day.  You will receive a notification and then get full access to technical content and (of course) the beta build itself.

Quest Support will not be able to help you with this version until it releases, so please use the group’s Discussion area for any questions, problems or suggestions.

Migrating Lotus Notes data to Office 365 beta… NOW

Now that the next generation of SharePoint Online (Office 365) has gone into beta, we know that many of our customers are itching to start migrating their Lotus Notes applications to the cloud.  Well I am happy to report that Quest is ready to help you.

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Starting next week, selected customers will be using pre-beta versions of Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0 to migrate to their Office 365 beta sites.  If you want to be included in this, please contact your Quest sales rep or reach out to me directly at steve.walch @ quest.com.

Why would Notes customers care about SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online?  Here again are links to a webcast [link] and a white paper [link] on that topic.

Migrating to the SharePoint Online platform (BPOS)

[Update: With the launch of Office 365, this article is somewhat out of date.  Notes Migrator for SharePoint now supports migrating directly to both the Standard and Dedicated flavors of Office 365 via standard Sharepoint 2010 web services.  For the Dedicated offering, most customers will still elect to use Option 1 or (more likely) the Hybrid approach listed below.  See https://notes2sharepoint.org/category/sharepoint-online/ for more details.]

If you are talking to Microsoft about getting off of Lotus Notes, I have no doubt that you are hearing about, and probably seriously considering, Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), also referred to as Microsoft Online (MSO).  There is a Dedicated version (BPOS-D), which give large enterprises the opportunity to have private hosted servers dedicated to just them, and a Standard version (BPOS-S) for everyone else.  SharePoint Online is, of course, part of these suites.

There is a ton to say about the Dedicated and Standard offerings, most of which I will save for another day, but here I want to focus on migrating the content of your legacy Notes applications to the cloud.  I have not blogged about it much, but I have been deeply immersed in this issue for over a year now – working with various Microsoft teams, helping customers think about and then conduct such migrations, and (of course) working to make Notes Migrator for SharePoint an ever stronger tool for this job.

As you will see below, there are now three good options to consider when migrating to SharePoint Online Dedicated and really only one for Standard.  For Dedicated, there are many trade-offs and factors to consider and some customers are looking at a hybrid approach as discussed at the end of the article.  SharePoint 2010 is definitely changing the game here (both because of the new capabilities of the platform and the new migration options) and many of our customers are waiting for the 2010 releases of SharePoint Online to begin serious migrations.

As you read this, note that much of this discussion is not really specific to BPOS.  SharePoint Online is in many ways really just a very secure environment with very high expectations of reliability and uptime, not all that different from what we see our large enterprises customers trying to deploy internally.  These options are all worth considering for any large enterprise migration.

Option 1: Bulk migration via a staging environment (Dedicated only)

The first option is to use an on-premises staging environment.  This could be as simple as a single server on a VM or a beefy multi-server farm, preferably on the same WAN as your old Notes/Domino environment.  You install the Notes Migrator for SharePoint Import Service here and do all migration work inside your firewall.  If needed, you would also do the bulk of your site development and customization work in this environment, as well as end-user acceptance testing.  When you are ready, you simply detach your site’s content database from your on-premises SharePoint farm, FTP or FedEx it (depending on the size) to the Microsoft data center, and Microsoft will add it into your hosted SharePoint farm.  Even when doing pure on-premises migrations, many of our customers prefer to use a staging environment as a best practice anyway, so this is a strong option to consider.

Advantages

  • Performance and bandwidth – If you have lots of data to migrate (and some of our customers have terabytes!) the time it would take to send it all over the wire becomes prohibitive.  It is much faster to migrate locally and then ship the content databases.
  • Easier to manage and configure things – Once your data goes live, you will no longer to be able to access Central Administration directly; if you need something changed, submit a change request.  While things are still in staging, you have the ability tweak the CA settings and other things that might impact your migration.
  • Test environment – Of course a staging environment can also be a test environment, which most people want anyway.  Even if you are not writing custom code, you will probably want to configure your target sites, customize lists / libraries / pages / web parts, and customize your migration jobs to match.  This often works best as an iterative process done in a staging environment rather than a live production environment.
  • Simplicity – This is the option that Microsoft usually recommends first and for good reason.  There is no need to approve and install additional software in the production environment, think about the bandwidth issues during an intense migration phase, grant administrative access to the migration team, etc.  From the production team’s perspective, all these things represent risk.  Better if the migration team does all their work in the staging environment and the deployment team does not have to think about anything other than plugging in the content databases.

Disadvantages

  • Granularity – Promoting content to production by moving content databases tends to be an all-or-nothing event.  You have to get every list in every site in the content database exactly right, validate that the users are happy with the result and that you did not miss any of the content, and then pull the plug.  If you find out a month later that one of your team rooms had a custom field that you did not know about, you will not have the opportunity to re-migrate to the same location. 
  • Timing – Related to the granularity issue above, you have to wait for the entire content database to be migrated before you can “go live” with the first list.  On top of that you have the time required to ship the content to Microsoft and wait for the next change window.  All this can add up to weeksbetween the last day a user is allowed to enter content in the old Notes application and when the user can enter new stuff in the online version of that application.
  • Surprises – SharePoint Online has some limitations and it is possible that some of the features, web parts, connectivity options, etc., that you designed into your new SharePoint site will not be allowed in production.  These same limitations would be there regardless of which migration method you used, of course, but with this option there is a risk that you would not find out about it until the day you were expecting to go live in production.  The remedy is to study the documentation carefully and do trial migrations well ahead of time.
  • Link Finalization – If you are using Quest’s innovative Link Tracking Service, you are likely to want to “finalize” all your Dynamic Links (i.e. replace them with permanent direct links) once the migration is finished.  Of course you will probably finalize as many links as you can in your staging environment before promoting your content, but in large migrations there will always be exceptions.  The documents that you migrate this month are likely to contain at least some links to the documents you plan to migrate next month.  You will not be able to finalize such links using Option 1 alone.

Option 2: Direct migration via Quest’s Import Service (Dedicated only with custom approval required)

The second option is to install the Notes Migrator for SharePoint Import Service on your hosted production SharePoint farm.  To someone who is experienced with our product, this may seem like a no-brainer.  We have a mature, elegant, client-server solution in which the components talk to each over secure, efficient web services.  So it only makes sense to install the server bits on the server, right?

Well there is one big problem with this approach: Microsoft is (understandably) very, very careful about what they allow to be installed on their servers.  They are concerned about the fact that there is third-party code running on their servers, the fact that they may need to get involved in configuring and troubleshooting this service, and the fact that a period of intense migration traffic may tax the servers beyond the normal usage that the platform was designed to support.

For these reasons, installation of tools such as the Notes Migrator for SharePoint Import Service is treated as a special “customization” requiring a special approval process.  The end-customer needs to submit the paperwork (with Quest’s help, of course) and participate in the testing and approval process.  This is a lot of extra work for all parties and we encourage customers to carefully consider whether it is worth the trouble.  It can be done – and our customers have gone through it and lived to tell the tale – but if you can tolerate the limitations of Option 1, or wait or Option 3, doing so will save you time and energy.

Advantages

  • Real-Time Migrations – You can use the Notes Migrator for SharePointclients to design a  migration job and immediately run it.  This includes not just content migration, but also provisioning of target sites, lists and libraries, custom schema, security and more.  You and all your stakeholders can see what the result looks like immediately.  Best if all, if you want to adjust something you can make a change to your migration job and run it again.
  • Incremental Migrations – In the real world, migrations are not always all-or-nothing.  Sometimes there is a coexistence period in which some users are still entering things in Notes even after others have moved over to SharePoint.  Your project management system in SharePoint may reference a Customer list that is still being maintained in Notes and synched to SharePoint on a nightly basis. These types of scenarios are very hard to accomplish with Option 1 alone.
  • Flexibility – The ability to migrate one list (or even one document) at a time can be very important.  This flexibility allows you to arrange your migration process according to your business needs and priorities, rather than the physical arrangement of which sites are in which content databases, etc.
  • Full functionality – All the awesome features of Notes Migrator for SharePoint are available to you, including the Link Tracking service and the ability to finalize your links at any time.  In addition, ad-hoc user-driven migration may be performed.

Disadvantages

  • Approval Required – As described above, the use of Notes Migrator for SharePointrequires going through Microsoft’s process for customizations.  This is the same process you would have to go through if you developed your own add-ins that need to run outside of the SharePoint 2010 “sandbox”.  As the BPOS-D teams typically run on a quarterly cycle, the timing of the approval process can become an issue.
  • SLA Modifications – Because the Notes Migrator for SharePointImport Service is architected as a stand-alone web application (rather than a SharePoint solution) it makes the approval process even harder.  Microsoft may insist on suspending or modifying your standard Service Level Agreements during the migration period.
  • Bandwidth – Don’t expect to migrate terabytes of data over the Internet to the Notes Migrator for SharePoint Import Service (or to any web service).  People with that kind of volume definitely need to look at Option 1 or a hybrid approach (see below).

Option 3: Direct migration via enhanced web services (SharePoint 2010 releases only)

SharePoint 2010 has a greatly expanded set of web services that are (finally) adequate to the job of migrating content.  (Yes, SharePoint 2007 had web services too, but the limitations were too great for most Notes applications.  For example, it was not possible to migrate a document and preserve the document metadata such as the author name and the created-by date.)  With this option, Notes Migrator for SharePoint can provision things, migrate high-fidelity content, set permissions, etc. all via Microsoft’s out-of-the-box interfaces.  You get the best of both worlds:  real-time content migrations and no additional code needed on the production environment.

IMPORTANT: At the time of this writing, neither SharePoint Online Dedicated or SharePoint Online Standard have released their SharePoint 2010 versions, so I need to stipulate that things are subject to change here.  I do not think that I am liberty to discuss Microsoft’s release schedules, but I will say this much:  If you are participating in the TAP or beta programs for either platform, we would love to work with youIf interested, please contact your Quest sales rep or reach out to me directly at steve.walch @ quest.com.

Advantages

  • Best of both worlds – This option gives you most of the advantages of Option 2 without the need to get anything approved by Microsoft.

Disadvantages

  • Not available yet – As described above, you have to wait for future releases of SharePoint Online to use this method.
  • Throughput – This solution is not as fast as the Notes Migrator for SharePoint Import Service, which was designed expressly for Notes migrations.  The Microsoft interfaces were designed for a variety of purposes (such as building high-end client interfaces) and are necessarily more “chatty”.
  • Bandwidth – As with Option 2, don’t expect to migrate terabytes of data over the Internet using this method.  People with that kind of volume still need to look at Option 1 or a hybrid approach (see below).

The hybrid approach

One of the big limitations of Option 1 was the delays involved in populating the entire content database, shipping it to Microsoft, and getting them to plug it in for you.  But Options 2 and 3 were not effective ways to move huge volumes of data due to bandwidth issues.  The answer to resolving such a situation is the hybrid approach: do a little of both.

The basic idea is to bulk migrate the majority of the content over to your new environment well in advance of shutting off the old environment.  This is sometimes referred to as “pre-staging”.  You can take all the time you need to make sure things are migrated correctly and then promote the content databases to the hosted production environment.  Just before you are about to “go live”, perform a direct incremental migration of just the documents that were added or modified since the bulk migration occurred.

Using this approach, most of the content (say 99% of it) would be bulk migrated using Option 1 and only a small amount would be direct migrated via Option 2 or 3.  In addition, you would still have the ability to do direct migration if needed to deal with exceptions, make corrections, finalize links, etc.

But wait, there’s more…

There are still a few related topics to be discussed here.  I plan to get to them in upcoming articles:

  • Mapping your Notes users to Active Directory accounts that will work in your migrated environment.
  • How to preserve your Notes DocLinks in a migration to the cloud.
  • Deploying mixed SharePoint Online and on-premises SharePoint environments.