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Migrating from file share to sharepoint

pma111
pma111 used Ask the Experts™
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We plan to move our files across from an existing file share into a new corporate records management system which is based around sharepoint. I want to know what potential issues we may face, i.e. are all file types “compatible” with sharepoint, are there any other issues that we may face, i.e. things work on the file share (2003 server), but when lumping files to within sharepoint, are there any other issues we may face (and solutions)?
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Commented:
Here's an article I wrote which might provide some food for thought;

http://the-north.com/sharepoint/post/2009/11/26/Moving-from-File-Shares-to-Sharepoint-Lists.aspx

The compatibility issue is perhaps one of size and of type.

If an individual file is particularly large i.e. over 2 Gigabytes, then it can't be housed in SharePoint.

If a file is not a Microsoft Office file, i.e. it's a PDF or some such, extensions need to be added to SharePoint to ensure the inner content of the document can be Search Indexed. This is a problem on the Shared Drive or in SharePoint. This is a well trodden path and covered widely on the web like here;

http://scanningwithsharepoint.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/enabling-the-pdf-ifilter-in-sharepoint-to-crawl-searchable-pdfs/

Aside from this no real issues... except that to get the best it's best to add good metadata to content, and you may want a clear out exercise to remove old unnecessary content from the migration.

This is not essential of course, but I assume that anyone migrating a file share to SharePoint would like to reap extra benefits over what the fileshare gives them.

One further thing to mention; Users are used to doing a few clicks to find what they need in the file share. A little basic training on the menus in SharePoint will pay dividends. Demonstrate the value adds, and dont leave them scared about what they can and cant click. Demonstrate the value.

I once went into an organisation where technically savvy people had migrated their file share. They were creating extra copies of files because they didn't know that versioning could be (easily) turned on on Document Libraries. Make sure that doesn't happen - train them. :)
Jamie McAllisterCloud Expert
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Commented:
Since I'm on my soapbox around this issue, I'll also mention commercial tools. For some reason a lot of organisations seem to discount the idea of buying further tooling to aid work like migration "we've paid for SharePoint, why should we buy something else".

Some third party tools can help with migration in terms of adding metadata and aiding cleanup.

I'm not going to plug any particular one, but here is a site that did a comparison with videos (and also acts as a list of the contenders);

https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/eusp/Pages/head-to-head-sharepoint-migration-tool-demo-videos.aspx

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Commented:
Good points! Re:

>>I once went into an organisation where technically savvy people had migrated their file share. They were creating extra copies of files because they didn't know that versioning could be (easily) turned on on Document Libraries. Make sure that doesn't happen - train them. :)

Could you go into this in a b it more detail for a newbie to sharepoint (PS - I am not involved in the migration exercise just looking at it from a risk perspective).
Jamie McAllisterCloud Expert
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Commented:
SharePoint has a heap of new features and value adds over a file share. I mention these in the article above.

e.g. Suddenly the content users get better and more granular security, search, customizable views to organise and sort data, auto-backup, versioning (major and minor), ability to check-in and out, online editing, and if SharePoint 2010 the ability to work on the same document at the same time with auto-merging. Ability to work offline and sync with devices while back in the office with Workspace. Also less tangible benefits like mobile device access.

Some of these are free simply because your files are now in SharePoint. Others like search and Views benefit enormously from metadata being added to the files so the product has something to work with.

In my experience of putting in SharePoint for clients for the past several years, there is a perception that SharePoint is just like Microsoft Office - install and forget it, the users will just use it. This is not so. There are benefits which users may not be aware of if not told about, and there are resentments that something like copying the document to local desktop is not three mouse clicks instead of two (sic).

Users need to be educated on the basic features that will add value to their daily work - of which there are many. An hours training a piece is enough for most. Without this, users try to do things the old way, the deployment of SharePoint doesn't give the payback it should. Project might be regarded as a failure.

I always face resistance when I take the position that all SharePoint users receive at least basic training in the new features. It's regarded as an extravagance to give this training. A waste of time. But it isn't - it's making the probability of project success a great deal higher.

Remember my tech savvy users who didn't know they could easily enable versioning? Three mouse clicks to do it. They could have clicked around and found it themselves, or googled a blog about it, but left to their own devices they didn't. Important lesson.

They need nudges in the right direction.

This topic is called End User Adoption and there's plenty on the web about it - though I've seen nothing that provides a one fits all solution. Should have some time and resource in the project plan though...

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Commented:
Ok thanks, and if you have a link on user training to see what advanced stuff they can do with sharepoint that they couldnt before thatd be great.

Could you explain the auto-backup feature and how that is different to traditional backup.
Jamie McAllisterCloud Expert
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Commented:
I'm just writing an article on the base features I think are important for end users to learn. Basic document management features. I'll update this thread with a link when I publish it.

Backup is performed by your SharePoint administrator. It's got the robustness of SQL Server backups behind it. The only thing to watch out for is that item level restore is only available with third party tooling. It can be scheduled.

In that sense the backup of the file share may be on a par with SP Backup, but maybe not.

Here's an overview of backup;

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee663490.aspx

Some tools that can make backup better for the enterprise are by Idera, Avepoint, and Red-Gate to name some examples.
Jamie McAllisterCloud Expert
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Commented:
Actually I should also add this link below. Microsoft provide great and very accessible resources for end users. If your end users were to dip into this material on a regular basis they'd be way ahead of the competition:

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/Pages/End-User-Training-Guide.aspx
Jamie McAllisterCloud Expert
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Commented: