Should you be upgrading from SharePoint 2003 to 2007 or 2010, you may need to consider how to handle any customisation you have implemented on your current site.
There are a three options that are available for consideration:
- Keep the customisations.
- Replace the customisations.
- Redo the customisations.
The first option is to keep the customisations in place, which will allow you to keep the same look and feel as the current system, however you would not be able to take advantage of any new capabilities at this stage. If this is the option that would best suit you, there are three options; complete an in-place upgrade, do a gradual upgrade and keep the site in the previous version environment (do not upgrade the site) or you can do a gradual upgrade and upgrade the site , but don’t reset any pages to the site definition.
The second option to replace the customisation is a good option if you are planning on a complete site redesign or significantly changing the information architecture. You can accomplish this is one of two ways; one is to complete an in-place or gradual upgrade and then reset all the pages to the default pages from the site definition. The other way, if you do not need the structure or content is to start a complete fresh.
The final option is to redo the customisation. This method allows you to take advantage of the new capabilities and modify the design slightly if that is required and make it more manageable. You could take advantages of the new master pages to apply your design, rather than customise each individual page. There are three ways to redo the customisations. The first is to complete an in-place or gradual upgrade and do not reset the pages to the site definition version. After the upgrade, modify the appropriate master pages and page layouts of the upgraded site to take on the previous version’s look and feel, and then reattach the page layouts to all customised pages. The next option is to complete an in-place upgrade and do not reset the pages to the site definition. After the upgrade, open the site and copy the customisations, and then reattach the page layouts and reapply your customisations to the master pages and page layouts as appropriate. The final way to complete this method is to complete a gradual upgrade and, in the upgraded site, reattach the page layouts. Then transfer the customisations from your original site to the master pages and page layouts in the upgraded site by using Office SharePoint Designer.
The full article can be found at: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/cc263203(office.12).aspx
From research, it has become clear that the most common way to upgrade from SharePoint Server 2003 to Microsoft Office 365 (SharePoint Online), is to first upgrade to MOSS 2007. However there are some third party tools available to facilitate the migration, this will be discussed in another post.
Good planning in advance seems to be the key thing when upgrading a large portal and there are a handful of analyses that should be conducted which are detailed below..
|Type of Analysis
||Number and Type of existing sites
||Understanding this will enable the orgaisation to determine usage and whether or not the sites are used etc.
||Audiences for existing sites
||Understanding the audiences will help to determine the configuration to support the security and access structure.
||Site access methods and requirements
||Understanding methods of access, both current and future desired state enables requirements to be met with MOSS.
||Site feature usage and requirements
||A list of utilized features should collated to ensure that the current site templates are appropriate and satisfy requirements.
||Size of existing sites content database organisation
||Once numbers and types of sites has been established, a primary input to the planning of migration and organistion for MOSS will be how the physical structure of SPS exists.
||Size and placement of existing server farm infrastructure
||Both the physical layout of the servers within the farm as well as the physical implementation of sites within the virtual servers inside SPS Virtual Servers to newly design MOSS Web Applications.
In a further blog post we will be looking at the next steps required when migrating.
Many people have said that to upgrade to Microsoft office 365 from Sharepoint 2003, you would have to first, upgrade from 2003 to 2007, then 2007 to 2010 and finally 2010 to 2010 online. To me, this seamed like an extremely long winded and annoying way of accomplishing this.
After some searching I found that there were several tools to help with the migration process, the most notable being MetaVis migrator, a program that claims it can migrate all content & data from Sharepoint 2003 to Microsoft Office 365. I was a little sceptical of this knowing that there would probably be many compatibility issues from doing a straight transfer. MetaVis did however offer a free trial, a transfer of 1gb worth of data for free, I decided to give this a try using a section of the office 365 site and the universities preview portal.
Connection to both sites using the MetaVis client was easy and from there I could browse the structure of both sites, I was able to views lists, documents and even links, this seemed quite promising. After browsing through both the sites using the client, I transferred a very small portion of the preview portal over to 365. This took around 4 hours to complete but after it had, I located the new site on the 365 browser to check that it had done it successfully. Unfortunately it appeared that the transfer was incomplete, despite it saying no errors, there was not content in any of the sites and only SOME of the data had transferred, some site pages didn’t even get transferred. This put me off a little, however I do have an opportunity to speak with a technician at MetaVis to discuss the client and how best we could use it for the university, if it does work as it is suppose to.
Until I have learnt more about MetaVis I still believe that the transfer to SP07 then to SP10 is the best/safest option.
Rob and I have been working to create an example team site using sharepoint online hosted by Microsoft as part of the Office 365 service. We have made slight modifications to the theme and css file to give the site a clean, simple and professional look to match the green corporate identity the company has. However, we were unable to brand the header and footer to the site, this part of the site is generated at the server and cannot be changed. Part of the limited customisation is due to the version being used, Small Business. This version is designed for those small businesses that would not ordinarily have dedicated IT staff and has been made simple enough so that almost anyone could set up a sharepoint with ease.
We have given the the site the functions a small business is likely to need from employee databases, finance reports and absence recording to document libraries for storing company policies and other project documents and web databases for product ranges. For absence reporting we have used a list to record the information that can be easily exported to MS Excel so that further analysis can be carried out on the data. To improve the user experience rather than typing directly into the list, a pop up form will appear to enable the user to input the information – a much easier and interactive way.
We have also implemented user groups and permissions to enable the Management team to have access to every part of the site and a Staff group, which has a limited view on certain sections of the site. For example there is a section on the site called Management, which contains all managerial documents such as employee records, financial documents and absence records, this section of the site is only accessible to users of the Management group.
We have also integrated web databases to complete the truly cloud experience, enabling users to access all business data from almost anywhere at anytime. These were easily to create and upload to the Team Site, meaning that businesses with no dedicated IT staff should find it easy to set something like this up. It all depends on what the business requires the database to do, so it could get more complex, depending on the specification. The only problem we have experienced using web databases so far is that reports do not currently work, although this should be resolved in the general release, code does not appear to be allowed on web databases and macros seem to have limited functionality. We have also created many lists to house public contacts, absences, word excel and powerpoint documents, and announcements to be used as a method of updating a team with business news. Announcements are a really useful tool within small businesses as many of the staff can often be part time, so they will frequently miss out on vital communication, this way they can all be kept up to date wherever they are.
Next we will be looking at the external site, also provided as part of the Microsoft Office 365 service and using that to reach the clients to the business.