I am currently working on a project which makes it my 15th small to large scale content migration experience in total using SharePoint Site Migration Manager tool (SSMM) offered by Metalogix. I am excited my experience with over 15 clients has brought nothing except a good experience for both myself and my clients for less than $100k total (Thats for all 15!), another branch in my career (besides just being a dev or an integration kind of guy) and many ideas on how a product should carry itself to stay in business (Starting from sales all the way down to the development, support and releasing new features).
I thought I should just put together a blog post about them along with addressing couple of questions that may be on your mind. I would love to hear your experiences (positive and negative). Please leave me a comment or email me at [myfirstname] at devhorizon dot come if you want me to incorporate your thoughts or concerns into this post. The end goal is , we all walk away with a better understanding of what they are really good at and what they are not. I also have no experience with other products such as AvePoint or Tzunami, so if you could please shed some lights on them as well, that would be great!
What Metalogix Offers: They offer three migration services:
1. FileShare Migration Manager (FSMM)
2. SharePoint Site Migration Manager (SSMM)
3. Website Migration Manager (WSMM)
What I like about Metalogix:
* Small dotnet based install (4mb – 100% MS solution, no need for Apache Tomcat server, Java and etc;) )
* 5 min install (no moving parts)
* Good docs and videos – very intuitive
* New features rolling out ever 6-8 weeks
* Excellent support
* Restructuring or re-templatizing capabilities for lists, libraries and sites (SSMM)
* Consolidating lists, libraries and sites from multiple source servers (SSMM)
* Merge or split lists (SSMM)
* Promote subsites to site collections or demote toplevel sites to subsites (SSMM). I am currently investigating to see how they are doing this operation under the hood, how much this will put you in the risk of losing your data or metadata and if they use any unsupported ways to accomplish this task – I will keep you posted on this.
Update (14/April/2008): I just confirmed with Metalogix that they are NOT doing anything at db level or any undocumented calls but they use RPC and webservices in conjunction with the API which can be considered as poorly documented calls. Versioning in this process is retained, but page customizations are not preserved as they instantiate new sites based on the target template. The upside here is the sites are all reghosted and so you can leverage the new masterpage framework for customizations. Metalogix can NOT copy custom webpart binaries, page layouts (MOSS 2007 to MOSS 2007), alerts, workflows or content types yet. These functionalities are coming but in the interim , and in the context of site collection promotion/demotion, webparts and content types can be instantiated at copy time if they exist on the target.The workflow is a little more complicated but still very doable and useful. Worflows need to be manually re-associated with list/libs for another 2 months while they work on the new features.
Step 1: Instantiate a new site collection using Migration Manager or central admin.
Step 2: Install custom content types, webparts, workflows
Step 3: Copy/promote or demote content to the target site collection and ML will instantiate the appropriate webparts and content types.
*Easy mapping and migratation from WSSv2/SPS2003 site permissions to WSSv3/ MOSS 2007 (SSMM) *Migrating document libraries and lists to SharePoint sites while retaining views, versions, user-info and metadata (SSMM)
*Adding metadata to docs and HTML content prior to migration (This really gives you a lot of flexibility in migration process – just think about it!) (FSMM and WSMM)
*Ability to correct content links after content has been migrated (Getting old? this option is your friend ) (WSMM) *Rapid prototyping for your SharePoint or CMS demos with actual customer content in it
Honestly, besides the pricing which seems to be a little bit high for some projects (but remember, you get what you pay for!), I have ONLY heard one person complaining about it. It was about FileShareMigration utility (to migrate a large ntfs share to SharePoint) which buckled under pressure and skipped some of the files (This can happen sometimes as a result of server time outs). I have never used FileShareMigration under a huge load , so I have no idea if this is really a problem of the tool or anything else. I am just echoing what I heard. That’s it! (They have also made a lot of improvements over the last year)
Important: Please make sure that Metalogix is the right tool for you , before you jump into it , spent your money and finally find out that there was a free tool ( Such as DavCopy by fellow MVP Maurice Prather ) that can do the job for you. Don’t blame Metalogix (or as a matter of fact any other tool), if you haven’t done your research.
One thing needs to be highlighted here : Metalogix is a content migration tool , it is not superman!, so don’t expect it to do a miracle for you. The other day, someone was asking me if Metalogix can upgrade their V2 web parts to V3 counterparts . C’mon guys! They can, however, copy webparts between sites and servers as long as the binaries are in installed.
Couple of frequently asked questions and answers:
Q) Can Metalogix preserve the timestamp value while transferring list items from V2 to V3? Yes, it absolutely can. This requires a server side component to be installed as it needs to leverage the SP API to do this.
Q) Can Metalogix retain the folder modified by and created ? No.Metalogix cannot retain the folder modified by and created by as there is no SP API available to do this.
Q) What command line features Metalogix offers? You can run projects from all three apps via the command line.This zip file includes the latest WebSite Migration Manager sample actions (C# and VB.Net examples), and the sample actions Getting Started guide. The samples include the C# command line “UILessMigration” utility, as well as:
1) Hello World
2) Create XML Action
3) Merge From External DB (C# version includes UI for mapping multiple Access DB fields to Migration Manager columns)
4) Create New Items
5) Action Wrapper
Here is a link to a video for command line operation of SharePoint Site Migration Manager and here is another one. Pretty much the C# example for ULessMIgration will work with both Website and FileShare Migration Manager.
Q) Are you saying that Metalogix has no issue? No , that’s not true. Every tool has its own glitches and ML is not an exception. Remember, we are looking at an Enterprise tool here, where there is always a trade-off and based on overall positive and negative points a tool (like ML) or even a solution (like SharePoint) is evaluated. Get the trial version and do your research before rushing into it. I see many cases that ML doesn’t make sense at all , so a free tool or even your code is just more than enough.
Q) Can I share my license with my customer? No you can’t. You can definitely showcase to your customer to close the deal, but sharing it is not an option.
Q) What are the SharePoint Site Migration Manager (SSMM) Supported Features? http://www.metalogix.net/products/migrationmanagersp/features.htm