Migrating Content to SharePoint

This is a live blogging post from the International SharePoint Conference London 2012. So don’t expect well-written proza here.

Session by Kimmo Forss

Content Assessment

  • What do I really need in the new environment?
  • Don’t postpone a cleanup, because you will never come to do it
  • Identify what content exists on premises (where, who, relevancy)
  • Size of the content source (files not suited for sp, duplicates)
  • Assess metadata, type, size and age - not the contents to avoid “I might need that”
  • Archive or delete? < the big question

Application Assessment

  • Much harder than content assessment
  • Data (lists, tables, forms) vs Process (integrations, workflows, custom code)
  • Custom vs OOB
  • Cleanup project should be business driven, not IT driven

Migration Planning

From SP2003

  • Minor effort: OOB lists & libraries
  • Medium effort: simple customizations, list templates to content types, url’s
  • Sizeable effort: changing site definitions (create new ones), re-arranging info architecture structures, co-existence

From SP2007/SP2010

  • Minor effort: OOB lists & libraries
  • Medium effort: simple customizations, url’s
  • Sizeable effort: changing site definitions, re-arranging info architecture structures, co-existence

Moving SharePoint Content

  • multiple ways possible
  • between webapps / between site collections
  • caveats: url’s change, quota templates, dependencies on deployed solutions

Database detach/attach

  • most efficient & preferred way there is
  • caveats: item id’s retained, dependencies on solutions deployed in the farm


  • cannot be used between product versions
  • more granularity possible however
  • caveats: does not retain ids, alerts, audit trails, workflow state, recycle bin
  • export is typically much faster than import


  • retains everything
  • similar to export/import but using different api’s
  • version dependent like export/import
  • caveats: long running, risks for corruption if changes are made whilst backuping, use for sites < 15GB

Moving Non SharePoint content

  • plenty of tools
  • things to plan for: security & permissions, data hierarchies (attachments etc)
  • links to internal or external
  • metadata: external repositories & hierarchies

Migration from file shares

  • minor: just files, no links
  • medium: blocked file types, large files
  • sizeable: acls, inheritance, deep hierarchies

Migration from Public Folders

  • minor: oob forms, no links between docs
  • medium effort: acls, inheritance
  • sizeable effort: analysis, deep hierarchies, embedded objects, compound docs

Kimmo mentioned Lotus Domino too, but by now my fingers are getting sore :-)

Choosing an approach

  • self service (manually)
  • tools (manually)
  • custom code for complex migrations (experts required)



  • planning is key
  • don’t move data unless you need it