SharePoint Migration

SharePoint Migration

Are you still on MOSS 2007? SharePoint 2010?

Organizations are struggling with their migration strategy waiting for the right time, right budget and right opportunity to plan conversion to latest and greatest version of SharePoint. And then the dilemma of upgrading to SharePoint on premise or moving to SharePoint Online. As they say, any solution will be acceptable if you are not aware of the underlying problem. The following are top six issues that can cause any SharePoint migration project to fail.

  • Unrealistic power users and end user’s demands: The moment power users are communicated that SharePoint is being converted to the latest version, demands start pouring in. Users start expecting rocket science and your SharePoint migration turns into a mars mission.
  • Failing to know limitations of target system: SharePoint Online or SharePoint 2013, there are limitations when it comes to migrations. And these limitations are for greater good. But not knowing them results into a situation where it would be tough decision what to leave behind.
  • Thinking SharePoint Online is zero administration: Yes, cloud is minimal administration but certainly not zero administration. In fact, there can be greater administrative overhead when using apps and BI functionality.
  • Inadequate infrastructure planning: How much is too much? How many servers would you need?
    What kind of network bandwidth is available for remote users? Centralized or Distributed? Single farm or multi farm.
  • Accepting content status quo: Migrations fail because migration teams don’t effectively demonstrate to content owners the critical importance of content auditing.
  • Poor Governance Planning: You form a governance team but is it over crowded. Too many decision makers or too less influencers can take the project down.

And then there are other decision points. What should be the conversion strategy. Should you upgrade using conventional methods or migrate using a tool? Apparently, each SharePoint version has its own optimal architecture and design that requires solid planning for a successful migration. And add to that, it is utmost necessary to have a governance vehicle to drive the project to success.

As a consultant, I help organizations plan and execute their migration goals based on the following framework.

Figure 1

  • During the content assessment phase, the site inventory is captured and capacity planning is done to determine what kind of configuration target farm should have.
  • During the rationalization phase, content strategy would be determined as to which content goes to SharePoint Online (if available), to SharePoint On premise or form a disposition strategy where the content would be deleted.
  • During the migration phase, content would be migrated using the tool or database attach upgrade and validated for consistency.

Key deliverables

  • SharePoint Infrastructure Plan
  • SharePoint Migration Plan
  • Governance Plan
  • SharePoint Integration Plan

For more details and quick quote, please write an email to ravi@gokulgandhi.com

Office 365 – Configuration, Migration & Support

Office 365 – Configuration, Migration & Support

You have acquired your Office 365 tenant!!! Congratulations.

Every organization thinking about moving to cloud based services using Office 365 and Microsoft Azure services encounters a common question. How do we move there? And once we are there what do we do next? Enterprises willing to move to Office 365 have common goal in mind. Showing quick wins. Quick savings and quick accolades. But realistically, there are many challenges that restrict them from taking the first step.

As a consultant, I help organizations achieve their execution goals to move their workload to Office 365. The service offering is depicted in the following illustration.

Figure 1

Configuration: This is very critical stage that defines how would a particular service in Office 365 would be used and covers configuration of following feature and functions.

  1. Domain Validation and DNS Configuration – Domains are validated for use by making changes to your domain registrar and DNS catalog.
  2. Active Directory Sync using Azure AD Sync client – This is optional but very effective if you are currently using Active Directory to manage your identity and access.
  3. Single Sign on configuration – This is very complex but effective configuration to allow your users to leverage single sign on by login from your domain joined computer.
  4. Readiness – Readiness for Exchange, SharePoint & Skype for Business services.

Migration: At this stage, we prioritize migration of mailboxes and content.

  1. Exchange Migration: Whatever would be your current mail server, there is a migration path defined. Be it Google Apps for Work, IMAP based mail services or several PSTs, I have got it covered.
  2. SharePoint Migration: Migrating content from various document repositories like Network Share, Google Drive, Dropbox or your My Documents folder, I can help migrate content to OneDrive for Business or SharePoint sites.

Support: This is the stage where your tenant has stabilized and your user are so excited and overwhelmed that they seek changes and support. The following support options are available.

  1. Managed Services – As a partner on record for your Office 365 tenant, I would provide end to end tenant support which includes user management, Level 1 support, coordinate with Microsoft Support. This would also include remote administration of your tenant, notification of upcoming service issues and end user support.
  2. Training – I offer training services administrators and engineers to administer, support and maintain office 365 tenants. These training also includes understanding of mailbox migration, content migration and addressing single sign on issues.

I have seen organizations getting overwhelmed with requests around Office 365 and it is of utmost importance to have well established process and guidelines in place to avoid misconfigurations and unavoidable changes that break critical functionality.

For more details and quick quote, please write an email to ravi@gokulgandhi.com

Build SharePoint Farm

Build SharePoint Farm

Building a production class SharePoint farm is a complex task for enterprise. There are best practices and then there are infrastructure constraints. And for organizations, it becomes immensely difficult to decide between building a sustainable near perfect farm vs a faster scalable deployment based on limitations of available infrastructure. The needs of various stakeholders should be kept in mind while building a production grade farm as you would for sure come across a point where you are asked “how much is too much”?

Your executive team may ask for cost effective solution with predictable budgeting and increased customer satisfaction. Your business may be struggling to get a solution with faster time to market by bringing in agility and faster adaption to change. And your technology infrastructure team would want you to target operational efficiency by using minimal infrastructure components and leverage existing infrastructure and licenses where ever you can.

One of the service I provide as part of my consultancy is to plan and build production quality farm that both follows industry standard practices and solutions customized to your organizations need.

As you can see in the following image, there are various moving parts that are configured and tweak to build a sustainable farm.

Figure 1

Each of these moving parts needs to be carefully planned and configured to avoid architectural debt. And in the event of creating a hybrid environment with Office 365, there are additional moving parts involved that require specific configuration to enable Hybrid features of SharePoint & Office 365.

Engagement Model

It is important to understand goals and metrics before building a SharePoint farm. The engagement model depends on the following scenario.

  1. Build Farm Only: In this model, I help organization build complex SharePoint farm given pre-defined requirements, architecture and infrastructure.
  2. Advisory Service + Build Farm: In this model, I perform an assessment of business needs and existing infrastructure landscape, analyze capacity needs and build the farm.
  3. Advisory Service + Build Farm + Configure Hybrid: In this model, a detailed assessment of business needs that drive hybrid configuration would be done in addition to capacity planning and farm architecture.

Deliverables

Depending upon the engagement model, the following deliverables would be provided after agreement with the client.

  1. Assessment Reports
  2. Farm Architecture
  3. Capacity Plan
  4. Automated Scripts to build the farm

Case Study

  1. A large manufacturing company based out of North America wanted to configure SharePoint 2013 Business Intelligence farm. The key challenges were to use freshly built SQL Server Analysis Service data warehouse cluster and configure SQL Server Reporting Services to use with this cluster. The farm configuration included Kerberos configuration for Business Intelligence and external access enabled without putting SharePoint 2013 web front end servers on DMZ.
  2. A system integrator based out of UAE wanted to build Hybrid SharePoint 2013 farm with their Office 365 tenant to demonstrate hybrid capabilities.
  3. Build a large extranet farm and configure external access using Azure AD Proxy.

For more details and quick quote, please write an email to ravi@gokulgandhi.com