DSE Scenario - Sharepoint Migration

DSE Scenario - Sharepoint Migration

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This article is a follow up from the "Dedicated Support Engineers: What They Are and How They Can Help You" post.

Over the last 4 year I have worked with a number of Microsoft Premier Support customers who were either migrating from SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) 2003 to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 or from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010. In this post I will share my experiences of these engagements to highlight how a DSE can add value to a SharePoint 2010 migration project. I will also describe some of the activities a DSE will either drive  or become involved in to ultimately help you to ensure that a migration to SharePoint 2010 is successful.


What the Customer Was Trying To Do

The customer that I will primarily base this article on was migrating from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010. MOSS 2007 was deployed globally in four separate regions and was used for collaboration purposes. The main drivers for the migration to SharePoint 2010 included new functionality, such as Office Web Applications and PerformancePoint Services, and also the administrative and architectural improvements that had the potential to reduce support costs.


How a DSE Helped Make This a Success

I was assigned as a dedicated resource for 2 days a week working with the customer alongside their project and SharePoint support teams.

I was engaged from the start of the project for a period of 12 months. Over the course of the engagement I built up a strong relationship with both the project and support teams. I spent some time early on in the engagement understanding how the customers SharePoint was currently deployed, how it was configured and how it was supported and maintained. I also took time to work with the project team to understand their timescales. This allowed me to identify, early on, any risks to the success of the project.

Microsoft Consulting Services were engaged to design the solution and I worked closely with the architect to include field best practices and supportability guidelines.

I led the following activities that were delivered over the course of the engagement:

  1. Improving the Support Teams SharePoint 2010 Skills – The existing support team had limited experience with SharePoint 2010. Over the course of the engagement I delivered a number of custom skills transfer sessions (chalk and talks) to the customer. The primary objective was to ensure the support teams had the confidence, experience, skills and tools to effectively support the environment at the point of go live. The support teams were based across the world so these sessions were delivered remotely to ensure maximum scope and attendance.
  2. Supportability Review – It’s of the upmost importance to us that all customers deploy our products in a supportable and consistent manner. During the engagement a supportability review of the proposed SharePoint 2010 environment was carried out. A supportability review aligns the planned deployment with Microsoft best practices and support guidelines. A number of key issues were found and rectified prior to deployment ensuring the long term health and stability of the new system.
  3. Review Disaster Recovery documentation – Disaster recovery is an essential component of any SharePoint deployment, I reviewed the customers’ existing disaster recovery documentation to ensure that this adhered to Microsoft best practice and that it didn’t pose any un-necessary risk to the environment. I then worked with the customers DR team to ensure any changes were understood, tested, documented and implemented.
  4. Migration Strategy – The customer had terabytes of content that needed to be migrated from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010 and the migration window they had was very small. I reviewed the plans, found the approach wouldn’t allow enough time to complete the migration, so I advised the customer of an alternate approach. The alternative approach minimised disruption to end users and also provided a more flexible and less risky migration.
  5. Risk and Health Assessment – I delivered a SharePoint Risk and Health Assessment of the existing MOSS 2007 environment to identify any potential issues within the environment. This enabled the customer to address each of the issues and ensure that the MOSS 2007 was in a healthy state prior to its migration to SharePoint 2010. The assessment identified health and risk issues, for example the disaster recovery plan was un-supported and we identified a number of issues with SharePoint content databases. I worked with the customer to devise an effective remediation plan.
  6. Addressing Issues Found with SharePoint 2010 – Prior to going live, during the testing phase some issues were identified with SharePoint 2010. Many of the issues I was able to deal with directly, and where I needed assistance and escalation I worked with the customer, Microsoft Premier Support and the SharePoint Product Group to ensure that these issues were investigated and addressed.
  7. Helping with Premier Support Calls – There were a number of outstanding support issues with the existing MOSS 2007 environment. I used this as an opportunity to work with the customer support teams, to help them identify and troubleshoot the root causes. This had two benefits, the first was to reduce the number of open support tickets and the second was to spend time with the support team to understand their processes and practices and impart my skills wherever possible.

In summary this DSE engagement has helped the customer to reduce the potential risks involved in a migration to SharePoint 2010.

Using a pro-active approach any potential issues and risks proposed in the design were addressed prior to the go-live. This ensured the environment was deployed in line with Microsoft best practice and support guidelines.

The support teams were provided with the skills and knowledge necessary to be able to support SharePoint 2010 from day one.

The project team had somebody dedicated to helping them ensure that the project was a success.

From a re-active perspective as a DSE, I ensured that every issue identified was addressed.

Thanks for reading

Brendan Griffin

Dedicated Support Engineer



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