Migrating to SharePoint 2016? - 5 Things to Do Before You Do

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Whenever a new version of the SharePoint is about to be launched this “migration fever” catches many who just can’t wait for the dose of the feature-packed new SharePoint. But, an unsuccessful migration will only make things complicated, and you may find yourself riding on the road to nowhere. Nevertheless, the hard work pays off. The right preparations will ensure that you do the migration right and the SharePoint 2016 does exactly what it promises to do: work wonder for your organization’s collaborative content development.

Here is a list of top five points that you just can’t skip before you migrate to SharePoint 2016.

1. Start with a SharePoint content inspection

“Take everything onboard”, this sounds like a safe choice but is not recommended. Old, unused or rarely used documents should not be migrated to SharePoint 2016, but at the same time, for external compliance and internal policies/ requirements, it is advised to keep a copy of even the oldest documents in backup. A frictionless migration by having only the appropriate documents on SharePoint 2016 that are easy to search and manage can only be achieved if company does a thorough content audit before migration. The idea is to migrate only the required files and leave the rest in searchable backups.

2. How to migrate?

The migration strategy has to be decided after reflecting on a few things in your existing setup. A big SharePoint environment with a lot of files means data has to be migrated in bulk through multiple, parallel migration jobs, and most likely the documents’ metadata too has to be changed. Having bulk of documents in the old file systems requires you to cleanse the data before migrating. In many cases companies may opt for a hybrid approach wherein they decide to migrate a part of the content to SharePoint 2016, other part to SharePoint online and the rest to on-premise file systems. Here, since the target environments are different, the data processing i.e. taking care of the files’ metadata and structure will be different. All the above mentioned tasks can be handled most efficiently with third-party software. Nevertheless, many companies are just happy with the native migration option as well.

3. Hardware requirements

For migrating to SharePoint 2016 you will have to raise a separate server farm. Even if it’s going to be a single server implementation, in the SharePoint 2016 lexicon, it will still be called a farm. Go through the detailed system requirements to know what the hardware resources you will need, and where you stand today in regard to those requirements. Though it is something that you should be concerned about, the hardware requirement should not be as big of a concern for your migration plan from the cost perspective.

4. Migrating through SharePoint 2013 is a must

The past trend says that migration to SharePoint has always been limited only from the immediate older version, which means you could migrate from SP 2010 to 2013 but not from SP 2007 to 2013, that could only be done through 2010. Those who were looking for a trend reversal will only be disappointed as migration to SharePoint 2016 too can happen only from SharePoint 2013. If you are still using SP 2010 you will have to migrate through SP 2013, and those still on 2007 will have to migrate to 2010, then to 2013 and finally to 2016.

5. Bigger storage limit

In SharePoint 2016, the storage limit has been increased to 10 GB. After you have migrated to SharePoint 2016, in due course of time a huge volume of data may accrue on the servers. The question is: Will your existing backup mechanism be able to take care of that enormous volume of data without affecting the server performance? Before migrating to SP 2016 you should definitely assess whether your existing backup machinery can work up to that level or is also in need of an upgrade.

Conclusion: SharePoint migrations have never been an in-place upgrade for a last few versions. Migrating to SharePoint 2016 will require you to stand up a new farm and then move content to it. From a feature standpoint, the SharePoint 2016 has a lot to offer, but that comes either at the expense of architectural simplicity or smaller TCO (total cost of ownership). In the usual course of things, benefits outweigh the cost. Nevertheless, migration to SharePoint 2016 should be a business decision.

About Author – Ajit Singh is associated with Lepide Software - IT auditing, security and server migration vendor.