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Buyer's Guide: SharePoint Migration

Editor's note: The information in Table 1 was gleaned from vendor websites and vendor product managers and is meant to help start your research process. Contact vendors directly with your questions.

Thanks to the experts who’ve documented the route, you’d almost think SharePoint 2010 migration was a safe, predictable journey. Perhaps with the right guide it is: Besides the obvious TechNet resources, we like

Still, despite the reassurance of earlier travelers, you’re setting off on the IT equivalent of a grand expedition to the edge of the world. Before you even get started, you need 64-bit architecture, as SharePoint 2010 is available in 64-bit only and requires Windows Server 2008 SP2 or R2. You also need to have gotten your hands on a 64-bit edition of Microsoft SQL Server, either SQL Server 2005 SP3, 2008 SP1, or 2008 R2. Not to mention that you need Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and just a couple other small things.

Is it any wonder that you haven’t migrated yet? But you know it’s inevitable, once the funds and the approvals come in. And while many say that SharePoint 2010 is a great step forward, one must also acknowledge that it's different, for better or for worse, than what you and your users have previously experienced. 

As you probably know, Microsoft left the door open to SharePoint migration vendors, especially for moving from SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) 2003 to SharePoint 2010. The two versions and their hardware requirements are far too different to allow for a direct, in-place upgrade.

If you’re into DIY, you can hopscotch from SPS 2003 to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 to SharePoint 2010 by doing a series of database-attach upgrades. Even if you’re simply looking to take your MOSS 2007 setup to SharePoint 2010, however, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. Which is why we’ve created this buyers’ guide on SharePoint migration products, in case you’re curious about other options.

The big names in SharePoint products are well represented in the SharePoint migration arena. We can’t presume to tell you which to choose. Nor, perhaps surprisingly, what to look for. Our goal is this: To gather information about the SharePoint migration products that are most well known and present it as simply and cleanly as we can.

That gathering is admittedly unscientific and some of the categories you'll see in Table 1 might make you scratch your head.  Additionally, there is that matter of sifting through the marketing-speak to find the concrete facts. Much of the information we gathered by scouring product websites. However, no one website answered all the questions, as we’re sure you’ve found too, unfortunately. So we asked the vendors to fill in the remaining answers and we edited for space.

That said, will one feature tip the scales for you in favor of one solution over another? We rather doubt it—a good fit involves a combination of features, plus such difficult-to-measure aspects as helpfulness and responsiveness of the solution provider's support techs.

Solution vendors in general, though eager to say that EVERYTHING is their strength, tend to know which one or two of their product’s features are their best. Each vendor thinks they've created the perfect iteration of features for SharePoint migration in their solution—and maybe they have—but the only way to find out if it’s perfect for you is to trial it yourself. Table 1 will get you started.

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