Categories
Infrastructure

Developing Migration Methodologies

Something that always seems to strike me as somewhat interesting is when I find colleagues, co-workers and fellow engineers not really thinking through the entire process of migrating from one SharePoint services based platform to another. I tend to cringe when I hear Microsoft salesman talk about the extensibility and the modularity of SharePoint 2007 and how easy it is as an administrator to do things, so much that you don’t even need a systems administrator for regular maintenance, nor an architect or engineer to design things prior to deployment.

Low and behold that’s where the Ghost swoops in and starts pointing out the deficiencies of a system prior to migration and why it will topple and post migration on a system not well suited for it. That’s also where the Ghost starts to build up fixes and implementation guides to be sure that the system does not fail so that there’s no egg upon the face of those that will be assisting in deploying it to customers and clients.

Currently though I am working through a few migration struggles that all focus on SharePoint’s security identifier (better known as a SID) and how it’s referenced by content that resides within your friendly neighborhood content database. The stsadm migrateuser operation is fairly handy in being able to move a user from Domain A to Domain B and reassign their identity within SharePoint’s access control lists, however on a grand scale where you’re dealing with 10’s of 1000’s of site collections and web applications and users in an enterprise implementation, to say the least it can be quite daunting.

What I’ve found to be the best option is to mellow out and go Gray for a while and think things through, working out a migration strategy and methodology, while clearly communicating to customers, clients and stakeholders the risks and impacts that need to be defined so as to demonstrate the impact to the business operations. Typically a large whiteboard comes in handy as well as some unsweetened ice tea along with Jack Johnson playing in the background.

The largest problem that I have come to find is that when migrating a user from one domain to another using out of the box Active Directory tools such as LDIFDE if I’m feeling lazy or the Active Directory Migration Tool that obviously I want to keep SID history – but wait, that’s only for the Windows 2003 user object and not the SharePoint SID. SharePoint stores both the SID information and the login name (sAMAccountName) as a property identifying the user within SharePoint.

So what happens when the sAMAccountName changes or the userlogin? As Brian Regan would say, “Hell on earth.” Okay, so it’s not that bad, rather the user just no longer has ownership of a particular file. So if a user resides in Domain A and has several hundred files spread across several web applications, what’s the best methodology to migrate their content and the user to Domain B? I ask myself that constantly.

What I have come to find is that to be successful, all SharePoint data must be migrated to the new SharePoint instance within the new domain (domain B, which has a two way trust with domain A), and then the migration of users can begin. Otherwise, as a user’s content moves to the new domain and then the user moves in, a single operational modification needs to be performed to reassign privileges to the user. Else, there is a constant struggle of moving content, reassigning permissions on both instances until all of the user’s content has been moved.

Is there an easier way to do this in a short period of time in a highly distributed system? Not that I know of…  It seems that you can either go the route of six in one hand or half dozen in the other.

Categories
Infrastructure SharePoint

Troubleshooting Tip of the Day… Network Configuration – Wrong Gateway

For those of you that have ever setup a server with two NICs, you probably know that it’s usually best to either a) team the NICs to have greater performance, or b) have them on completely separate LANs and only have one that is registered in DNS with the domain name that you are hosting out your site through.A few weeks ago, while working on a dev lab MOSS Server in a medium farm configuration I ran into a problem where the server in question was configured with the same gateway on both NICs, but the NICs were in completely separate subnets, thereby causing some traffic to drop as the NIC attempting to pass traffic to a gateway which was not situated on the subnet for which the NIC was configured for. Needless to say after scratching my head for a while and wondering why 500 error messages were coming up sporadically and after checking the supporting AD infrastructure it was back to the basics of checking network connections. Fortunately after about five minutes of reviewing adapter configurations the issue was remedied by removing the DNS registration of the secondary NIC (used for backups and remote desktop administration) in addition to removing the gateway so that all traffic requests would be responding through the primary NIC.

Level of difficulty in resolving the issue – pretty low, however definitely recommend some basic networking courses to all the aspiring SharePoint Infrastructure Engineers out there so that they’re able to troubleshoot their surrounding network for issues which may affect their system.

Categories
Infrastructure SharePoint

Things not to do when figuring MOSS out…

So I decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to really get at the guts of MOSS and figure out just how PSConfig works and what the different application pools are useful for.

So the first lesson learned of the day is that the web application for Office Server really should never be toyed – if you delete it you might as well just reinstall MOSS all together :)

Second lesson learned of the day, there is no real good way of migrating MOSS from one SQL server to another without rebuilding the server’s MOSS instance and then reattaching the content databases and if you’re lucky, getting the SSP’s in as well.

Any other lessons learned out there that anyone else would like to share?

Categories
Infrastructure SharePoint WSS

70-630… and check…

So after inadvertently forgetting to move the 70-630 exam so that I might be able to get some study time in, I decided to suck it up and go take the exam at the time I’d originally scheduled it for… The exam went by pretty quickly as I completed it in about 35 minutes – only to press submit and have a sinking feeling that I failed from lack of studying (I guess I like to go for perfection).

But no, actually I passed with flying colors this morning. Overall the exam was pretty simple and quite easier than the WSS exam which actually required knowledge of infrastructure and how the platform really works. Best of luck to those that are off to take this exam!

Categories
Certification SharePoint

70-631… check

So this morning on a whim I decided to test out my skills and took 70-631 at a local testing center. About 45 minutes later I was walking out with a smirk on my face thinking “Oh yeah”. Needless to say, it was a nice accomplishment after not having studied (and no I didn’t stay in a Holidfay Inn Express last night), so I guess there’s something to be said for being a Systems Architect with about 9 months of MOSS / WSSv3 work under my belt. So on to 70-630 sometime later this week.

Categories
SharePoint Solutions WSS

WSSv2: Photo Library Pet Peeve

I give Microsoft credit for having developed a highly usable framework for the Windows SharePoint Services v2 platform, however I do have to say that they left a lot of room for improvement between v2 and the newly released v3 (which is highly improved in many aspects).

For those who have not yet upgraded, I do have to say that one pet peeve of the v2 platform for me at least, is the Photo Library and its inability to mass edit metadata stored in the Photo Library. For instance, if you were to create a photo library and dump a few hundred images in via “Upload Multiple Files”, for any custom metadata column you have added to the photo library, it selects the default and appends that to the newly uploaded images. This is the common and expected behaviour, however, one would think that similarly to a document library you would have the capability to edit in a datasheet view quickly the information pertaining to the photos, but unfortunately no such capability exists.

Anyone have a workaround solution of any sort for this sort of mass editing?