Niagara Health System Reduces 60 GB Migration of Data from SharePoint 2003 to SharePoint 2010 with DocAve® by 22 Weeks

Critical Needs

  • High-fidelity migration from SharePoint Portal 2003 to SharePoint 2010
  • The ability to perform migration jobs incrementally
  • Scheduled migration of heavily used site collections outside of business hours

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Success Highlights

  • Upgraded directly to SharePoint 2010 and reduced total migration time required by native abilities by approximately 22 weeks
  • Migrated 60 GB of data and 120 site collections incrementally with high fidelity
  • Improved end user adoption by allowing all employees to access SharePoint 2010 on the same day once the migration was complete
  • Scheduled jobs according to business needs and maintained system performance by migrating heavily trafficked sites outside of business hours and minimally trafficked sites during business hours
I don’t believe we have ever dealt with a company that has as high a level of quality in its technical support as AvePoint.
Andy Naundorf Systems Administrator, Niagara Health System

The Challenge

With a network of hospitals spread throughout the Niagara Peninsula and a large staff to support, the NHS implemented SharePoint 2003 to enhance collaboration and enable staff to access their own collaboration sites by request. Additionally, since the organization was not satisfied with the existing platform used to host the corporate intranet at the time, NHS developed a new intranet portal using SharePoint. The communications department, which owned and maintained the intranet, used SharePoint to post up-to-date news and information on the organization, as well as host important documents for staff. NHS employees adopted the platform, and it quickly became an integral tool for day-to-day business throughout the organization.

NHS’s SharePoint deployment runs on top of a SQL server cluster with two machines. Its farm consists of two web front end servers and two application servers. All employees have access to the SharePoint environment, with permissions granted to areas as needed. Approximately 300 end users have permissions to publish content on the platform.

With Microsoft’s release of SharePoint 2010 and its rich set of new and improved features, NHS investigated upgrading its deployment. After deciding that making the upgrade was the right move, Systems Administrator Andy Naundorf and his team were tasked with carrying out the project. Naundorf knew right away that this would not be a simple task. “Most of the SharePoint 2010 migrations we were aware of were from SharePoint 2007,” Naundorf said. “We learned that the only way to upgrade to SharePoint 2010 with native abilities would be to migrate to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 first. In addition to not liking the fact that this process would be extremely labor-intensive and might take as long as a full year, we were concerned that important data might be lost in the midst of two separate, full migrations.”

Aside from the toll a native migration might take on the organization’s IT department, administrators were also concerned for end users. “Every scenario we looked at meant we would have to go live incrementally, upgrading only groups of end users at a time,” Naundorf said. “This would make it much more difficult to help them with the transition and answer queries, as we would still be hard at work on the migration while some were already accessing the SharePoint 2010 environment.”

Since a native migration was not a viable option, Naundorf and his team began a search for a thirdparty migration solution to simplify the process and ensure that all important data was upgraded properly.

The AvePoint Solution

After searching, Naundorf and his team ultimately found the tool they were looking for in AvePoint’s DocAve Software Platform. DocAve integrates more than 30 independently deployable modules which function within a unified, browser-based interface and fully distributed architecture, but can also be purchased and deployed independently. With DocAve SharePoint Migrator, administrators could perform high-fidelity content migration at the item, subsite, or site level. DocAve’s efficient and reliable data transfer is unique in its ability to migrate content while retaining all of the associated metadata, letting organizations maximize their return on existing investments. “Retaining metadata and security information was one of our main concerns,” Naundorf said. “AvePoint was the only solution we found that was able to keep everything intact.”

After acclimating themselves to the software and ultimately developing a migration plan, NHS administrators began to migrate the organization’s collaboration sites. The collaboration site migration went smoothly, and administrators were able to move 100 site collections to SharePoint 2010 while end users continued to have uninterrupted access to the organization’s SharePoint environment. “We were able to migrate site collections that were not as heavily used during business hours,” Naundorf said. “However, DocAve’s scheduling capabilities allowed us to migrate site collections that were used most heavily during the workday outside of business hours to avoid any decline in performance.”

After the collaboration sites were migrated, the next step for administrators was to migrate the single intranet site collection. This task proved to be a much greater challenge. Since the site collection was built on a feature that was specific to SharePoint 2003, administrators had difficulties transferring the intranet collection to the SharePoint 2010 environment. It was then that administrators turned to AvePoint’s live, global technical support team, which includes more than 70 Microsoft-certified specialists worldwide. NHS administrators were put directly in touch with AvePoint’s developers, who worked closely with the administrators to examine the issues at hand, get to the root of the problem, and deliver accurate solutions. “I don’t believe we have ever dealt with a company that has as high a level of quality in its technical support as AvePoint,” Naundorf said. “We felt great working with the developers, and the support team’s overall thoroughness really paid off for us.”

Once the intranet issues were resolved, the migration was complete and NHS administrators were ready to go live with the upgraded environment. In all, the migration process took 30 weeks and 60 GB was migrated in the form of 120 site collections. As hoped, NHS administrators were able to carry out the migration incrementally with DocAve, but still have all end users begin using the SharePoint 2010 environment at the same point in time. The transition took about an hour after the final migration was complete. With the migration process finished, administrators were able to spend more time helping end users adjust to the new system and facilitate adoption. “The ability to cutover all end users at once after performing incremental migrations made the process much easier to manage and saved a lot of headaches,” Naundorf said. “For the first two weeks after the migration, three support administrators were able to handle all queries and help requests from end users, and two were able to manage the responsibility after that.”

The Bottom Line

Now that NHS is fully upgraded to SharePoint 2010, end users have begun to make the necessary adjustments to working on the platform and administrators have begun the process of employing new tools and features such as workflows, InfoPath forms, and SharePoint Designer.

While challenges were encountered throughout the process, NHS administrators found the combination of AvePoint’s software and technical support to be the right solution to successfully complete the migration project. “Migrating to SharePoint 2010 from 2003 is certainly a daunting project,” Naundorf said. “Many administrators at other organizations I’ve spoken with have avoided this type of migration, but I would not have a problem recommending that they examine the DocAve Migrator to see if its features meet their needs.”

About Niagara Health System

Niagara Health System (NHS) is Ontario's largest multi-site hospital amalgamation, comprised of seven sites serving 434,000 residents across the Regional Municipality of Niagara. NHS has almost 900 acute care, complex continuing care, mental health, long-term care, and addiction treatment beds. A wide range of inpatient and outpatient clinics/services are provided at the seven sites. NHS has 4,154 employees, 599 physicians and 1,100 volunteers, with an annual operating budget of approximately $400 million.

Niagara Health System