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Tips for trouble-free migration of content into SharePoint

Customers often begin moving file share and other data into SharePoint and quickly fall foul of certain limitations imposed ​by SharePoint; below are some of the typical isses encountered - addressing these up front will help make your migration go much more smoothly!

  • File Sizes. By default, SharePoint has a file upload limit of 50MB; files over this size can’t be uploaded into SharePoint. This limit can be increased, but be aware there is a HARD upper limit of 2GB, which cannot be exceeded. Ways to mitigate this include increasing the upload threshold in SharePoint, OR, leaving the very large files on the File Share and creating a ‘link’ to them from within SharePoint so that users can still find / access them via SharePoint Search.

  • File Types. SharePoint has a default list of file types that it blocks from upload… the list can be found on Microsoft’s Website here (Bear in mind this list can be ‘tailored’ if required); some common blocked file types to highlight include: *.exe, *.dll, *.mdb .

  • Path Lengths. SharePoint imposes an upper limit of 260 characters for URL lengths (including the part!) See here for more details – this article is valid for both SP2010 and SP2013. You can mitigate the impact of the Path Length constraints by creating simple scripts which run reports in advance of migration to identify those File Share areas which have path lengths which could exceed the SharePoint constraints. You can often find that shortening the name of one or two top level folders with long names often has a dramatic effect in reducing the number of problem items !

  • ROT - aka Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial information! This is a problem in most organisations – over time, Fileshares have had a tendency to become dumping grounds for data, and as a result often contain lots of redundant files. Migrating this into SharePoint can be counter productive – clogging up your nice new system with lots of redundant data! Again, a way to mitigate this is to use a simple script to produce a report in advance of migration – e.g., for files of type ‘MP3’, or for files which have not been accessed in – say – 7 years. These files can then be discussed with the business and removed as required – either manually or via script - PRIOR to migration to SharePoint.

  • The dreaded 5,000 Item Limit. This is a well-known ‘gotcha' with SharePoint. Whilst technically you can store millions of items in a single SharePoint Document Library, SharePoint has a 5,000 item limitation when it comes to performing operations on items ‘en masse’. This means that any Libraries which exceed this limit become more difficult to manage (e.g., it becomes difficult to rename or move the library; you can’t perform metadata filtering on all the items in the Library and so on). If this is an issue for you, then you can mitigate this by creating more Document Libraries and spreading your migrated content across those libraries.

  • Planning – migration should always have a migration plan – e.g., a document describing the structure of the ‘as is’ information architecture on the File Share, the structure of the ‘to be’ information architecture in SharePoint, and the mapping between the two. This allows planning of the migration activities, ensures complete migration coverage and helps ensure business buy-in – e.g., they can be confident of where their files are now held in the new system, thus helping drive Business User adoption.

  • Security – By default, files migrated to SharePoint via Drag and Drop will inherit the permissions of the SharePoint Library / Folder that they are added into. Thus, if there are highly secured areas of the File Share, or highly secured files, these should be dealt with as part of migration (either manually, or by script) to ensure that they continue to be secured in SharePoint if required. Having a migration plan helps identify such areas.

  • Time Stamping – Files migrated from file share to SharePoint using ‘Drag and Drop’ techniques will be added into SharePoint with the ‘File Created’ and ‘File Modified’ dates set to today’s date (i.e., the original dates on the file in the file share are lost). This may or may not be an issue for you. If it is an issue, it can be mitigated using scripting, or a Third Party migration tool such as Metalogix, AvePoint, ShareGate, AI or Repstor.

  • Illegal charac​ters - File and Folder names in SharePoint cannot contain any of the following characters: “ # % * : < > ? / | \ The easiest way to find such files is to use a simple script to list file names into a central text file, and then perform a search for the above characters. This allows quick identification of affected files, and allows the business to rename them prior to migration.​

​Otagem have lots of experience with Data Migration into SharePoint - so if you need advice or assistance, please don't hesitate to get in touch! Happy Migrating!

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