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When a classic SharePoint migration is not sufficient – ShareGate Desktop handles the matter

You are faced with a new SharePoint migration project, but more challenging than before – the classic database migration is not possible or acceptable or you are not satisfied with the current information structure within your SharePoint? In these, but also many other situations, ShareGate Desktop can help you.

Meet ShareGate Desktop

ShareGate Desktop is a client tool that enables analysis, granular migration, import and content restructuring between two SharePoint farms, either on-site or in the cloud.

Compared to classic migration, ShareGate Desktop offers much greater migration options at the expense of time invested in analysis, planning and the necessary farm adjustments.

ShareGate Desktop allows you to import content from network drives, network shares, google drives, and, and also allows you to:

  • day-to-day analysis,
  • management,
  • migration
  • and incremental replenishment.

What else can you do with ShareGate?

In addition to the situations already mentioned, it is ideal in cases where you want to make certain changes when migrating content to a new SharePoint farm, as well as if you want a tool for easy daily analysis and management of your SharePoint farm.

You also have the option of migrating to a modern site design, because only the content is migrated, which is not possible with classic migration, but it also brings with it certain limitations.

The tool offers:

  • analysis of the current information structure of SharePoint,
  • migration analysis to predict errors that could occur
  • ways to prepare for or avoid difficulties.

Thanks to the Powershell module, with which it comes, migration, maintenance and analysis can be scripted and run through Powershell.

It is important to say that ShareGate has an excellent knowledge base that is constantly updated, but also offers quick support if you encounter unforeseen difficulties.

To make sure this tool is the right solution for you, ShareGate also offers a 15-day trial period.

15 reasons PROS ShareGate Desktop Migration

1. Pre-check analysis – allows you to deal with migration traps before they appear, by getting the desired migration flow without difficulty and achieving the desired goal through analysis, then preparation of sources and destinations and the use of the correct migration settings. In addition to this report, there are a large number of others, as well as the ability to create your own reports.

2. Support for migration with SharePoint 2003 and newer versions to destination SharePoint 2010 and newer or in the cloud.

3. Content migration to existing sites, site collections and incremental content migration. Granular migration implies the possibility of migrating a certain part of the content structure, as well as incremental migration of content into an already existing structure, content merging and updating. If a document on the source farm is deleted after the first initial migration and you try to incrementally migrate the new state to the new farm or “supplement” to get the same state on both farms, incremental migration will not delete that document at the destination although this might be expected.

4. “Promotion” of sites in site collections – if you have a complex and deep structure of SharePoint with a lot of subsites in site collections, which can result in the growth of content databases outside the recommended limits and performance problems, you may want to change the structure by separating individual sites from site collections, or “promote” in separate site collections. ShareGate offers a solution here.

5. Selection of migration elements (e.g. navigation, subsites, user alerts), limiting the number of previous versions of documents, activation of required features, migration of list views to modern. Granular migration also allows you to migrate “under your own conditions”, so you can choose what, when and how you want to migrate. ShareGate offers the ability to migrate, for example, only an arbitrary number of recent document versions. Also, when migrating views, they can be automatically switched to modern design, etc.

6. Possibility of migration to a path different from the initial and direct “promotion” of the site -> site collection. As mentioned earlier, granular migration allows you to arbitrarily combine the structure so you do not have to keep the original structure of your sites, but you have the opportunity to promote the site during migration and later, when the structure and content are already migrated.

7. Detailed analysis of the right to content at the level of an individual item, with the possibility of insight into which rights someone has on which object individually.

8. Mapping a user from the source farm to another user in the destination farm on objects. It is possible to map the “streaming” of users on individual items to another person on the destination farm. ShareGate cannot set a reference to an account if the account is deactivated, in which case it is necessary to map another account or leave the default mapping to the account performing the migration. According to the latest information, ShareGate Desktop can migrate a reference if the destination is a cloud instance.

9. Powershell module through which you can script migration or day-to-day maintenance, which gives you extra freedom, and if you repeat actions often, the ability to script shortens your time invested.

10. Correction of links to the new URL – links on sites, lists or collections will be updated to match the new destination. This is an option you can turn off if you don’t want it. Links in the content itself cannot be modified.

11. During the migration, a detailed migration log is generated, which allows you to subsequently check for errors, warnings as well as details for correctly migrated items, whether they are documents, lists, websites, collections …

12. Accurate and up-to-date online documentation and knowledge base are updated daily, and in addition accurately describe certain errors that you can see and how to approach their resolution, and a link to the help article is available immediately from the report.

13. SP versions skipping – classic database migration involves upgrading the content database on all SharePoint versions, so if you are migrating from SharePoint 2003 or later to 2019, it means that you must upgrade (each) content database to versions in between, which requires installing and booting SharePoint farms which will only be used for migration. In the case of migration from older versions, there is also the question of the availability of installations for previous and unsupported SharePoint versions. With ShareGate, since only content is migrated from one farm to another, you simply skip this problem.

14. Warning for outdated and unsupported features – SharePoint as a product has changed over the years, so certain features have been taken out of use over the years, so some solutions may have been developed specifically for you and the version of SharePoint they are on. If you use some of the outdated or unsupported features on your older farm, you will receive a message in the analysis that certain features you use on the new farm are not available and an alternative solution needs to be devised. The advantage is that you will be aware of this before you start migration so you can prepare adequately.

15. Support and detailed logging – ShareGate offers quick support if you encounter an unfamiliar situation, and as part of its tool it also has the option of detailed logging of everything that happens in the background. This allows ShareGate support to do additional analysis and provide an explanation and potential solution to the situation you find yourself in.

9 limitations you probably won’t like

1. It doesn’t take care in which database the site collection is created. If you want your site collections to be migrated to separate databases, you must take care in which database the site collection will be created or which is the active database at the time of migration.

2. Requires preparation of service applications and web applications. ShareGate migrates content, so it doesn’t care about service applications on SharePoint. This means that you have to prepare new (or in the classic way migrate existing) service applications, and create web applications, managed paths, etc. that will receive the content you want to migrate.

3. Granular migration with ShareGate Desktop tool takes much longer than copying databases during classic migration. Content migration requires many more steps and code is executed, changes are made, logs are generated, access to individual objects, etc., so that the migration process itself takes much longer than upgrading in the classic way where the content database on the new farm is copied and set up.

4. Preparation for migration is much longer due to the necessary analysis, mapping, determination of the necessary settings, preparation of farms for migration and the like.

5. It does not record the assignment of rights, migration of navigation, switching views to modern, etc., but the transfer of objects. The part of the migration related to the change of settings during the migration is not recorded in the logs.

6. Any additional manipulation represents the possibility of additional errors or unexpected consequences.

7. The initial analysis does not show all errors that occur as a result of other errors or are not visible before transmission. In some cases, the initial analysis is not enough to reveal all the possible difficulties of migration, so it may happen that some details are revealed only during migration.

8. Inability to migrate translations of user interface elements. ShareGate will use the destination language as the default site language when migrating, and MUI interface of other languages that were available at the source will not be migrated. All translations of the interface that you may have had in other languages need to be re-done later, either manually or using additional tools.

9. ShareGate is not able to migrate custom solutions. You must take care to customize and implement custom solutions on the destination farm that you are currently using on the source farm.

Also, it is important to note that the tool is developing very fast so I expect some of these limitations to be reduced in the near future. You can view the current limitations on the ShareGate Desktop website Migration Limitations – ShareGate Desktop.

What does the ShareGate migration process look like?

ShareGate Desktop is a simple and intuitive tool, so to start migrating through GUI you only need to position yourself correctly in the structure, define the migration settings and drag-and-drop content you want to migrate.

It is important to emphasize that most of the time invested is not in the migration itself, which is relatively simple, nor in using ShareGate Desktop tools, but in analyzing potential difficulties, defining the desired structure and correct settings to be used for individual parts of the content structure, and preparing source and destination farms to achieve the desired granular migration objective taking constraints into account constraints. Once initiated, the migration starts and ends automatically, and the migration log is generated in real time so you can track the progress of the migration and any difficulties that need to be addressed through GUI.

ShareGate analiza

When to use ShareGate and when is it better to opt for a classic migration?

Familiar terrain, familiar rules and less time spent are certainly strong trump cards of the classic migration we’re used to, but the more complicated the past of a system, the more likely we are to reach for ShareGate.

As we’ve had a chance to see, there are as many as 15 good reasons and scenarios in which ShareGate Desktop is a great solution for problematic migrations. The possibility of migrating from old and unsupported versions of SharePoint proved to be especially useful, while the situation is further facilitated by the possibility of migrating directly to SP2019 or in the cloud (while during classic migration we have to go step by step, from the initial to the desired version of SharePoint).

Also, let’s not forget the numerous analysis that the tool offers, from initial to day-to-day and various custom reports that will constantly make your job easier, but don’t forget that during the initial analysis some errors do not come to light immediately, so be prepared for some surprises during the migration itself.

And finally, don’t forget that ShareGate Desktop is a tool that is constantly growing and developing, has a huge knowledge base from which you will benefit greatly, and there is of course their support that keeps your back in unfamiliar situations.

Zvonimir Ljuban

Zvonimir Ljuban

System Engineer

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