Musings of a PC

Thoughts about Windows, TV and technology in general

Tech-Ed 2006: Bill English’s SharePoint Sessions

… specifically the ones given on Thursday about Search and migrating from SPS 2003. Before that, though, I have an announcement to make.
I love Bill English. There, I’ve said it. This man gives out enough love of his own during his sessions that I thought he deserved some back in return .
If the session on searching is to be believed, Microsoft have put a lot of work into improving the search system in WSS v3 and MOSS 2007. I hope so. I truly hope so because, frankly, the search results we are getting out of WSS v2 and SPS 2003 suck. Big time. It is so bad, I’ve had department heads asking if we can put a Google appliance in front of our Intranet in order to get good search results.
So the news here is that SQL full-text indexing is out. WSS now has the full search system and MOSS adds to it. MS have put a lot of effort into making sure that the results you want are the results you get on the first page – every time.
To test this, I’m going to be migrating our existing Intranet onto the Beta 2 code to see what the search system works like.
Neat segue there to Bill’s other session on Thursday – migrating from SPS 2003. Again, MS have put a lot of effort into trying to make this as painless as possible. As Bill pointed out, when you’ve got a product like SPS where the user can customise the system to an almost infinite degree, how can you deliver an upgrade path that works 100% for everybody? You can’t. But MS have done a good job by offering three different ways to upgrade:
  • All at once. This requires downtime but the minimum of admin involvement and the URLs stay the same afterwards.
  • Gradual migration. This doesn’t require downtime. It allows admins to migrate sites one at a time to MOSS, which means that you’ve got two sets of URLs with automatic URL redirection going on in order to maintain both systems. A higher degree of admin effort.
  • DB migration. This allows you to build a clean MOSS system and import the SPS databases. This requires the most amount of admin effort but you can build it in parallel and then cut over.

Bill emphasised heavily that a lot of lab testing will be required in order to see what works best for you. I agree. I don’t think I’ll go for the DB migration but we’ve got quite a bit of customisation and although the upgrade process will do its best to minimise the pain there, I don’t think I’ll want to do an "all at once" upgrade. Time will tell.


Anyway … Bill, you rock, man!


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