Considerations for Migrating eRoom to SharePoint

I wanted to talk about some considerations for anyone who is deciding to migrate eRoom over to SharePoint.    I’ve been working with eRoom for 10 years now and still think it’s the best and most secure team collaboration tool out there.   However, I’m excited about SharePoint these days as the strong Microsoft developer community continues to build cool stuff to really enhance SharePoint and make it sing.    Of course SharePoint is really a platform that does a whole lot more than just the “team collaboration” that eRoom focuses on.   eRoom is simply the “secure team sites” / collaboration component of the larger SharePoint ecosystem.   How you deal with team sites in SharePoint may be dependent on the larger SharePoint logical design.  And for those who are migrating to SharePoint, you have to think about 3 things:

1. Logical Design – what does an eRoom community map to in SharePoint?  an eRoom facility?  an eRoom itself?

2. Scalability – Physically, eRoom packages content into rooms within facility SQL databases, files stored separately.  SharePoint’s different and how will it handle all that eRoom content within its content databases?

3. Migration of Data – do you want just files or files with all eRoom content?

eRoom to SharePoint is not like comparing apples to apples.   As a general rule, communities in eRoom might equate to a Site Collection in SharePoint and each eRoom might equate to a subsite.   I recommend to create a unique site collection in SharePoint just to administer your secure team workspaces.   You might want to create separate site collections for internal eRooms and external ones.  The Site Collection might have a defined member list and all subsites can then filter members as needed from the larger site collection.    While the majority of eRooms will follow the mapping I just described, there will be cases where one eRoom might equate to a site collection — and that would depend on the use of that eRoom, how large is it, structure and security.   eRoom Site Reports will easily help you identify those really large team workspaces so you can determine how to deal with them in SharePoint.

For the “My eRooms” home page, I’d recommend using My Sites where each individual person can see his/her team sites.   But you’ll need MOSS for My Sites.   If you opt for WSS only, you’ll have to think about something which provides that “portal” view for an individual user listing all their secure team workspaces.   Either way, I still prefer 1 URL to goto that lists all my secure team workspaces no matter where they exist in SharePoint — and I want to see it in a My Sites and a Portal view.

The SharePoint architecture is similar to eRoom in that there is a “logical” side and a “physical” side (or virtual side these days).   The eRoom site logically is a collection of servers, members, communities, and individual eRooms.   The logical side of SharePoint (apps, site collections, sites, etc..) all need to map to the physical (servers, content databases, etc..).    Depending on the scale of your eRoom environment, this is probably the most difficult thing to do in SharePoint.   In some cases, you might have create 1 Site Collection per eRoom or per eRoom Facility – which can make it harder to administer.   What was easy to adminster within the overall eRoom environment becomes harder in SharePoint.  Fortunately there are many good tools out there to help admin SharePoint across sites and site collections.   

Once you figure out the logical and physical design and how eRoom maps to SharePoint, you need to think about migrating data.   I’d recommend you look at a leveraging a migration tool — and there are not many commercially available.   AvePoint seems like a good bet for most.   The word on the Tsunami tool is that it’s too expensive and not worth it.   You can also contact me as I know of a cheaper tool which may work just as well 😉     Save yourself the developer effort as coding this could take many many weeks if not months.    And you don’t have to migrate all of eRoom at once, you can run parallel and migrate over time.   Lastly, test, test, test, and test the migration.


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