[Video] Assessing the health of your SharePoint farm: How well do you know your farm?

Our loyal partner and a senior SharePoint consultant and instructor with the consulting company Summit 7 Systems, Jay Simcox, decided to make a webinar on SPDocKit and how he uses our tool for SharePoint farm assessments. He started using SPDocKit five years ago and this has become standard practice for each Summit 7 Systems client.

In the video below, he provides best practices and recommends steps for proper farm assessments that ease farm administrator stress levels. Although the focus of the webinar is on the assessment process, Jay talks about other benefits of SPDocKit relating to configuration management, change management, SharePoint migrations and others. Watch the video to learn more.

Table of contents

00:32 Introduction: Jay Simcox
05:06 Webinar Agenda
07:10 The Assessment Process
22:59 Configuration Management
24:44 Change Management
28:33 Migrations with SPDocKit
31:50 SPDocKit Demo
58:44 Ten Takeaways

Video Transcript Summary

SharePoint Farm Assessment and Configuration Management

I first found out about SPDocKit back in 2009, when my first assignment was to do an assessment of a farm for one customer. I asked about what were we assessing and why. The customer wanted to know what they had in the farm and that’s how our assessment process was born. We started outlining what we wanted to capture and then we realized that this would be a really manual process, so we started looking for a tool to address that. Then we discovered SPDocKit.

From a consulting perspective, we do assessments generally for three reasons:

  1. Regular farm check-ups – Assess farm health.
  2. Discovering farm contents – We have customers who are not always aware of everything that is in their SharePoint farm.
  3. Pre-migration farm assessment – We need to know exactly what we are migrating.

One of the other things we look at with SPDocKit, besides assessments, is configuration management and change management. Why is configuration management important? Primarily, because I want visibility, consistency, stability, auditability and predictability in a farm. SPDocKit will actually run the configuration report to a schedule and then it will email me the results of that report when it’s complete. I can take a snapshot of a farm once a week and then I can compare the snapshots so that they tell me what’s changed.

There’s a little bit of a difference between configuration and change management. Change management is really a part of configuration management. We want to manage the configuration of a farm. We want to know what has been installed, what permissions have been set, what groups exist and whether we have orphan users. We want to monitor farm health, track changes and compare configurations. With SPDocKit we can report on site contents, its configuration and usage. Of course, we want to work in a proactive state, and SPDocKit allow us to do so.

From the migration viewpoint, SPDocKit helps you to:

  • Identify and clean up stale, outdated or dead documents.
  • Identify and locate third-party and custom solutions and features.
  • Review features, web parts and custom templates for compatibility.
  • Involve site owners and administrators in the upgrade and migration process and communication plans.

To see these and other SPDocKit’s great features in action, watch the video.

  1. Establish a baseline configuration and capture it.
  2. Use the Best Practices report and site explorer to locate objects that could critically impact a migration or upgrade.
  3. Use the Extract WSP functionality to download solutions you may not have the source code for.
  4. Save the farm configuration as an AutoSPInstaller XML configuration file.
  5. Make the selections to capture workflows, content types, solutions, etc.
  6. SharePoint objects are often linked together and must be migrated together.
  7. Use the Snapshot functionality to generate SharePoint configuration reports automatically.
  8. Capture Windows Application event logs and SharePoint trace logs into a single location.
  9. Use the permissions reports to identify orphan users, groups without users, user-specific permissions, etc.
  10. SPDocKit doesn’t have to be installed to take advantage of many of its useful features.

Thanks to Jay Simcox and Summit 7 Systems for making this webinar and using SPDocKit. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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