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Migrating File Shares to SharePoint

Want to move your file shares to SharePoint? Here’s what you can and can't do.

Chris: We just read your article, "Share Migrations Made Easy." We just had a discussion this morning about migrating shares to SharePoint. Are you aware of an easy method or utility to migrate shares to this platform and carry over permissions?
— John

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John, I do have an easy method to do this, although you'll probably not like it -- wait! Currently SharePoint 2003 does not support granular file-level permissions. Instead, you can only set security at the Site and Document Library levels. Office SharePoint Server 2007 will offer document-level security. This is noted in the Security Highlights posted in the SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog.

So while full granularity of permissions is something that you'll have to wait for, there are some well-established methods that can help you migrate file shares over to SharePoint. For starters, I would recommend that you take a look at the Microsoft document, "Capacity Planning for Windows SharePoint Services." This will provide guidance on proper server sizing prior to the migration.

Next, you can look to the TechNet article, "Setting up Windows SharePoint Services as a Collaborative File Share," for help with a migration. This article will walk you through the manual migration process. Of course, manual migration isn't much fun, so there are some third party tools that can be used to migrate your file shares. Here are some to take a look at:

If your budget is similar to mine, you may be interested in Formation Technology’s SharePoint FS Replication Tool. This tool is available for free and allows you to migrate a complete folder structure into a SharePoint Web site.

Hopefully, one of these tools will provide just what you're looking for. It took several years of file migration misery before Microsoft gave us FSMT. Hopefully, we won't have to wait as long for a similar free tool for SharePoint.

Of course, I can only speak from my own SharePoint experiences. I'm sure some of you out there have your own SharePoint migration tales. If you have some SharePoint migration tips and tricks that you would like to share, please post them as comments to this article.

About the Author

Chris Wolf is a Microsoft MVP for Windows --Virtual Machine and is a MCSE, MCT, and CCNA. He's a Senior Analyst for Burton Group who specializes in the areas of virtualization solutions, high availability, storage and enterprise management. Chris is the author of Virtualization: From the Desktop to the Enterprise (Apress), Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies (Addison Wesley), and a contributor to the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit (Microsoft Press).learningstore-20/">Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies (Addison Wesley) and a contributor to the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit (Microsoft Press).

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