Part 3: Migration Process
Any Lotus Notes application has 3 parts to it:
- User Interfaces Pages or Forms – Lotus Notes Forms, Pages, Navigators, etc..
- Application Logic – Lotus Notes Scripts/Formulas in Action buttons, Agents etc..
- Data – Lotus Notes Documents
Given the architecture of Lotus Notes and APIs it provides, you can only migrate #3 i.e. the data out of its databases. That's the ground reality. So,
- If the application can be mapped to a List Template in SharePoint, you get all the user interface elements and features out of the box from SharePoint. Even if some list/library customization is required in SharePoint, the effort is small and manageable
- If application needs custom InfoPath form, ASP.NET form, Web Part(s) or complex workflows then those elements need to be custom developed and effort might be substantial
So, migration process and effort depends on whether a Lotus Notes application can be mapped to some out of the box or custom template in SharePoint or not.
Classifying applications based on their complexity, features and integration requirements helps in:
- mapping each application to target solution
- evaluate and select migration tool (s)
- estimate effort required and prepare a project plan
As the Application Analysis Envisioning Process for Lotus Domino Applications guide mentions, dissecting the domino application and determining the baseline pattens will help you be successful in seeing the end-state solution that will replace the Domino Application. Some patterns mentioned in it are:
- Pattern 1 Document Management
- Pattern 2 Workflow
- Pattern 3 Connection to external data source
- Pattern 4 Connection to other notes application
- Pattern 5 Discussion databases
- Pattern 6 Team rooms
Based on your environment, you can identify more patterns and then use them to classify applications. One of the ways to classify them might be:
- Simple applications - can be mapped to standard SharePoint list/site templates
- Medium applications - applications without workflow - need custom list/site templates in SharePoint
- Complex applications - custom applications with workflow - need custom list/site templates and workflow development
- High Complexity applications - need extensive SharePoint application development
- Non-SharePoint apps - where SharePoint is not the right fit technically/strategically. They will get replaced by some existing .NET application, a LoB app or some standard package
Migration Tool Options
Microsoft Transporter Suite - Microsoft Transporter Suite is a set of interoperability and migration tools to migrate content from Lotus Domino servers or Generic POP/IMAP servers. For Lotus Domino the suite contains a set of tools for Directory and Free/Busy interoperability between Lotus Domino 6, 7 and 8 and Exchange Server 2007 and Windows Server 2003/2008 Active Directory. In addition for Lotus Domino the suite contains migration tools to migrate users, groups, personal address lists, mailboxes, personal mail archives, and applications from Lotus Domino 5, 6, 7 or 8 to Active Directory, Exchange Server 2007, and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
You can read the Microsoft Transporter Suite for Lotus Domino white paper for more details. The click-through flash demo - Microsoft Transporter Suite 2007 for Lotus Domino Demo: Application Data Migration shows how to use the Microsoft Transporter Suite 2007 for Lotus Domino to transfer application data to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
A lot of migration tools are available from Microsoft partners. Some of these are:
- Notes Migrator for SharePoint from Quest Software
- DocAve Lotus Notes Migrator for Microsoft SharePoint from AvePoint, Inc
- VisiMigrate from Visionet Systems Inc.
- ecKnowledge from CASAHL Technology, Inc
- Tzunami Deployer For Lotus Notes Migration from Tzunami Inc
- Easy2Share from Verinon Technology Solutions Ltd
It's difficult to make a recommendation on the tool to use. Microsoft's tool is free, rest of the tools have a license cost and support options which comes along with it.
I would advise you to first try out the Microsoft tool. If it does not suffice your requirement, download evaluation versions of the 3rd Party tools given above and test them on a sample set of your databases. Most vendors provide evaluation version and live demo or Live Meeting options. Appendix 3: Application Migration Tools Matrix in the Application Analysis Envisioning Process for Lotus Domino Applications guide provides a comparison table but most products have been upgraded since then.
There is tool specific content on some blogs also. For example, posts - Migrating Lotus Notes Applications to Microsoft SharePoint: Understanding Application Complexity and the Value of Consolidation and Automation and Thirteen ways to migrate a document to SharePoint on the Notes SharePoint Blog.
Some Tools do claim ability to migrate Lotus Notes Forms and code. Please do evaluate these claims using a trial version to see if the output meets your expectations or not.
IBM Lotus NotesSQL
IBM Lotus NotesSQL is the ODBC driver for Lotus Notes and Domino which allows ODBC-enabled data reporting tools, database tools, and application development tools to read, report, and update information that is stored in Domino databases (NSF files). You can use this driver to migrate data to Microsoft SQL databases in case the target solution is ASP.NET or a InfoPath based application with data in SQL database.
Tools to assist Co-existence
In case, co-existence of Lotus Notes and SharePoint environment is required for some time, there are tools available from Microsoft Partners which can help you in data integration.
- ecKnowledge from CASAHL Technology, Inc
- Mainsoft SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes from Mainsoft Corporation
- Lotus Notes Connector from BA-Insight.net
Addition Resources for Reference
Application Templates for Windows SharePoint Services are out-of-box custom scenarios for the Windows SharePoint Services platform, tailored to address the needs and requirements of specific business processes or sets of tasks in organizations of any size.
Product Innovation Custom Application Comparison Demo shows a highly customized Lotus Domino application for processing new product ideas, compares that with the same application built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and highlights the ease of creating workflow and reports using Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 and Excel Services.
Project Tracking Application Template Comparison Demo compares the out-of-the-box project tracking template applications from Lotus Domino and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and shows how the integrated platform of SharePoint and Microsoft Office can create a more streamlined project management process.
Sales and Inventory Tracking Application Comparison Demo shows a custom suite of Lotus Domino applications developed for a sales organization, and compares that with a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 sales and inventory tracking application with the same functionality, while highlighting the integrated capabilities of the Microsoft platform using SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007.