For this post, we interview Todd Pierzina, Product Manager for the TSG OpenMigrate product in regards to his thoughts around Documentum Migrations as well as other migrations for SharePoint or Alfresco.
OpenMigrate is the most popular download from TSG with thousands of downloads over the last year, why are you seeing so much activity?
The majority of our downloads are for either Documentum or Alfresco migration targets. For the growing Alfresco client base, most clients I talk to are beginning a new installation and need a bulk import tool. With Alfresco and OpenMigrate both being open source, using OpenMigrate fits their open source goals with Alfresco. For Documentum, OpenMigrate is either also used for bulk import, replacement for site caching services to support business continuity or as part of a Documentum Upgrade. (see D6.5+ upgrade guide here).
What differentiates OpenMigrate from the other migration solutions?
When I talk to clients, they bring up a couple of different points. Obviously being open source is one main driver. Clients like to avoid a license cost as well as have the ability to alter the code for the unique components of their migration. Another is performance. We developed OpenMigrate to be multi-threaded to allow for the highest performance. Typically our migrations are limited not by OpenMigrate, but by ingestion of the target repository.
Why do you think you are you seeing a migration approach for Documentum upgrades rather than an upgrade in place or database clone approach?
Many clients decided to delay the Documentum upgrade from 5.x to 6.x. I think this happened for a couple of reasons. For clients that had done customizations in the 5.x environment, the need to redo and retest those enhancements is needed so that the benefits of 6.x could be cost-justified. The other reason for delay is just a focus on avoiding risk and availability of internal resources. Many clients felt that the risk of moving the entire stack (server, database, Documentum, add-ons) was not something they wanted to attempt.
To understand all the pieces – related blog post here.
The migration approach allows clients to skip through releases as well as change the underlying server and database and take advantage of new hardware while cleaning up some of the documents. Most of our clients leverage VMWare for new environments. Risk is significantly reduced by having a clear fall-back plan to the old environment.
What are some interesting trends you are seeing around Documentum Migrations?
We are seeing a couple of interesting trends. As I already mentioned, skipping releases is becoming more and more prevalent. We seem to be seeing more migrations from FileNet to Documentum where the FileNet release is pretty old. This includes support for those fancy/smancy 90’s technologies, laser discs and OSAR devices. I think many clients spent dollars in the 90’s or early part of 2000 to build solutions that they were just content with and happy to keep running and get out of the constantly upgrading expense cycle. Unfortunately this has left them with a difficult and costly upgrade path or migrating to a common environment. Lastly, we are also seeing a number of small systems being absorbed into ECM solutions with Documentum. Recently I have done a number of Hummingbird migrations to Documentum.
Any interesting trends around Alfresco?
We are definitely seeing the number of Alfresco target migrations rise as the platform becomes more widespread. I think the ECM market is beginning to embrace that Alfresco, and open source products in general, while significantly cheaper than other tools, represents as good if not better quality and performance than the more expensive products. We have done a number of performance tests comparing Alfresco to Documentum and other commercial ECM packages and haven’t found any significant differences. Alfresco’s early embracing of open source tools, like Lucene, have actually given Alfresco a significant advantage over other ECM tools that have only more recently embraced open source.
Speaking of Lucene, talk about your clients that leverage a Lucene repository
I wouldn’t call it a repository, more of a Lucene cache. For Documentum clients, the need to have fast and efficient consumer access to a “read-only” cache of certain documents is something we see often at clients. Many times these documents are needed for business continuity in case Documentum or access to Documentum is unavailable as mentioned earlier. OpenMigrate can provide a means to “copy” approved documents from Documentum to a file repository and index these documents in Lucene for easy yet still secure access. At many clients, it is one of the most successful end-user implementations. (see related post here)
What are the future plans for OpenMigrate?
We are planning on releasing a full SharePoint target in the next month. We have had a SharePoint source for years but, as many of our clients are embracing more ECM solutions with SharePoint, we are adding a target that supports migrating versioned content and metadata, dynamic folder creation and multi-threading.
We are also in continued development for both SharePoint and Alfresco sources. Source components for these platforms will allow for migration based upgrades, Lucene cache interfaces and more robust business uses.
To contact Todd – email firstname.lastname@example.org.