[Video] Compare different SharePoint farm environments – SPDocKit webinar

Having to manage SharePoint farms tends to get difficult and you might get lost among all the data and settings. Environments may vary in performance and configuration, which is why farm comparison comes in handy. SPDocKit does that for you. And on top of the Compare SharePoint Farms feature, in SPDocKit you can compare web applications, site collections, permissions, and web.config files.

In this webinar, we show how you can compare different SharePoint farms with the ultimate SharePoint reporting tool – SPDocKit. In the video, you can find out how to utilize SPDocKit to better manage your farms, compare different snapshots, and compare permissions and web.configs.

To learn more about how you can compare different SharePoint environments, watch our SPDocKit webinar.

Table of contents

01:59 Agenda
02:47 SPDocKit Quick Overview
05:59 SPDocKit Compare Wizard Quick Overview
08:21 Demo 1: Compare different farms
19:52 Demo 2: Compare single farm over time
24:40 Demo 3: Compare Site Collections and Web Applications
28:07 Demo 4: Compare SharePoint Permissions
33:51 Demo 5: Compare Web.config files
39:02 Key Takeaways

Video transcript summary

Toni, co-founder of Acceleratio and product owner of SPDocKit, will guide you through this video presentation. Here, at Acceleratio, we make it our priority to make all sorts of system tools for SharePoint admins, as well as Windows and Office 365 admins. In this webinar you will be able to see how you can better manage your SharePoint environment, and a lot of what we have prepared for you today is based on our experience with helping different customers manage their SharePoint infrastructure and SharePoint farms.

Apart from SPDocKit, we created and offer other tools such as SysKit and CloudKit 365. SysKit is a Windows monitoring tool that helps you monitor and manage your Windows environment, servers, virtual machines, and workstations. With CloudKit 365 is our brand-new reporting tool that helps Office 365 admins gather documentation and monitor the Office 365 installation.

SPDocKit Quick Overview

SPDocKit is a tool that can save a lot of time in terms of generating documentation. It gathers all the settings from a central administration, all the web applications, service applications, and servers, so you can have an overall inventory of your entire farm. The tool, of course, has a lot more to offer than just simple farm documentation. SPDocKit can go through and document all your site collections, sites, document libraries, lists, and anything that you have in your SharePoint.

SPDocKit creates a comprehensive documentation of your permissions. You can also create different reports that help you learn how permissions are distributed to your SharePoint objects, lists, documents, folders – you name it. And we can also help you to provide different views to your permissions. We have introduced a number of new features so if you manage a SharePoint farm and you want to streamline and speed up some operations you need to perform, like granting permissions or cloning permissions from one individual to another, we have a lot of features in SPDocKit that help you achieve these things very quickly.

Along with the gathered settings from your SharePoint environment, SPDocKit can check your configuration best practices and determine if something was misconfigured. This is especially helpful if you’re managing a large farm, or if you have an outside vendor helping you configure your SharePoint farm. You can use the tool to verify that the project that was delivered to you was delivered in the proper way. Also, you have the option of changing the values of the best practices to match whatever operational best practices you have in your company.

Compare SharePoint farm settings

SPDocKit has five compare options that give you the ability to compare different, as well as the same, farms over different time periods. Additionally, you can compare all the individual elements in SharePoint to track changes and see if there are some changes that shouldn’t be there. This is especially helpful if you’re managing a larger SharePoint environment where you have multiple farms.

For example, we work with a lot of customers who have a number of farms like development, production, QA, and staging farms. SPDocKit can then compare farms to make sure that these environments are as similar as possible – that they are configured in the same way.

Use snapshots and track changes

SPDocKit can be configured to run snapshots on a scheduled basis. For most customers, we recommend running them at least once a day to have a history of all the settings and all configurations over time. You can mark some configurations as good and, at some point, when you are sure that this farm is properly configured, you can easily go back and see what has changed. Configure these comparisons to be delivered to you via email to receive notifications if something has changed. The system can run pretty much on its own without you intervening on a daily basis.

Compare different SharePoint farms

In SPDocKit you can compare different SharePoint farms, which comes in handy if you have production, staging, and development farms. Sometimes it’s very challenging to ensure that these farms are identical. They are not identical in the terms of number of servers. Many customers want to ensure that farms are as similar as possible to one another in terms of settings, features they use and features they deliver to their end users.

Typically, for many customers, development and staging farms are not in the same domain as the main production farm. This means you are using different accounts, that you have something different in terms of where you back up your databases, etc. With SPDocKit, you can map different servers. You can even map different URLs.

Configure single farms

Another typical scenario is when you want to track changes over time in a single farm. SPDocKit can create a snapshot for you on a scheduled basis. You can have a database of snapshots and then go through the snapshots to make comparisons of your farm during the course of time.

For example, you can compare two snapshots and see that someone had, at some point, upgraded a farm to a different cumulative update and the versions don’t match. Then, if you are having problems, you will know it is because that farm was patched with a different patch level. It can be very helpful to detect when some particular change has been performed.

Compare Site Collections and Web Applications

You can compare settings on an individual web application or site collection. This can be useful because you can compare not just site collections or web applications from a single farm, but also two different applications from two different farms. In every SPDocKit Compare Wizard you have the option to select only differences, show objects that are different, or objects that are equal, and save the report you are seeing on the screen in a PDF format and easily distribute it to members of your team who are interested in this particular comparison.

Compare SharePoint permissions

SPDocKit can also create a snapshot of all your SharePoint permissions and show you when permissions change.

For example, in a situation where somebody contacts you from your end-users or power users and says: “Ok, Toni, yesterday I was able to access the project site, but today when I went to the Project site, it says I don’t have permissions.” Use SPDocKit to dig deeper and see how these two sites changed over time by comparing snapshots.

You can even compare different sites. This can be very helpful if you’re trying to troubleshoot something and trying to find out how two sites or anything in SharePoint are different, and how the changes have been implemented. Especially if you have a larger organization, you can easily drill down to individual objects.

Compare Web.config files

This is more in the area of farm configuration and it’s especially useful in two scenarios: when you have multiple web front ends that might potentially have different web.configs or when you have a farm where you have developers deploying custom solutions that require some changes to be made to web.config.

To ensure that you have web.config for a particular web application and particular zone configured in the exactly the same way, SPDocKit helps track the differences between different web.config files. During our snapshot-taking process, SPDocKit takes your web.config files and analyzes them to show you the potential differences between the two snapshots.

On top of our compare wizard for web.configs, we can do one additional thing for you. SPDocKit comes with the Best Practices analyzer, which analyzes all the settings according to Microsoft operational best practices, but we also have one best practice that does comparison of web files. After every snapshot, we compare all the web.configs and see if there are any differences in web.configs where somebody was deploying some solution and the web.config update might not work.

For Q&A and webinar recap, check our blog post.

Let managing your SharePoint farms be a pleasant experience – download SPDocKit!