Wednesday, October 05, 2011

SharePoint Conference 2011: How eBay Successfully Upgraded their Intranet to SharePoint 2010

These are my rough notes of the presentation by Ramin Mobasseri and Chris Givens of eBay. The Hub is pretty impressive for the way it organizes information for its users and the lengths it goes to in order to default metadata for improved searching.


  • Why upgrade?
  • Methodology
  • About the Upgrade (Technical)
  • About the Upgrade (Tactical)
  • About the Upgrade (Functional)
  • Q&A

Why Upgrade

On MOSS 2007.

Got more complex requirements from business users who didn’t want to write code.

Better search.

Enterprise Social Networking

Better device and browser compatibility.

Demo: The Hub – the core eBay site. ESN is Enterprise Social Networking. Proud of combining managed metadata store with FAST search.

Extensively branded (yellow, large icons for the main menu items.

Global Nav

  • Who We Are
  • News
  • My HR
  • Teams
  • Workplace
  • Our Businesses

Have people search and all sites search at the top of each master page.1 click people search using FAST and typeahead

People results

Contact Info, Department info

Search Best Bets

People look for 3 scopes of things at eBay

1. Business Unit

2. Location.

3. Organization

Managed Metadata filters on the left to allow those scopes. DIfficult to tag pre-existing sites with managed metadata

Upon creation of a site you get Best Bets added automatically

Visio Services

Used by IT Tools team – wanted way to watch health of their servers at all times. Didn’t want to spend money. Took 45 minutes to draw visio diagram and connect to backend systems. Can filter by Production and DR environments or by Dev environments.

Why Upgrade

Social Media at work – did pilots – decided on Yammer, Chatter, Newsgator, and other social networkings. Decision to not dictate technologies on end users, but recommend tools they feel are best.

1st Attempt – try to integrate these tools. If it doesn’t succeed, we aggregate.

List of social networking services under My Social link

End users can make a post and it sends to multiple networks.

Expertise locator tag cloud

Expertise Search

Better Browser and Device Compatibility

Built feature grid – against all browsers. And put a level of support from 0 to 4.

Better performance: Increased performance by 29% (for global users) since servers are based in Denver.

Upgrade Methodology

Upgrade took 3 months.

Agilistic Scrum over the Spiral Waterfalls!

Blend of project methodologies. Started in Agile mode. Had MS Architects vet the scrums to make sure everything was in place. Meanwhile business analysts could create waterfall project plan.

Communication Plan: Write to end users, team site owners, don’t surprise them. They used a grid:

Subject | Type | Target Users | Description | Date Sent.

Governance Plan: Your blueprint. Over 345 new features – yes or no answers with each team and work with IT Operations to get their blessing. If “Yes” how is it configured and who can do what?

Feature Matrix for each set of features.

About the Upgrade (Technical)

Had access to MS Architects to ensure everything was possible.

Project Requirements:

  • 3 month timeline, multiple solutions to be upgraded.
  • Data  Mining/ Farm Documentation
  • Detailed Analysis of existing farm
  • 3rd party solutions audit.

Ran a source code comparer to diff the SharePoint files in 12 hive against the OOTB files.

Biggest challenge was 3rd party solutions. Had to build whole mockup of 2007 environment and then try migrations into 2010 to see what broke.

You need business users who can test this to see if it works or not.


Large server farm. 14 servers, 20,000 users world-wide, 12,000 sites and 33,000 My Sites. 20+ content databases.

Disaster Recovery. Redundant Data Centers for failover.

eBay has full failover – 4 hour failover time window.

$1.5 M of hardware.

Hardware and Performance Topics

Farm Configuration: Had to figure out capacity planning, how many servers, what the SLA’s are and tolerance for risk. For Disaster Recovery you might have to double the costs.

Microsoft offered access to MS Data Centers to test performance. Problem: eBay required other systems to be connected so that didn’t really work. Microsoft provided Architecture review.

IOPS are VERY important – FAST requires high Input Output for disks

SANs – very expensive, work with SQL Server. Everything else is Direct Attached drives for WFE and App servers.

Capacity Planning -  how many users concurrently – what will the transaction mix be? Plan for growth.

VS Ultimate Test Tools – allows for performance testing of your applications.

Performance Optimizations: Page weights, global network.

High latency network can cause end user dis-satisfaction. Top 3 HTTP request types tend to be: CSS, Images, JS

How to minimize the page weights?

  • Minimize the CSS (remove un-used CSS classes)
  • Compress the CSS
  • Make images 1px wide
  • Minify the JS files

Got page weights down to 67k. Users were happier in global locations


  • IIS Output Cache – causes weird page weight issue with browser
  • ASP.NET Caching
  • BlobCache -
  • ProxyServers
  • CDNs

About the Upgrade: Tactical

Provisioning a site – a  custom form. Long running process within a webpart. Anyone can create a site, IT gets a notification.

You specify a Business Unit, Organization, and Office Location default values using Managed Metadata. So when they search it will automatically filter from those sites with those values, they don’t have to do anything. They can find their site using their keywords. This took the longest time.

Rich Proifles: Encourage the end users to modify their user profiles

Offer them incentives.

Get rid of unwanted unused sites (clean your house)

Start your brownbag series early

Build an Upgrade Community to get feedback

Have weekly status meetings with the stakeholders

Make sure you have a Technical PM on the team

Watch out for the phrases: “That’s taken care of” or “That’s finished” – you have to test.

Test test test test

Productivity Hub

Power User Training

About the Upgrade: Functional

Master Pages – colliding requirements between functional groups

Editorial Issues: Did you use Word to edit in MOSS

Watch out for DIV and SPAN tags

Rich Text Editors and Content Editor webparts

The Ribbon: You will see some resistance. Users will settle after training

3 sets of users: Pioneers, Settlers, Stay-Behinds

Managed Metadata Services - Brilliant for search. Allow time for Information Taxanomy, do not rush! Planning to add them to lists and libraries (auto-tagging)? Watch out for Datasheet views.

Service Packs – don’t do SP for 6 months. But plan for it early


How many people were on the project? 3 devs, 3 IT Pros, 2 PMs (9 or 10 people for 3 months)

Physical or virtual? FAST and Admin was virtual, otherwise it was all physical (due to internal eBay policies)

Training: 20,000 user base – have trained 150 users so far. Train the trainer – Productivity Hub is 3rd most visited hub in the last few months so this is helping with training

Methodology – what do they recommend? Use whatever works. eBay recommends Scrum in Dev and get branding requirements via traditional models. Dev moved ahead while waiting for requirements (had a general idea)

Did you have to change any functionality? Had to rename thousands of host header name changes. InfoPath data connections were statically set – big issue.

Did you have constructive feedback on the intranet? Yes – put up a blog on the issues – have weekly call with Microsoft on post-upgrade lessons learned keeping Microsoft informed

Migration Approach? Was Database Attach in new farm. All database fail – that’s a given. The amount of time it takes to upgrade is directly related to the number of sites – so delete all the empty ones.

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