Two weeks ago, I hosted one of the first live SPDocKit webinars on SPDocKit integration with AutoSPInstaller. Although I prefer to speak at “offline events” (like I did at European SharePoint Conference 2015), we decided to start a series of webinars for our customers on SPDocKit and SharePoint in general.

Here are some of the questions we received during the webinar.

Questions & Answers

Q: How do you build a snapshot as presented at the beginning of the webinar? The presenter did not show this.
A: A snapshot is created when you load a farm into SPDocKit. More information about how to load a farm and the loading options can be found in this article. Based on this snapshot and the settings contained in it, the SPDocKit AutoSPInstaller wizard creates an XML input file, which is used in the actual AutoSPInstaller tool.

Q: What about SSL certificates and permissions for service applications? Is the SSL certificate configuration fully supported in AutoSPInstaller?
A: AutoSPInstaller provides some of the initial permission configuration but not custom permissions. If you need to do something like that, you have to create your own script to copy the permissions.

Q: Can it copy the content? Does it copy the content databases to the new farm?
A: AutoSPInstaller performs a base configuration, based on the source farm’s setup. It doesn’t copy the actual SP content from farm A to farm B. To copy the content, you should restore or use your existing database to restore the content database.

Q: How does this AutoSPInstaller process work on a site collection with custom workflows and solutions, if the solutions and workflows are already globally deployed on the destination farm?
A: It doesn’t. The script provisions new web apps and site collections. If you need to provision your existing custom solutions, you would need to restore your DB or provision the solutions from scratch.

Q: Will it copy over master files and other scripts or can I avoid those altogether?
A: The master files are not copied by AutoSPInstaller.

Q: Can it copy branding?
A: The branding and the master files are in the database, so unfortunately AutoSPInstaller cannot copy them automatically.

Q: Can AutoSPInstaller create a PowerPivot service application?
A: It can create a lot of applications, but unfortunately PowerPivot is not one of them.

Q: Does AutoSPInstaller allow installation of third-party solutions?
A: Not that we are aware of, but since it uses a PowerShell script, it’s easily manipulated and extended to install your custom solutions.

Q: Are AutoSPInstaller and SPDocKit viable tools for building disaster recovery environments?
A: You can use a combination of the two tools to provision a recovery farm, or do so using just the AutoSPInstaller tool.

Q: Does SPDocKit support the transition from multi-tier to a single tier?
A: The SPDocKit wizard will allow you easily to transition from multi-tier to a single-server environment and vice versa. In the webinar use case, we had two servers for farm A that could easily be mapped and transformed into the single server for farm B.

Q: Is AutoSPInstaller ready for SP 2016? What’s the ETA for SP 2016 support?
A: AutoSPInstaller is definitely up to speed with SP 2016.

Q: Can SPDocKit create an AutoSPInstaller XML file automatically or to a schedule?
A: Currently, this option is not available, since the SPDocKit wizard needs you to provide a lot of information, such as server mappings and stuff, but perhaps this will be available in a future release.

In future webinars we discuss upgrading to SharePoint 2016, comparing different SharePoint farms, and much more. If you would like to attend a webinar, follow SPDocKit on Twitter or drop us a line.

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