Lift and Shift Migration – SDL Tridion to Adobe Experience Manager

SDL Tridion and AEM both are mature enterprise level Content Management systems serving customers to achieve specific goals of their digital strategy. From time to time, the requirements and strategies of our customers change and with that change a new CMS system is also introduced.

The biggest time consuming element of moving from one CMS to another is the migration of existing content from the old system to the new.
Content Bloom has performed a number of migrations from/to various content management systems saving our clients years of manual effort and thousands of dollars in this process.

The most common migration strategy is known as the ‘Lift and Shift’ migration.

The Lift and Shift Migration

The Lift and Shift typically means to export (lift) the content, layouts and other items from one CMS system and import (shift) into another CMS system – while with SDL Tridion to AEM migration might not be a 100% Lift and Shift approach due to the different basic working principles of them, in our experience it’s normally a ‘content only’ migration as the new system will have new templates, or the design will be moved to the client side application.
Migration Process – The Content Bloom Approach

Both SDL Tridion and Adobe AEM store data in the XML format; this is great news for performing an SDL Tridion to Adobe migration. The existing XML can simply be transformed from its current structure into the structure supported by AEM. While this sounds simple, there are certainly some steps to walk through, these are explained below.

SDL Tridion as well as AEM both have rich API offerings, both allow you to extract and import content from other CMSes seamlessly. Migrating from SDL Tridion to Adobe AEM requires a deep knowledge of the main concepts of either CMS, while they both use XML, item types such as content blocks, links, keywords and pages are managed and termed differently.
Content Bloom recommends a 7-step process to migrate from SDL Tridion to Adobe AEM:

1. Scan

Programmatically scan the existing Tridion system to generate a full list of all items within the system and identify the following:

  • Identify Items which can be exported from SDL Tridion and import to AEM
  • Identify Items to re-design and re-implement in Adobe AEM
  • Identify Blueprinting gaps in SDL Tridion and Adobe AEM
  • Identify Statically embedded and Dynamically published content in SDL Tridion

2. Plan

Create a project plan to devise the technical, management, testing and release of the complete migration, the following are the key elements to incorporate into the planning process:

  • Plan the SDL Tridion Blueprinting redesign
  • Plan the Information Architecture and Content Modelling
  • Plan the Content Migration
  • Plan the implementation of stuff that cannot be migrated
  • Plan the deployment
  • Plan the QA and UAT
  • Plan the Go Live activities

3 Prepare

Prepare the AEM and SDL Tridion instances for the migration process.

  • Prepare the AEM Servers with all pre-requisites
  • Prepare the Blueprinting of websites in the AEM instance
  • Prepare any other tool, third-party package, translation server setup with this AEM instance
  • Prepare the AEM instance as per the required content hierarchy to accommodate migrated content

4. ETL
Extract, Transform SDL Tridion items then Load them into Adobe AEM. Note Content Bloom has a number of in-house developed tools to automate this process to hand.

  • Extract the components, pages, taxonomies, metadata, multimedia etc. from the existing SDL Tridion Instance intro folder structures, XML and raw binary files
  • Transform the extracted information in Adobe AEM understandable format
  • Load the content in AEM in the form of Pages (or components) as per the Blueprint mapping in AEM.  The corresponding multimedia needs to be imported in the AEM Assets.  Key here is to ensure dependencies are imported in the correct order and marked as completed to avoid duplicated processing and effort.

Typically, it is recommended to use the AEM packages to import a large number of items in AEM CRX/OAK repository. The following steps explains this ETL process:

  • Extract all migratable content from Tridion in XML format
  • Use XSLT to transform this xml into one which AEM can understand
  • Archive all these transformed XML files into a zip package
  • Use HTTP Post to upload this AEM package
  • Install these uploaded packages using the Package Manger

This is illustrated in the diagram below:

5. Construct

Design and implement items and functionalities which cannot be migrated.

  • Construct the functionalities which cannot be migrated “as is” from Tridion – like Event System, Publishing customization, GUI Extensions etc.
  • Re-implement any functionality which might be there out of the box in Tridion but not in AEM.

6. QA

Quality Analyze the migrated system to ensure a successful migration.

  • QA the migrated websites, various functionalities and areas
  • QA the content authoring
  • QA and benchmark the performance
  • QA various integration with third-party (if any)

7. Deploy
Deploy for UAT, sign off and Go Live 🙂

  • Deploy for UAT
  • Collaborate for UAT
  • Prepare for Go Live
  • Deploy for Go Live
  • Sanity Test the live migrated website

Content Bloom has a wealth of tools to help support an SDL to Adobe migration, we also provide ground up implementations for both Tridion and AEM.  Complete the form on our Contact Page if you’d like to talk with out consultancy team regarding your migration.