SharePoint 2010 Upgrade – Part 2:

Part 2: Outline Your Upgrade Approach:

There are 4 recommended methods to upgrade:

Here are the 4 methods that Microsoft recommends for upgrading from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010.   Now, rather than re-write all of the incredible content Microsoft has already provide on these upgrade paths (see the SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Approach site on TechNet, or Download the Upgrade Approach Poster).

Here’s a brief summary, in my own words:

  1. In-Place Upgrade - Use existing farm hardware and software install.  You have to make sure your hardware meets the SharePoint 2010 specs.  This method can be time-consuming and can cause significant outage windows during the upgrade.   You have to wait for the upgrade to finish before you can use the farm, so you have to plan this outage carefully.
  2. Database attach upgrade to a new farm – You can use new farm hardware, but attach your existing content databases.  This method allows you to upgrade multiple content DB’s at one time.  You can also consolidate SharePoint farms, so if you have branch offices, or you acquired a company with their own SharePoint farms (for example), you can consolidate.

    However, with this method, you have to implement all of your customizations and farm settings from scratch.

  3. Hybrid Upgrades – There are two Hybrid methods to upgrade:
    1. Read-only Databases – This sets all of the DB’s to read-only during the upgrade.  You can upgrade multiple databases at once and the farm can continue to serve pages on databases that aren’t currently being upgraded.  Downtime is minimized, but there is some “after-work” to do in repairing farm settings and customizations.
    2. Detatch Databases – This is an in-place upgrade (keeps farm settings in-tact), but also allows you to update multiple content databases at once.

NOTE:  All of these methods require a system outage of some type and/or some manual configuration to get back to the equivalent user experience you had in the previous farm.   When carefully planned, these are all great choices.

Another Upgrade Method: Side-By-Side

Once you’ve been on SharePoint 2007 for a while and decide to switch to SharePoint 2010, you’re probably making another decision as well.  If I don’t keep my existing farm:

  • Do I go with a virtual farm?
  • Do I upgrade my hardware and create a more robust physical farm?

(either of these options would be a side-by-side upgrade).

In my experience, most companies make this choice because it’s “easiest”.  It may not be the cheapest, or fastest, but you have to admit – it’s a pretty clean method up upgrading.   Plus, you have ZERO DOWNTIME if you plan this correctly, which makes this type of upgrade much more attractive to several (not all) companies.

Advantages of Side-By-Side Upgrades:

This upgrade method is the most flexible, because it allows you to do the following:

  1. Learn from your physical and logical architecture mistakes in your previous farm and do it “right” this time.
  2. Upgrade (better, stronger, faster!)
  3. Plan out your environment and/or account for organizational or structural changes that may have affected the way your content was laid out in the previous solution.
  4. There are plenty of 3rd party tools, like Metalogix (no plug intended) that can help you easily move content from one farm to another.

The point is:  Pick your poison.  Which method will you choose?  Whichever one, outline the steps you’ll take to execute this upgrade method and then get ready to gather requirements to make it function once the upgrade is done.

Moving on to STEP 3 – Requirements Gathering….

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