SharePoint 2010 Upgrade: Part 4

Tactical – Perform the SharePoint 2010 upgrade / migration

With your outline in place, and the results from your pre-upgrade checker in hand it’s time to see if your upgrade approach and strategy will fly.   The best way to do this is to build yourself a test farm for you upgrade.   With SharePoint 2010, Microsoft has created some great content to guide you through this process.   One of my favorite sources are these SharePoint 2010 Technical Diagram Posters.

Specifically for this post, I recommend using the “Test Your Upgrade Process” poster.

Tactical Steps:

First, you’ll build a test environment that closely resembles your new production farm (or what you have planned for your new production farm).   It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should get it close to reality.   You’re going to use this farm to test out some of the core concepts of your upgrade/migration plan.

You’ll run the SharePoint Preparation Tool, which installs all of the pre-requisites (thank you, Microsoft!), and then run setup itself.  Once installed, you’ll run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard to configure your basic server components (databases, Central Admin, etc).    Running the Farm Configuration wizard configures your farm, creates the first site collection and allows you to pick the Service Applications to use in this farm.

Customizations:

Next, you’ll identify and install some of the customizations you encountered after running your pre-upgrade checker into your test farm.   The “Test Your Upgrade” poster tells you what PowerShell commands to run to double-check all of these settings.

Set the stage:

Copy some sample data from your current farm, into your Test farm and make sure it’s all showing up correctly in the browser, etc.   Once that’s squared away, you’ll want to test your upgrade.  (NOTE:  These steps may vary, based on what type of upgrade or migration you chose).

Review the log files and note any upgrade issues.  Rinse and Repeat (as they say) until you’ve found a formula for success.  Once you’ve got everything installed and configured, you want to verify your upgrade.

Verifying your Test Upgrade:

Now, it’s time to make sure that your “mock-up” is functional.   Are the web parts working correctly?  How is the fit & finish on your branding?  Check Permissions and make sure they were retained as planned.  Check customized pages and make sure your customizations are functional.   Once you’re satisfied with the results,  It’s time to upgrade for real.

NOTE:  Make sure you’re taking notes and outlining your plan accordingly, all the while.   Having everything documented makes it SO much easier to remember how everything was done, so you don’t end up fiddling around in the 11th hour.

Next, just go forth with your Production Upgrade as planned (and documented).

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