Arguably one of the most crucial aspects of SharePoint 2010 is the ability to upgrade to it. It will no doubt be the first focus of firms heavily entrenched in SharePoint.
Sean Livingston, the upgrade program manager at Microsoft, began the SharePoint Conference 2009 session on upgrading to SharePoint 2010 by stressing that “..this is only the beginning…" for Microsoft’s plans to help companies upgrade to the new release.
This release will focus on in-place upgrades and database attached upgrades — including content databases, profile service databases and project service databases.
Unsupported upgrades will be from earlier releases than WSS v3 SP2/MOSS 2007 SP2, direct downgrade from WSS v2/SPS 2003 or earlier, side by side installations and gradual upgrades.
Upgrade Prep Tools
WSS v2/MOSS 2007 SP2
- Pre-upgrade Checker
- Stsadm –o EnumAllWebs
- SPDiag v2
- Stsadm –o ExportIPFSAdminObjects
- Stsadm –o EnumAllWebs
- SPDiag 2010
Content Database insight
Is Your Farm Healthy?
In 2010, Microsoft realized that there weren’t enough tools available to determine if your farm was in a “healthy state” before upgrading. Because there are so many custom solutions out there, the new tools will hopefully aid in the upgrade process. An update to the SPDiag tool (TBD) will offer more to admins than was currently available in the v2 version.
The Pre-Upgrade Checker Command was introduced in SP2, and is being improved in the October 2009 CU to address some shortcomings. The tool identifies farm information and current and potential issues with the farm that you need to know before upgrading. Some of the issues the tool would be looking for are missing site definitions, data orphans and modified content databases.
Modified content databases, specifically, will more than likely cause a problem during upgrade, so you’ve got to back out of those changes before upgrading. The tool will compare the schema of your content databases to an untouched schema.
This utility makes no changes to the databases, but only compares databases for upgrade readiness. Not only does it work on O12 content databases but also O14 databases.
Windows Powershell Upgarde Cmdlets
The Upgrade-SPContentDatabase will resume an upgrade session that’s in progress or to upgrade certain components after applying a recent patch that changes the build, or B2B upgrades. It can also resume a failed content database version to version upgrade.
2010 will include a feature upgrade capability that will be able to call out to custom code.
The difficulty with upgrading is that customers do not want anything to change, especially the UI. The default mode for an upgrade is the Visual Upgrade. Because 2010 ships with all of the 2007 master pages, you can remain in the 2007 UI rather than moving to the 2010 UI.
This was Microsoft’s answer to this issue. Farm admins and site admins can preview the new UI without making actual changes to the site itself. There are some incompatibilities with the 2007 UI in 2010, such as the My site host. It requires the new UI due to the social networking enhancements, but all subpages will look just like they do in 2007.
Patch management is very difficult to maintain in 2007. Your current build number in Central Admin was tied to a reg key that was not necessarily accurate and only relevant to the server rendering that information. In 2010 there will be a patch management UI available as well as a reporting PS cmdlet and patch status health rules.
Downtime Mitigation Processes
There is no magic number for the time that an upgrade will take, but Microsoft will be developing documentation to help admins to determine how long a potential upgrade will take. One new feature is the ability to do parallel upgrading of databases, which will run multiple upgrade sessions in parallel.
Upgrade Logging/Status Reporting
A common complaint was that the upgrade log continued to grow at a rate that was difficult to parse. Now there is only 1 upgrade log per session as well as a specific log just for errors. For reporting 2 new features included will be upgrade status history and command line progress integration.
You can now view all current patches in the farm as well as looking at the schema versions for all content databases without having to hunt around for that information. You’ll also be able to see the status of certain databases. This is helpful if you are slowly upgrading databases, and you aren’t sure which ones have been done yet. It will also report problems with your upgrades, so you can easily identify which databases need to be analyzed for issues.
As firms begin planning their upgrade paths, Sean stressed that one of the first things you can do now is prepare a test environment. This can be done entirely on VMs. Because SharePoint has so many custom solutions, it is key to be able to test your upgrades with live data.
The below slide above summarizes what areas you will need to focus on to perform a successful upgrade to SharePoint 2010.
About the Author
Mike Ferrara is an independent consultant and editor with SharePointReviews.com. He specializes in document and content management systems including SharePoint and the Autonomy/Interwoven family of products.