I have been hearing the buzz of upgrades more and more lately so I thought I would perform a little write-up to explain the upgrade process. NOTE: I will use the words migrate and upgrade as one. I realize they have different meanings but I am trying to keep this simple.
First of all let’s talk about upgrade path’s.
SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013 – There is no direct Path.
SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 – Direct upgrade thru In-Place upgrade or Database attach
If you are using the free version of SharePoint (SharePoint Foundation 2010) you cannot directly upgrade to the Server version, you must either upgrade to SharePoint Foundation 2013 or SharePoint Server 2010 then upgrade to SharePoint Server 2013.
If you find yourself in SharePoint 2007 and wanting to move to SharePoint 2013 you have two choices. You can upgrade to SharePoint 2010 then upgrade to SharePoint 2013, but this can take time and resources that you may not have. I would highly recommend you look at the Microsoft Partner landscape as there are some great tools out there that can help you move directly from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013, but remember these tools would be supported by those partners and have not been tested by Microsoft so I’m giving no guarantees here. The best practice is to always perform a complete TEST migration before moving forward with the real one. If you choose to upgrade from 2007 to 2010 and then upgrade to 2013 there are some great articles out there like this one that will help you to get to .
Next let’s discuss time schedules and general activities. No upgrade can be done over the weekend and be successful, it takes planning and preparation to get it right. My expectation would be from the moment somebody says let’s upgrade till we are done, could take up to a year if done correctly and you successfully very easily. And to insure that you do this correctly there are different Project frameworks that people follow, whichever one you it should have at least these phases Planning, Testing, Preparation, Implementation
Planning – This is really the research and discussion phase where we find out what can be done and can’t be done, and what has changed. How that fits with our SLA, etc don’t be afraid to get input from your users at this time to insure your plan matches with their expectations. Take your time and make sure you have a well vetted plan.
Testing – This is where we put the plan to the metal and see if it will work, record all errors found and the solutions that go along with them. Then go back to the planning phase to vet out any issues.
Preparation – Time to get all your ducks in a line, make sure that all paper work is done, you have all the correct people lined up, you have down time agreed to, Hardware is in place, Backups are ready for the new environment, all the lower environments are setup, Disaster Recovery is prepared, your plan is vetted and prepared leave no stone unturned in making sure you are ready to throw that upgrade switch.
Implementation – This is go time you start the upgrade and don’t look back, remember to stick to the plan but be prepared for bumps just in case.
Next let’s look at what you have to do, to prepare your SharePoint 2010 environment to upgrade
Now that your SharePoint 2010 farm is prepared to be upgraded, we need to actually perform the upgrade. Like I had mentioned earlier I highly recommend that you perform a Test upgrade with a full data set before you move forward with your upgrade. There are two different types of upgrade In-place and Database attach, with the in-place upgrade there is no magic you stick the CD and your farm is down till it completes. With the databases attach you build your new farm and start attaching databases, the attach process is multi-threaded and you can upgrade multiple databases across multiple servers in the farm I highly recommend you follow the database attach process.
Things to think about when you perform database attach:
You have now updated your servers and database and are feeling good now you want to upgrade the Site Collections so they can use all the new features. Like I had said the Visual Upgrade process has been deprecated and replaced with Site Collection upgrades, currently all your Site Collections are running with the Features, Look and Feel, Web Parts, and Service Applications that they had in SharePoint 2010 and there are a few simple steps that your Site Collection owners need to perform to complete this upgrade
You might be getting a bit nervous at the idea of users performing the Site Collection upgrades. But the Product group has already thought this process thru and created some great features for this.
Some great articles
Plan for site collection upgrades in SharePoint 2013
Upgrade to SharePoint 2013
Upgrade a site collection
SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Process
Thanks for the great summary on SP2013 upgrade approaches with the strong focus on DBattach. It is my understanding that the in-place upgrade is no longer an option for 2010 > 2013 and that the only way to upgrade is via the database attach.