SharePoint 2013 Hosting :: How to Prepare for a SharePoint 2013 upgrade.

SharePoint 2013 now does not support in place-upgrade as it was in MOSS 2007. The database attach method is the most preferred one to upgrade to SharePoint 2013. You cannot directly upgrade from MOSS 2007 to SP 2013. You first need to upgrade to SP 2010 and then to SP 2013. But there are many third-party tools available to directly upgrade from MOSS 2007 to SP 2013. In this article we will not discuss any of those tools.

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The following procedure will help you in preparing to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 from SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint 2013 has a service architecture similar to SharePoint 2010 that makes it easy to attach and upgrade the databases of some of the service applications. The list of service applications that can be upgraded using the database attach method is as follows:

Service Application Comments
Business Data Connectivity SharePoint 2013 Server and SharePoint 2013 Foundation support this service application.
Managed Metadata SharePoint 2013 Server only supports this service application.
PerformancePoint SharePoint 2013 Server only supports this service application.
Secure Store SharePoint 2013 Server only supports this service application.
User Profile (Profile, Social and Sync) SharePoint 2013 Server only supports this service application.
Search Administration SharePoint 2013 Server only supports this service application. SharePoint 2013 only supports upgrade of the Search Administration site. You must reconfigure your search topology anew in SharePoint 2013.

SharePoint 2013 provides “deferred site collection upgrade” via site collection settings. This allows administrators of site collections to choose when they wish to upgrade from a SharePoint 2010 user interface to the new SharePoint 2013 user interface. The site administrators or the owners can request an evaluation copy, where they can evaluate their contents in SP 2013 the look and feel before they actually migrate.

Database attach method includes the following procedure at a very high level:

  1. It requires a working SharePoint 2013 Farm to attach the databases from a SharePoint 2010 Farm.
  2. Copy the databases from a SP 2010 to a SP 2013 database server and attach it.
  3. Create and upgrade service applications in SP 2013.
  4. Upgrade the content databases.
  5. Site collection administrators or site owners upgrade their site in a new look and feel.

The two key things for making a successful upgrade are maintaining data integrity and less down time. You can put the SP 2010 sites into read-only mode during an upgrade. But you cannot keep the sites in read-only mode for a long time since the users will not be able to write anything to their site. So to make the sites read-only, upgrade the SP 2010 databases. The users may access the sites in SP 2013 with the same look and feel until they wish to upgrade to the new interface.

For a painless and successful upgrade, consider the following activities before you upgrade to SP 2013:

  1. Check whether you have patched your SP 2010 Farm to the latest major service pack.
  2. Check whether you have patched your SQL Server to the latest major service pack.
  3. Check all the servers in the Farm to ensure the same level of patching.
  4. Resolve all the critical errors reported in the health checker.
  5. Don’t upgrade larger content databases in parallel.
  6. Remove any PowerPoint broadcast sites because SharePoint 2013 does not support these site templates. The new Office Web Apps server provides PowerPoint broadcast support.
  7. Remove any FAST Search Center sites because these sites do not upgrade in SharePoint 2013.
    SharePoint 2013 supports standard Enterprise Search Administration upgrade. If you use FAST in SharePoint 2010 you must provision a new SharePoint 2013 Enterprise Search Application.
  8. Ensure that all site collections and sites use the SharePoint 2010 experience that you can check using the PowerShell Cmdlet:
    Get-SPSite | ForEach-Object{$_.GetVisualReport()}
  9. Repair issues in content databases.

The next major thing that may cause the upgrade to fail is the customization. You must make sure all the customizations are in place before upgrading (any third-party, solution packages, manual changes to the hive files and so on)

Note: Editions of SharePoint 2010 must match editions of SharePoint 2013 for a successful upgrade. Downgrading from server to foundation upgrade is not supported. You cannot downgrade the license version of SharePoint as part of the upgrade to SharePoint 2013 process. If you plan to upgrade to SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, install the Enterprise License after the product upgrade.

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