SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Overview

Upgrade is safer than before

The upgrade from SharePoint 2007 to 2010 was not easy and could become very complex if you get a lot of custom apps and customizations. Microsoft try to offer better availability of data during the migration and offer different solution to get a safer migration:

  • Removal in place version to version migration
  • Adding site collection health check to verify if you site collection will be migrate correctly to SharePoint 2013
  • Adding preview of upgrade to show how your sites will work on the new environment (it will show you the site in read only)
  • Separate DB upgrade from site collection upgrade.
  • Better communication during migration with email migration message and messages in status bar

Differed Site collection upgrade

Microsoft introduce a migration in two steps to prevent a big bang upgrade like we did in the past: so you can upgrade Database schema in a first time and site collection later. If you do this your site will run on the SharePoint 2013 with the 2010 look and feels. Farm admin or site collection admin will be able to enable a migration request later. Let some site in 2010 experience can be very useful to wait users training or migration of some apps or customizations that are not working well in SharePoint 2013 mode

With a two steps migration you can delegate the site collection migration to the site collection administrators. So at you farm admin level you can focus on the farm migration and Database migration. You will just move the site collection and let site collection admin decide if they want to migrate or not and when.

Site collection health check

This health check is a set of rules create to detect and check your environment. Rules can detect and in some cases repair issues on the farm if the health check run in repair mode. Health Check runs automatically in repair mode during version upgrade.

It can be run out of the upgrade to give advance notice of potential future issues…pretty cool.

Evaluation of site collection before upgrade

SharePoint is able to give you a preview of the migration. It copy an existing site collection not for long term use and in read only. It is just to test a site on the new platform. After a delay the copy expire.

Self-Service site collection upgrade

Site collection admin choose when to upgrade their site collection. If the site is not migrate it will be render like it was on SharePoint 2010. When the users and the site collection administrator are ready, the last one can initiate a new site upgrade request. This request will be queued and execute as soon as possible.

To prevent all site collection admin to send upgrade request at the same time (To much request could overload the server) a queue system is present in the system where you can define the limits and the number or simultaneous upgrades.

My Site Upgrade

The rendering of personal sites depend of the migration status of my sites. If my site not in migrate on SharePoint2013 mode the personal site will be show like they was on SharePoint 2012. So of course Microsoft recommend to migrate My sites before personals sites

About SQL Snapshots

When you migrate a site collection all the sites are not available. To prevent this, Microsoft offer the possibility to create snapshots of your sites. So SQL perform a snapshot on your content DB and your users will have a read only copy of the site during the migration. So they will continue to have access to the data.

Be careful, adding more snapshots for a DB means more performance hits

This process is intended for build to build upgrade and not version to version. Create a snapshot authorize end users to continue to get access to the data during the migration (in read only of course but it is better than nothing) and allow to revert a DB upgrade if it fail for any reason.

The creation of the SQL snapshot is a command line operation only (PowerShell)

There is some limit to this process (yes I know it was too beautiful)

  • Cannot be used with mirroring on SQL
  • Cannot be used with WQL RBS File Stream provider

System Status Bar

During migration the communication is very important. SharePoint 2013 display information for end users through the status bar of the site. The status bar is able to display system level info to end users like:

  • Upgrade in progress
  • Site in maintenance
  • Site in read only
  • Evaluation site

The status bar is able to display information for Site collection administrators too like:

  • Upgrade available

The messages in the status bar cannot be customize easily, custom messages are not supported but can be hide per site collection.

Upgrade email Template

In Addition to messages display in status bar, SharePoint can send out optional emails for various upgrade events:

  • Evaluation
  • Upgrade progress
  • Upgrade request
  • Upgrade result

This article is based on a session I did at the SPC20122 in Las Vegas. I will publish soon some article on how to migrate SharePoint step by step, SQL Snapshots usage and more.

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