Don't upgrade to SharePoint 2010 until you read this

There are twists and turns to an upgrade that may have you hiring a consultant rather than tackling the job yourself

In my younger days, I did lots of car maintenance myself. I not only changed my own oil and filter, I switched out brakes, starters, alternators, and more. But as cars have evolved, I've learned to leave some things for the experts to handle, which frees my time up to do what I do best.

Upgrading SharePoint raises a similar situation. You may like to be hands-on with your own environment, installing all your own servers and such, but the upgrade to SharePoint 2010 should either be treated with the utmost care or turned over to an expert who's done it a bunch of times and has it down to a science.

[ Read the InfoWorld Test Center's review of SharePoint 2010. | Managing backup infrastructure right is not so simple. InfoWorld's expert contributors show you how to get it right in this "Backup Infrastructure Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]

Allow me to outline why doing so might be wise. First, it is a no-brainer that if you have SharePoint 2007, you are going to want to upgrade. The features that relate to security, document libraries, and UI enhancements should have you chomping at the bit to get 2010 up and running.

So where do you begin? You might first consider the type of upgrade you're hoping to perform:

  • You can do an in-place upgrade. Well, you can, but if you do, you need to be prepared for a slew of caveats and for the upgrade to fail (so that you can recover in the event it does). It's true that the in-place upgrade is the easier and the cheapest way to go -- if everything works.
  • You can perform what is called a database attach upgrade (or migration) where you back up the content databases you want to migrate and recover them to the new server, and then mount them to a Web application on the new SharePoint 2010 server.
  • You might also perform a hybrid upgrade where you upgrade the farm portion via an in-place upgrade but carry over the databases via a database attach.

When deciding how to upgrade, first make sure your SharePoint 2007 environment is ready for that upgrade or migration. One key element is to have SP2 for SharePoint 2007 installed on the server. Without that, you cannot run the pre-upgrade checking tool on the server.

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