What will you do first when you understand that your SharePoint environment requires an upgrade? Many SharePoint administrators start the upgrade and migration without much preparation expecting better results from the new version of SharePoint. But, their expectations are not met easily as a SharePoint environment is more complicated than one imagines – it has sites, lists, libraries, site collections, etc. Every new version of SharePoint brings compelling features which any business will like to implement. But improper planning and migration can ruin an upgrade attempt completely.
There are different factors which you need to consider before upgrading your SharePoint environment. Before you upgrade, check your environment by following the best practices –
- Conduct a full survey of your current SharePoint environment
Check the hardware and software configuration and enlist their features and settings. It will help you to manage the environment and use resources effectively. It will also help you to restore the SharePoint if the upgrade fails.
- Perform a test upgrade
Performing a test upgrade will help you identify the possible issues during the actual migration. Try to use the same kind of hardware, URLs, and configuration in the trial environment as in the current environment. It will reduce the differences between the current environment and the destination environment and will facilitate smooth migration during the trial and the actual migration.
- Try to use actual data
When you run a test migration, try to use copies of actual databases. When you use the actual data from the database, you will get to know of the probable troubles, and you can fix them easily. Try to use a small amount of data to run the test migration. To test the complete data, you can run test migrations multiple times.
- Run trial migrations multiple times
Running trial migrations multiple times will help you understand all the possible outcomes and any potential issues. Also, you will get insights into the best migration approaches to apply and mitigation techniques to follow to reduce the chances of errors.
A trial migration will let you have an idea about the following parameters –
- Time taken to complete the migration.
- The condition of SharePoint data in the destination environment.
- Time taken to complete the post-migration troubleshooting.
- The appearance of sites, subsites, and other data.
An upgrade of SharePoint environment has several advantages; but it will not help you overcome the shortcomings in the current setup. So before starting the migration, you should ensure that your SharePoint environment is working completely fine and there is no such shortcoming which will impact the migration. For example, if you have any web application which you are not using and does not plan to use in the new environment, then you should remove it from the environment.
Before migration, back up your SharePoint database completely. This way, you can retrieve your data in case the migration fails.
Discarding unwanted data is a useful option as it allows you to migrate only the desired data.
For actual SharePoint migration, you can use professional SharePoint migration tool. Kernel Migrator for SharePoint is a proficient tool which lets you conduct to-and-fro migrations between different SharePoint versions (2016,2013,2010). It migrates entire SharePoint data (including sites, subsites, lists, libraries, etc.) with metadata and permissions.
Upgrading SharePoint to the latest version will bring best results if done correctly. But you need to understand your current environment, future requirements, and possible issues before initiating the upgrade process. However, analyzing your environment requires a lot of time, energy, and resources.