Migrating from Legacy SharePoint to SharePoint Server 2010 : Planning for an Upgrade to SharePoint 2010

1/23/2011 11:52:29 AM
Before planning for an upgrade to SharePoint 2010, you must first examine the various supported upgrade scenarios and examine the existing environment using tools provided by Microsoft.

Understanding Supported Upgrade Scenarios

The in-place upgrade process or the gradual migration process has limitations to which versions of SharePoint can be migrated, and which version of SharePoint 2010 they can be migrated to. Table 1 indicates which versions of various SharePoint products can be upgraded directly using the in-place upgrade process provided by Microsoft.

Table 1. Supported Direct In-Place Upgrade Targets for Various SharePoint Versions
 SharePoint Foundation 2010SharePoint Server 2010 Standard EditionSharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition
SharePoint Team Services   
SharePoint Portal Server 2001   
Windows SharePoint Services 2.0   
SharePoint Portal Server 2003   
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with SP2X  
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Standard Edition X 
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise Edition  X
Search Server 2008 XX
Forms Server 2007 XX
PerformancePoint Server 2007 XX
Project Server 2007 with WSS 3.0 SP2 or MOSS 2007 SP2  X (with Project 2010)
SharePoint Foundation 2010 XX
SharePoint Server 2010 Trial XX

As indicated in Table 5.1, the older versions of SharePoint are not supported for direct upgrade and must be first upgraded to a supported version if using the Microsoft tools. If this is not an option, third-party tools are available from major SharePoint manufacturers that enable direct upgrade between versions.


If the source SharePoint 2007 farm is running SQL Server Express, it can only be upgraded to the equivalent SharePoint 2010 edition running with SQL Server 2008 Express Edition. To get around this issue, use the database attach upgrade process instead.

One exception to this list in terms of the database attach upgrade process involves WSS 3.0 migrations directly to SharePoint Server editions, which are supported on a database-by-database basis. In other words, you can take multiple WSS 3.0 farms, pull the content databases from those farms, and migrate their contents directly into a new SharePoint 2010 Server environment that has been freshly built.

Assessing Site Migration Readiness with the Pre-Upgrade Check Tool

The most critical task that an administrator needs to perform before beginning a migration is to assess the state of the current site structure. Multiple factors can affect how a site migrates, so they need to be taken into account and tested in advance. Microsoft anticipated this when it created Service Pack 2 for SharePoint 2007 because SP2 includes a pre-upgrade check utility that enables administrators to check the readiness of their environment for upgrade to SharePoint 2010.

This pre-upgrade check runs as an extension to the STSADM command-line tool, included in the \Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN folder on a SharePoint 2007 Server (either WSS or MOSS). When an environment is completely upgraded to SP2, this tool can be run without risk because it is read-only and makes no modifications to any of the files on the server.

Run the pre-upgrade check by typing stsadm –o preupgradecheck, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Running the pre-upgrade check tool in STSADM.

The pre-upgrade check tool runs through a battery of tests and checks your environment for compliance with SharePoint 2010 variables. It produces a detailed report, such as the one shown in Figure 2, that outlines what areas of the existing farm are ready for upgrade, and which ones are in need of remediation before they can be upgraded.

Figure 2. Viewing the Pre-Upgrade Check Report.

Creating a Prototype Test Environment

As previously mentioned, it is critical to test the migration process in a lab environment. Doing so requires the current SharePoint 2007 environment to be restored onto a separate server, and then upgraded via either the gradual or in-place migration options described in this article. By doing this, the actual production environment remains untouched, and a full discovery of the types of issues that might be experienced during the migration can be uncovered.

It is ideal to have knowledge workers for each site test out the migrated site on the prototype server in advance. By giving the prototype server a different Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN), both the legacy 2007 site and the migrated 2010 version can co-exist so that functionality can be validated by the end users.

For example, if the sales department team site is normally accessed by, the prototype sales site that has been migrated can be accessed by This way, if there are errors experienced during the upgrade, they can be addressed in advance of the actual move.

Ideally, during this prototype phase, a hold would be placed on any type of serious site modification, such as custom web parts, SharePoint designer modification, and any types of activities that fit outside the scope of standard SharePoint document management functionality. This would limit the risk that a site customization made after the prototype server is built would cause issues not seen during the actual testing process.

SQL Database Upgrade Considerations

The database technology used by both SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 is Microsoft SQL Server, but x64-bit versions only, and only SQL Server 2005 SP3, SQL Server 2008, or (preferably) SQL Server 2008 R2. If the SQL database is upgraded, there is no effect on the SharePoint environment (aside from downtime from the migration process), and a SharePoint migration has no effect on a SQL server.

That said, some organizations use the opportunity afforded by a SharePoint environment to also migrate their SharePoint databases to SQL 2008 R2, which provides for the best set of options for SharePoint 2010, including PowerPivot functionality. This is typically done in scenarios where new hardware is utilized for the new 2010 environment.

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