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Prescriptive Guidance: Upgrading SharePoint from SPS2003 to MOSS 2007  : Page 4

Discover the options available for upgrading from SharePoint Portal Server 2003 to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007; find out which option best meets your needs, and get critical advice on performing the upgrade.


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Choosing an Approach
The in-place approach is useful only for development and test environments, because it's a high-risk option. There are various reasons why an upgrade may fail, and some of the reasons may be beyond the ability of the Pre-Scan tool's prediction capability. An in-place upgrade could leave the environment in a mess with no option of built-in rollback. Therefore, this approach is not suitable for production upgrades unless you can support it with backups, and pre-testing on a mirror installation to ensure that the approach works.

The gradual upgrade process is the most flexible, because it allows you to upgrade one site collection at a time, in a step-by-step manner. At each step, the gradual approach lets you verify the upgrade by comparing it with the previous version. Furthermore, you can roll back to the original version if the upgrade results are unsatisfactory. This approach provides fine granularity and control; therefore, this is the approach that's usually best for production instances. This approach would be most useful in SharePoint farms where the number of sites is high, or where sites are complex.

The database migration approach is best when you're planning to deploy MOSS 2007 on a new farm with new hardware. You can't use the gradual upgrade approach for a new farm; however, you can use the gradual upgrade process on the older farm, and then backup and restore the upgraded v3.0 databases onto the new farm. Using that combination, you can leverage the control and granularity provided by the gradual approach and still deploy on new hardware.

Performing the Upgrade
To use either the in-place upgrade or the gradual upgrade approaches, execute Setup.exe for SharePoint Server 2007 on the same server as the installed code base (SPS2003). Don't forget to check for SP2, as discussed earlier. The setup installs the pre-requisites needed for MOSS 2007 such as ASP.NET 2.0 and the .NET Framework 3.0.

Author's Note: Your existing SharePoint installation will not be available for use while the in-place upgrade process is executing, so plan for the downtime, and let end-users know.

When you run Setup.exe on the same server that contains an SPS 2003 installation, you'll see an upgrade dialog that provides you with a list of installation options (see Figure 4).

 
Figure 4. Installation Dialog: Here's where you select how—or whether—you want to upgrade your existing installation as you install MOSS 2007.
 
Figure 5. URL Redirection: In this figure, the old version's sites have been redirected to a temporary domain, while the new version retains the original URLs.
Choose the appropriate installation option based on the approach you've selected, and proceed with the installation. If you select the gradual upgrade option, you'll need to create new host names or "URL Domains," because the existing sites and the upgraded sites will run in side-by-side mode. Typically you'd move existing sites to a temporary URL domain and the upgraded sites would reside on the original URL domain. For example, if the existing sites are located at http://sps.mycompany.com, then you could create a temporary domain such as http://spsold.mycompany.com that would host the old version's sites (see Figure 5).

Author's Note: You will have to make DNS changes in the organization to support these temporary domains.

Finally, you're not forced to upgrade during the installation. You can elect to install MOSS 2007 and then perform the upgrade at a later point in time. If that's your intent, choose the last choice, "No, do not upgrade at this time," from the installation dialog shown in Figure 5. You can initiate the upgrade process later by executing psconfigui.exe from the following location:

"<Drive>:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web server extensions\12\BIN\"

The "No, do not upgrade at this time option" is also useful in scenarios where you don't plan to upgrade at all for some reason, but want MOSS 2007 installed side-by-side on the same box. After the installation completes, you can initiate the upgrade process from the SharePoint Central Administration Operations Tab.

 
Figure 6. Upgrade Sequence: This sequence of actions lets you select individual or groups of site collections to upgrade.
The Upgrade and Migration section (see Figure 6) under the Operations Tab provides information on the status of the upgrade process. To start the process, navigate to: http:///_Admin/SiteUpgrade.aspx.

Navigating to the SiteUpgrade.aspx page displays the existing Web applications available for upgrade in the "Site Content Upgrade Status Page" (see Figure 6). Clicking on the Begin Upgrade link requests you to enter details about the target web application to upgrade. Next, it displays the site collections within the web application that are available for upgrade. Select the site collections that you want to upgrade and click on the Upgrade Sites button. As you can see, the gradual upgrade process provides granular control over the entire process; it's possible to upgrade one site collection at a time. After verifying the upgrade results you can then proceed to migrate the remaining site collections individually.

When you click the Upgrade Sites button, the process commences, displaying the status and progress details on the Web page as shown in Figure 6.

 
Figure 7. Rolling Back an Upgrade: This dialog lets you select a site collection to roll back.
As discussed earlier, one benefit of the gradual upgrade approach is that you can roll back changes if necessary. If you need to revert back to your original version, navigate to: http:///_admin/RevertUpgrade.aspx and select the specific site collection that you want to roll back. During the rollback process the site collection reverts to its original state (See Figure 7).

When you're satisfied with the results of the upgrade, you can discard the rollback information by choosing to finalize the upgrade from the URL http:///_admin/FinalizeUpgrade.aspx. You can also remove the temporary URL host name after the sites have been upgraded successfully.

Database Migration Option
You probably noticed that the upgrade dialog in Figure 4 doesn't offer the database migration option discussed earlier. The Database Migration process does not have the same level of UI support as the other two approaches; it requires some manual steps. A detailed explanation of the steps for this approach is beyond the scope of this article, but you can find more detailed information on TechNet.

However, in brief, you use SQL Server's Backup and Restore feature to create a backup of the databases, then you restore those backups to the new server farm. After restoring the database you can then use the SharePoint stsadm.exe command-line tool to run the addcontentdb command to attach the content databases to the web applications. When you perform this step the upgrade process kicks in and upgrades the databases to the newer version. The upgrade process generates a log file that provides details about the results in the following location:

"%ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ Web server extensions\12\LOGS"

At this point, you should have a solid grasp of the tasks involved to upgrade SPS2003 to MOSS 2007. Whichever upgrade option you decide to take, you'll find the process will go more smoothly if you follow the guidance in this article.



Vikram Srivatsa is a technology consultant within HP Services at Hewlett-Packard, and is based out of Bangalore, India.
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