How To : Planning for Upgrading from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013

Senthil Kumaresan
SharePoint Developer
January 10, 2014
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After talking to a few consultants who had been upgrading the SharePoint 2010 farm to a SharePoint 2013 farm, I have consolidated the important aspects of upgrading/migrating a SharePoint Farm and would help a SharePoint Consultant who read this to prepare an estimate or aware of the high level tasks to be executed for the version upgrade of a SharePoint 2010 environment to a SharePoint 2013 environment. I will also continue to make updates on the different type of issues that I encounter and PowerShell automation scripts that would help in each step of the migration.

Upgrade and Migrate will be interchangeably used as to perform the version upgrade, We should be setting up a new set of servers and migrate the content from a live farm to the new 2013 farm.

1Planning for Upgrading from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 (This Article)
2Preparing for Migration from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013
3Activities to be performed before Upgrade
4Steps to be performed during Upgrade
5Post Upgrade steps for migration from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013
6Concluding migration from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013

As most of you know the only approach available and the approach I have documented is the Database Attach Upgrade for the SharePoint 2013 Migration.

The migration performed using the traditional way and there are no third party migration tools used. Anything that gets stored in the database is upgraded by this method, but whatever is in the file systems that are not available as part of the standard SharePoint 2013 build are not migrated and has to be manually installed and setup before performing the database attach upgrade.

Golden Rules

1. Always perform a test migration before performing the actual migration.

As you all might know the different functions and parts of a SharePoint system is complex and highly extensible in nature, for a perfect migration we should always consider performing a migration in a test environment to understand the complexity

2. DO NOT CHANGE WEB APPLICATION URL’s that requires upgrade

If you change the Url, the impact would be very high and might end up in failure of upgrade as the whole SharePoint design relies on the URL

3. Plan to use Deferred Site Collection Upgrade to minimize impact of upgrade

General Considerations:

1. Client Requirements

  • Office 2010/2013
  • MS Workspace works for 2010 and 2013 Mode sites
  • SkydrivePro only works for 2013 Mode Sites
  • IE 8.0 or Higher


2. Database that are supported for Migration/Upgrade:

  • All Content Databases
  • Project Server Databases
  • Search Admin Database (Search Topology needs to be recreated and content to be re-indexed)
  • User Profile and Social Database
  • Managed Metadata Database
  • Secure Store Database

3. Databases that are not supported for Migration/Upgrade:

  • Config Database
  • Search Crawl Database

4. Read-only Support not available for Access Service Database.

5. After the migration most of the SharePoint 2010 site collections will work as the underlying 14 Hive folder(SharePoint 2010) is still available as part of the SharePoint 2013 build which is called the SharePoint 2010 Mode in the SharePoint 2013 environment.

6. SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 site collection can co-exist and work in the same environment.

7. A feature called Deferred Site Collection upgrade can be used by a Site Collection Administrator to perform a test migration to see how his site would look in the SharePoint 2013 mode and later on migrate to the SharePoint 2013 user experience mode after he confirms and tests his site.

8. Web Analytics and Office Web Apps related features cannot be migrated or upgraded to SharePoint 2013.

9. Web Analytics and Project Web Access (PWA) will not work in the even in SharePoint 2010 mode after the migration. They will only work when you switch over the SharePoint Site collection to SharePoint 2013 mode.

10. Consider 3rd Party Migration tools when:

  • When your 2010 environment needs heavy restructuring of content when it is migrated into the SharePoint 2013 environment. The tools provide a greater flexibility in terms of merging site collection and splitting them while migration.
  • When you hold large file content from different data sources other than SharePoint (File)
  • When 2010 site is less custom built and does not use heavy custom templates for site creation
  • When you want to delegate the task of site/content restructuring to the site collection administrators.

10. If you hold Remote Blob Storage in your SharePoint 2010 environment, While migrating to the new servers, you need move your content to the same physical path that you have configured on your SQL Server machine. If you move to a different location, then the references will break and might not work.

That concludes the important key aspects to remember before proceeding to plan on preparing for the upgrade to SharePoint 2013.

In my next post we will look on what should be taken care before performing the migration as lot of planning is the key success of a migration.

Author Info

Senthil Kumaresan
SharePoint Developer
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SharePoint Architect – Consulting on SharePoint Infrastructure, IT Governance and Apps Development. more

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