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Upgrade information to SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 does not support in-place upgrade for an existing environment. You must use the database-attach upgrade method to upgrade your databases to a new environment that is based on SharePoint 2013. Also, to provide more flexibility to farm administrators and site administrators, the upgrade process has changed to separate upgrade of the software and databases from upgrade of the sites.

In-place upgrade of the farm is not supported
An upgrade to SharePoint Server 2010 or SharePoint Foundation 2010 provides an option to install the new version over the earlier version on the same hardware. This is called an in-place upgrade. During this process, the complete installation, that includes databases and sites, is upgraded in a fixed order. Although this is a simple method, in-place upgrade presents problems in performance and control for a farm administrator. There was no way to control the order in which content is upgraded, and a failure in a particular site collection could stop the whole process.
The database-attach upgrade method offers more flexibility, more control, and a better success rate. To use a database attach upgrade, you complete the following tasks:

  1. Create and configure a new farm that is separate from the old farm
  2. Copy the content and services databases to the new farm
  3. Upgrade the data and sites

You can upgrade the content databases in any order and upgrade several databases at the same time to speed up the overall process.
Database-attach upgrade is available for some service application databases
For the SharePoint 2013, you can use the database attach upgrade method to upgrade the following service application databases:

  • Business Data Connectivity
    This service application is available for both SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Foundation 2013.
  • Managed Metadata
    This service application is available only for SharePoint Server 2013.
  • PerformancePoint
    This service application is available only for SharePoint Server 2013.
  • Secure Store
    This service application is available only for SharePoint Server 2013.
  • User Profile (Profile, Social, and Sync databases)
    This service application is available only for SharePoint Server 2013.
  • Search administration

Best practices for testing upgrade
To understand your environment before you upgrade it, and to plan for the time that an upgrade will require, you should try one or more trial upgrades. The goal of testing upgrade is to find and fix issues and develop confidence in the outcome before the real upgrade. To develop an accurate trial of the upgrade process from SharePoint 2010 Products to SharePoint 2013, follow these best practices:

1. Know what is in your environment. Do a full survey first.
Document the hardware and software in your environment, where server-side customizations are installed and used, and the settings that you need. This helps you plan the trial environment and also helps you recover if upgrade fails.

2. Make your test environment as similar as possible to your real environment.
If possible, use the same kind of hardware and use the same settings, the same URLs, and so on to configure it. Minimize the differences between your test environment and your real environment. As you introduce more differences, you are likely to spend time resolving unrelated issues to make sure that they will not occur during the actual upgrade.

3. Use real data.
Use copies of your actual databases to run the tests. When you use real data, you can identify trouble areas and also determine upgrade performance. You can also measure how long different upgrade sequences and actions take on different kinds of data. If you cannot test all the data, test a representative subset of the data. Make sure that you find issues with the different kinds and sizes of sites, lists, libraries, and customizations that are present in your environment. If you cannot test all data because of storage concerns, try going over the data in several passes, removing the old trial copies before going on to the next batch.

4. Run multiple tests.
A single test can tell you whether you will encounter big problems. Multiple tests will help you find all the issues that you might face and help you estimate a more accurate timeline for the process. By running multiple tests, you can determine the following:

  • The upgrade approaches that will work best for your environment
  • The downtime mitigation techniques that you should plan to use
  • How the process or performance may change after you address the issues that you uncovered in your first tests
  • Your final test pass can help you validate whether you have addressed the errors and are ready to upgrade your production environment.

5. Do not ignore errors or warnings.
Even though a warning is not an error, a warning could lead to problems in the upgrade process. Resolve errors, but also investigate warnings to make sure that you know the results that a warning might produce.

6. Test the upgraded environment, not just the upgrade process.

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