Prepare Your Farm for an Upgrade to SharePoint 2019 with SPDocKit

Microsoft just announced the official release of SharePoint Server 2019! It brings entirely new user experience and new modern sites, lists, pages, and libraries. Those of you who are responsible for SharePoint administration and architecture, building a new farm or upgrading to a new version of SharePoint are probably happy and a bit nervous at the same time. 

Upgrade is a very complex, time-consuming process, but at the same time, it can be a great opportunity to clean up your farm, find the things you don’t need, create a new farm with the best possible configuration, and with the content you actually need. Here we will list out some of the steps you should follow and show you our emergency kit from SPDocKit because this whole process can be simplified and less stressful.

upgrade to sharepoint 2019

Farm Configuration Analysis

As our Chief Evangelist, Todd Klindt said in his recent webinar about SharePoint 2019 upgrade – you need to put the finger on the pulse of your farm, you will need to check two things – one is the hardware and the other one is the farm content. So first of all, check the hardware requirements for the new SharePoint version!

Create a Proper SharePoint Farm Documentation

SPDocKit does a complete scan of your environment and saves the data into a snapshot. Then you can explore SharePoint farm settings in the Farm explorer and generate a detailed report of your SharePoint farm configuration settings. You get all the data in one consolidated report, generated in a matter of minutes; it will show you:

  • Farm info: explore a SharePoint farm, sites, and search topology; generate a server’s list and explore services on server.
  • Application management: web applications, site collections, service applications details.
  • Info about IIS application pools and site settings, SQL Server configuration, and database permissions. Check farm administrators and other security information.
  • People picker settings, web.config files, workflows, list of features and solutions

Generate SharePoint farm documentation

SharePoint Best Practices – Validate Configuration

During the planning and upgrading process, you can audit your farm configuration using the SharePoint Best Practices check. SPDocKit supports SharePoint 2019. If something has changed or is not configured according to these best practices, you can check it here.

Compare SharePoint Farms and See the Differences

Each farm has hundreds of different settings that can easily diverge between farms, and you can easily check if your new farm is similar to the old one and see what are the differences.

SPDocKit will help you to make sure you have the same configurations for both farms (for example, you can compare farms, web applications, site collections, and web.config files). Later on, use it to track changes that occur in your farm.

Compare SharePoint farms

SharePoint Inventory, Analytics and Usage – Clean up Your Farm

Before doing an upgrade, you should work on your governance plan, update your old one or create a new one, and check the current content you are dealing with.

Analyze your Custom Solutions

Ask yourself if you need each of the solutions you deployed in your current farm. Especially keep an eye on those that you got from 3rd-party vendors. Farm solutions are extremely invasive, and they can easily create unexpected behaviours. How can SPDocKit help with these troublemakers? Use it to easily backup all *.wsp files that you use in your farm. This data can also be used later to find out whether there are any problems with the assemblies deployed on your farm. SPDocKit can inspect the DLLs contained within the WSP.

In a multi-server farm environment, you need to ensure a solution is properly deployed to each server in a SharePoint farm. There is also a Best Practice report that will check this for you. Keep in mind that if there is a new version of the solution assembly, you should contact the vendor to obtain the latest version of the solution package and provide guidance on updating the solution in your SharePoint farm. If you think some solutions may be critical, examine them more closely, and decide whether to remove them before you start the upgrade process.

Identify Databases and Check Storage Usage

You will need to be able to identify absolutely every database you will need in the upgrade process, which may be time-consuming! SPDocKit can help you detect all the content databases, site collections, web applications, etc., and it will show you the size, usage, number of files, and other valuable information for each database. Check how many databases you have and see what some of the largest sites are. If you have a large site collection, that is taking up 99% percent of the database, you need to take care of it. You might want to split these site collections into different databases. You will also be able to check all the service applications you will need to set up on your new farm. This will help you estimate how long will it take to migrate and upgrade your databases.

Monitor Farm Resource Usage

It wouldn’t be a bad idea also to check if you have any unused documents, the documents that were created and stored to a SharePoint site but the original author does not have access to the document anymore, or the author has been disabled in the Active Directory. You can either delete them or not upgrade them if they are no longer needed.

Also, you should check the number of subsites and if there are some sites that haven’t been accessed for a long time so maybe you can discuss removing those things with your teams before starting the upgrade. Find out if there are any custom Content Types and where they have been used. Usage reports will also help you identify the largest files, determine why some site collections are much larger than others, and learn whether size increases are caused by files with numerous versions. SPDocKit’s queries and rules can help you identify critical libraries, large lists and much more.

Make a plan – go step by step!

Pre-upgrade is a lot of work, there are a lot of things that you need to manage before upgrading so start slowly, make a plan, cooperate with your business teams, create action steps and start your work. Don’t forget the end-user education, let them know what is different what is new, make sure to provide them with training.

“SPDocKit is a great way to see what is going on in your farm. No self-respecting SharePoint Administrator’s toolbox is complete without SPDocKit.”
Todd Klindt, Microsoft MVP & SysKit Chief Evangelist

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