Although prolonged from October 13, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the extended support for SharePoint Server 2010 products will end on April 13, 2021. On top of that, extended support for SharePoint 2013 is slowly but surely coming to an end. What does it mean, and what are the consequences?
If you look at the Fixed Lifecycle Policy that applies to all SharePoint products, you will find it has two phases – Mainstream Support and Extended Support. While the first one includes incident support, security update support, and non-security update requests, the latter only offers free security updates. Hence, once SharePoint 2010 extended support expires, monthly SharePoint updates that we all know and try to keep up with will be no more. That would be the end of life for SharePoint 2010.
To Migrate or to Upgrade, That Is the Question
It comes as no surprise that after SharePoint 2010 extended support ends, you will be choosing between two options: migration to Microsoft 365 or upgrading SharePoint on-premises. If you believe that there is a third option – keep using SharePoint 2010 – let me remind you about the recent Exchange Servers attacks.
Microsoft released multiple security updates to deal with exploited vulnerabilities. Without SharePoint 2010 support, if attackers exploit SP 2010 vulnerabilities, you cannot expect any Microsoft updates. You will be facing a huge security risk which can result in attackers stealing your data. Therefore, I highly suggest you stay in line with the first two options.
Migration to Microsoft 365 and SharePoint online might seem like an obvious choice for a lot of companies. Many beautiful things expect you when you ‘fly’ into the cloud sphere; most importantly, you will get the latest features without the need to upgrade.
Nevertheless, some companies will stay loyal to SharePoint on-premises, as they want to keep complete control over their SharePoint environment. That way, they can ensure there are no or only minor outages. Although Microsoft guarantees high uptime numbers in their Service Level Agreements, the cloud is in no way failure-proof, and we have seen a fair number of outages thus far.
Running a high number of customizations and custom apps that work only on servers might be another reason to stay on-premises. Changing technologies and building a custom solution from scratch may not be something that you are willing to do (again) if you already invested a fair amount of sweat and tears in the first place. Lastly, some businesses will never trust to put their data anywhere else than their servers.
In case you decide to upgrade to a higher version of SharePoint on-premises, keep
in mind the support end dates for all SharePoint product versions:
- SharePoint 2013 entered the Extended Support period on April 10, 2018, which will end on April 11, 2023.
- For SharePoint 2016, you still have Mainstream Support until July 13, 2021. After that, Extended support is available for the next five years until July 14, 2026.
- Lastly, for SharePoint 2019, the Mainstream Support ends on September 1, 2024; after that, there will be only two years of Extended Support until July 14, 2026.
Microsoft explains that this will allow them to support their customers better as they rapidly innovate products and cloud services.
Another thing to remember – you must first upgrade to SharePoint 2013 before you can upgrade to SharePoint 2016. For SharePoint 2019, you must first upgrade to SharePoint 2013, then to SharePoint 2016, and just then, you will be able to upgrade to SharePoint 2019.
In the second half of 2021, we can expect to see ‘The Next Version’ of SharePoint Server, which was briefly mentioned during an Exchange session at the Ignite 2020 virtual event. Hence, expect that there is another on-premises upgrade waiting for you just around the corner.
Regardless of which course of action you decide to take, several steps are recommended to make the transition easier. Foremost, planning and preparation should take up a significant amount of time if you want to avoid problems along the way. To help you get ready, you can use SPDocKit that offers a wide variety of ways to explore, document, and manage your SharePoint farm. If you like video guides better, watch our live demo session to learn how to use SPDocKit for migration planning.
Make an Inventory of Your Environment
When planning an upgrade or a migration, it is good to know what you are dealing with in the first place. SPDocKit enables you to:
- Create an inventory of your Farms and
- Determine the SharePoint version of each farm.
That way, you will be able to discover if there are any SharePoint 2010 farms in your environment that require your immediate attention. For other farms, you will be able to see if the latest security patches are installed or not.
Detect Unsupported Customizations
As already mentioned, migrating custom solutions to the cloud is not an option. Because of the SharePoint infrastructure’s shared nature, Microsoft does not allow custom code deployment to its environment. You will need to ensure the customizations wanted are supported by Microsoft 365. SPDocKit provides you with a means to discover all potential road blockers and make an informative decision on their destiny in your migration project.
- Find all Solution sand Features in the Solutions and Features report and discover the scope of the farm and site collection solutions’ impact.
- List all workflows in your farm and discover the number of active instances by using available workflow reports. You will also find the last activity date for each workflow, helping you remove unused ones. Since the SharePoint 2010 workflows were retired, these reports can help you decide which SharePoint 2010 Workflows will need to be rewritten for Power Automate and require time to shift them properly.
- Detect all InfoPath Forms with InfoPath Form Services reports and see how many form templates you have and what amount of time will be needed to migrate or re-deploy them properly. Since this is a technology in which Microsoft is no longer actively investing, this may be just the right time to think about using the Power Platform instead.
Discover and Cleanup Unused Content
If you have ever moved to another place, you know it is not easy; you need to move many heavy boxes with things collected throughout the years. But do you need those high school clothes that do not fit anymore? The same applies to all the things on your SharePoint farm that were not used for a long time.
Before moving on, make sure to eliminate such items to minimize the number of ‘old boxes’ that require heavy lifting. The fewer things you move, the more time and money you save.
If moving to Microsoft 365, keep in mind that you need to prepare for a flatter content structure – instead of multiple levels of subsites, here you can utilize Hubs to bring related sites together.
To find such content, SPDocKit offers multiple analytics and usage reports:
- Complete SharePoint architecture down to the file level.
- A detailed list of sites that have not been used or accessed in a while.
- The total number of active subsites per site collection.
- A list of all subsites by size and number of visits.
- Inactive subsites, lists, and documents.
- The largest documents in your environment by extension, author, and last usage date.
- Document and file usage by extension.
- A storage metrics report with detailed info on file size and number of versions for each document.
- Detect lists with more than 5000 items and validate which of them are actively used so that you can migrate only the active ones.
Manage and Cleanup Access
Migration to the cloud is also an excellent time to clean your house regarding security and perform an access review. The cloud offers new security structures, such as Microsoft 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams, that ease administration. You need to analyze the current permission structure and decide what can be transformed into teams and groups. SPDocKit can help you:
- Detect all objects with unique permissions in your site structure. Folders and subsites with broken permission inheritance are good candidates for new groups or teams.
- Ensure you are not transferring unused SharePoint groups or users with no permissions. Use the Cleanup reports in SPDocKit and easily remove all unwanted principals.
- Create detailed permission matrix reports to back up the current permissions structure.
- Detect all users with privileged access, especially site administrators, to coordinate migration activities with them.
- Detect all active users and clean up the inactive ones.
After upgrading, use SPDocKit to help you create detailed server configuration documentation, manage permissions, and view detailed contextual audit log reports.
If you switched to Microsoft 365, SysKit has you covered there as well. SysKit Point’s Configuration Inventory feature helps you to keep track and get notified of Microsoft 365 configuration changes. Know as soon as any change happens and make sure there are no misconfigurations. Use SysKit Point to ensure high Microsoft 365 governance and security standards after the migration is over. Let your data owners be a part of the governance processes by establishing automated access reviews and content lifecycle management.