Sunday, June 6, 2010

SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Testing

Test Phase

The next phase is to actually do a test run of the upgrade. We will need to build up test farms and upgrade real production data into these farms. We want to ensure that we know and understand all the steps needed to support the upgrade approach that was chosen and resolve as many issues as possible.

The Test Farm

First you will need to create a new test farm with a configuration as close as possible to the new production environment. It would best to copy the entire production content database(s) and ensure that you all of the services configured as close as you can to production. It will not be possible to have an identical configuration databases (because it is not very easy or really supported to copy configuration databases – yes I know you can) but having SharePoint central admin and services configured as close to production to possible is good enough.

It is also important to try to use similar hardware as possible for your test environment.

Test Run the Upgrade Approach and Documentation

Once you have a test environment as close to the production environment as possible you will need to go through the actual upgrade process. Earlier we discussed there is an In-Place, Database Attach and Hybrid approaches. You should test these approaches as if you were doing them in production. You should focus on catching/handling potential exceptions and minimizing downtime.

You should make sure that you have strong step-by-step documentation that captures all of the steps needed to support the upgrade. The documentation should capture:

  • Hardware configuration
  • OS configuration
  • System account configuration
  • SharePoint installation steps
  • SharePoint configuration steps
  • Upgrade approach steps
  • Data Recovery configuration steps
  • Tests that ensure upgrade was successful

I would recommend that once you have a successful run of it; make sure that you can do it again using all of the steps that you have documented.

The Actual Test

The actual testing of the new SharePoint environment must be comprehensive. It is not just as simple as running the upgrade and seeing of the homepage works. Here are some things you should be thinking about:

  • Have a test approach that will incorporate business users.
  • Have a test plan with actual test criteria that you can measure success by.
  • Create test plans will test all SharePoint services that you plan to utilize.
  • Have test plans that test the performance and utilization.
  • Have an approach for testing search and search crawl configuration.
  • Have test plans to test all customizations. Everything from branding to integration with external systems that feed or consume data from SharePoint.
  • Make sure your test plan really tests the boundaries of your SharePoint implementation.
  • Finally make sure you have a mitigation plan and approach on how to rollback an upgrade if there is a failure.

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