Best practices for testing upgrade (SharePoint Foundation 2010)
Published: May 12, 2010
To understand your environment before you try to perform an upgrade, and to plan accurately for the time that an upgrade will require, you should perform one or more trial upgrades. The goal of testing upgrade is to find issues early and address them so that you can have confidence in your process and the outcome when you perform the real upgrade. To perform an accurate and useful test of the upgrade process from Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 to Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, follow these best practices:
Make your test environment as similar as possible to your real environment.
If possible, use the same kind of hardware and configure it by using the same settings, the same URLs, and so on. The more you can minimize the differences between your test environment and your real environment, the better. The more differences you introduce, the more time that you are likely to spend time tracking down unrelated issues to make sure that they will not occur during the actual upgrade.
Know what is in your environment. Do a full survey first.
Take the time to document the hardware and software that is present in your environment, what server-side customizations are installed and used, and where, and what settings you need. This will help you plan more fully, and also help you recover if upgrade fails. A worksheet is available so that you can record information about your environment while you prepare for upgrade. Download the worksheet from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=179928.
Use real data.
Use copies of your actual databases to run the tests. When you test by using real data, you can identify any trouble areas and also determine your upgrade performance. It also gives you the opportunity to 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 to make sure that you have uncovered any issues with the different kinds and sizes of sites, lists, libraries, and customizations that are present in your environment.
Run multiple tests.
A single test can tell you whether you will encounter big problems, but multiple tests will help ensure that you have uncovered all the issues that you might face and can also give you a more accurate timeline for the process. By running multiple tests, you can determine which upgrade approaches will work best for your environment, which downtime mitigation techniques you should plan to use, and 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 all of the errors and are ready to upgrade your production environment.
Do not ignore warnings.
Even though it is not an error, a warning can lead to problems later in the upgrade process. Work through errors, yes, but also investigate any warnings to make sure that you know what the effect of that warning might be.
Test the upgraded environment, not just the upgrade process.
Check your service applications and services. Run a search crawl and review the log files. Verify that My Sites is working.
Verify sites in both Visual Upgrade modes.
Do not assume that because the site can be previewed well in one mode that it will work correctly in the other mode. Check both the previous version and new version user experience.
Consider a preview environment.
You can create a preview environment in which your users can verify their sites after a test upgrade, so that they can help you verify the upgrade and find issues. You can use a read-only environment, or you can let your users make changes but warn them that any changes they make will not be saved. Consider limiting this preview environment to a small set of representative sites, and limiting access to interested parties only, to reduce the time that you will need to host the preview environment and the amount of feedback you receive.
For more information about how to test upgrade, see Use a trial upgrade to find potential issues (SharePoint Foundation 2010) and the "Test your upgrade process" poster available at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=166303.