How do I upgrade to SharePoint 2016?
Do you remember a time before SharePoint? Before your organisation had a unified and centralised method of storing and sharing content? The platform has become almost ubiquitous and has spawned many a copycat, changing the way the world works in the process.
Microsoft’s market leading content and collaboration platform celebrated its 15th year in 2016 with the release of SharePoint 2016. It’s been a long journey from SharePoint’s humble beginnings as little more than a file share to what we know and love today. In those 15 years we’ve had new portals, new social features added and, now, mobile, hybrid, intelligence and a much tighter integration with other Microsoft tools.
At Content and Code we’ve spent a lot of time exploring the advanced ‘Release Candidate’ of SharePoint 2016, and through our relationship with Microsoft have had the opportunity to explore some of SharePoint 2016’s latest features in advance. And we can confirm it’s the most exciting, powerful and impressive iteration of SharePoint yet. From a vastly improved mobile app to more powerful file sharing, PowerApps integration and a team sites facelift, SharePoint 2016 has made huge strides in empowering both individuals and teams.
To gain access to these powerful new features and impressive interface, the upgrade to SharePoint 2016 should be seen as a fantastic opportunity. We all know migration is far from a simple process; it takes time and commitment, and is not without its share of risk. Upgrading to SharePoint 2016, however, can be a quick and painless exercise if you don’t rush and follow some basic guidelines. There’s a lot of great information on Microsoft’s own TechNet portal. However, for a simple run down, we’ve compiled our own ‘how to’ guide to help you upgrade to SharePoint 2016.
Preparation, preparation, preparation
Before you make the move and upgrade to SharePoint 2016, the first thing you should consider is preparation. It sounds straightforward, but you need a very clear idea of how SharePoint is being used in your organisation at present; what it’s being used for, who’s using it and how your SharePoint farm is laid out.
You also need to complete a full audit of your existing content – deciding what should be upgraded and what needs to be archived. This is all standard practice of course, but is absolutely crucial.
At this stage you should also consider the full range of options open to you. Have you considered moving wholesale to the Cloud? Office 365, for instance, can work out as a cheaper alternative to on-premises SharePoint. Office 365 is scalable and gives you access to many of Microsoft’s latest and greatest tools (including SharePoint Online), due to the evergreen nature of the platform.
Your other option is implementing some kind of hybrid version of the platform – incorporating, say, OneDrive for Business into your on-premises IT solution. So, it’s important here to have a clear idea in mind as to what you want.
Decide whether you’re upgrading your SharePoint environment or doing a clean installation
There are effectively two ways of moving to SharePoint 2016, and each involves a slightly different process. These are:
Upgrading from SharePoint 2013. In this scenario you create a new SharePoint Server 2016 farm, then copy the content and service application databases from SharePoint 2013. This upgrades database schema versions to 2016.
Upgrading from SharePoint 2010 or an earlier version. This is a slightly more complicated approach because you can’t upgrade straight from SharePoint 2010 or earlier directly to SharePoint 2016. Your options are to either use a third party tool, or build one or more temporary “migration” farms running older versions of SharePoint. For example, if you were upgrading from SharePoint 2010 you would build a temporary SharePoint 2013 farm as part of your migration to SharePoint 2016.
Whichever option is right for your organisation, it’s very important you have the right farm set up, and the correct system requirements. Microsoft provide detailed insights into this via their TechNet page, telling you everything you need to know about requirements and prerequisites.
Copy content and databases and migrate them
Microsoft has made a big effort to make migrating content and databases from earlier versions to SharePoint 2016 easy, and the SharePoint 2016 Central Administration tool provides tools for helping with a migration. For more complex migrations, it might be best to consider using a third party migrations tool by companies like Metalogix to undertake a full SharePoint migration.
Upgrade service applications
Once your content has been migrated to SharePoint 2016, the next step is to upgrade any service applications you used in earlier versions of the platform. You may have to reconfigure these if provided by third party providers, so give yourself some time for this.
Upgrade site collections
This will be a job for site administrators once the other major upgrade actions have been completed. You’ll need to run site collection health checks, create an upgrade evaluation site to preview the differences between the new and old versions before actually upgrading the collection and checking it works as expected.
Upgrade to SharePoint 2016
And that, in a nutshell, is how to upgrade to SharePoint 2016. It’s vital you don’t underestimate the time and effort required to perform a migration – you also need to remember that further customisations will be required (in addition to training) for employees so they can really get the most from the platform.
At Content and Code, we’ve worked with SharePoint since its inception. By combining our passion for all things Microsoft with our deep knowledge and understanding of the latest technologies, we feel SharePoint 2016 is the best version yet. If you want any advice with upgrading to SharePoint 2016, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
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About our author
CEO and Founder
Tim is the CEO of Content and Code and founded the company in 2001. As CEO of Content and Code, Tim focuses on corporate strategy, client and partner relationships, and has overall responsibility for driving the growth of the company. Tim founded Content and Code so he could help transform organisations to be more responsive, more competitive and engage their employees to better realise business goals.
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