By Jay Mehta

SharePoint 2013, with its advanced features, offers many core benefits to organizations. If you’re looking ahead to migrate, perhaps you have questions. Let's look at some of the most typical SharePoint migration questions.

First of all, however, you need to plan for the migration. This requires you to put the current setup at rest and study your current SharePoint farm (whether 2010 or 2007) and what essential changes should be made. Figure 1 illustrates an approach to migration.

In addition, you need to look at the cost, time, and complexity factors and plan the SharePoint migration in such a way that it can do justice to these factors. And you might want to consider getting expert help for a successful and hassle-free SharePoint migration.

How Do I Move Content Databases to SharePoint 2013?

The first thing that comes in the migration procedure is to move or migrate the content database. This step needs to be accomplished carefully as any lapses during this stage may damage the complete migration. The content database can be moved easily with the help of SharePoint 2013 tools and SQL Server tools. As an alternative, you can either use Windows PowerShell or SharePoint Central Administration.

While migrating the content database to SharePoint 2013, there is only one approach available to use - the Database Attach Upgrade. It upgrades the content environment and keeps the same configuration settings. Dan Holme wrote this list of steps to help you migrate the content database to SharePoint 2013 efficiently.

How Do I Upgrade the Service Applications Database to SharePoint 2013?

The ShareGate blog details the next step in SP2013 migration,which is to upgrade or move the service application databases. To do so, you’ll follow these steps:

  • Switch on the service instances for the six service applications that you can move: business data connectivity, performance point service, search service, user profile service, managed meta data web service and secure store service.
  • Upgrade the databases and generate the service applications.
  • Make proxies for the service applications after the successful upgrade of service application databases. You should know that you can create proxies for these five service applications:
  • Secure Store Service Application
  • Performance Point Service Application
  • Managed Meta Data Service Application
  • Search Service Application
  • User Profile Service Application
  • Make sure that proxies are in the default group. There is a different procedure to verify the location of proxies.
  • Important Note:The following service applications can’t be migrated:
  • Configuration Database
  • Sync Database (User Profile)
  • Search Index Database(s)

How Do I Migrate Site Collections to SharePoint 2013?

The most tricky or complicated step in SharePoint 2013 migration is to migrate the site collections. Initially, when you migrate the site collections to SharePoint 2013 from your current farm (e.g., SharePoint 2010), the sites will run on the same mode because SharePoint 2013 manages both the 14 hive and the 15 hive to support the site collections for 2010 and 2013.

The main difficulty comes when the site runs on 2010 mode; it doesn’t give you the feel of advancement. Thus, you need to upgrade the site collections. You should know that there is no visual tool in SharePoint 2013 that can support the site collection upgrade. Hence, you need to either run a Powershell command or consider deferred site collection upgrade approach.

How Do I Migrate the User Experience to SharePoint 2013?

Some have been using SharePoint 2010 since its launch and might be reluctant to migrate to SharePoint 2013. But, they need not worry as they can migrate to the latest version without losing the feel of the earlier one.

The users just need to select the system files and other documents that they need to run in 2010 mode. The supportable features of SharePoint 2013 will allow them to run in 2010 mode, and in addition, also provide features to provide them the user experience of SharePoint 2013. The customized list can easily be migrated to SharePoint 2013 with the help of PowerShell or through a SQL Server instance.

How Do I Migrate Workflows to SharePoint 2013?

There can be different procedures to migrate the workflows to SharePoint 2013 from 2007 and 2010 (see Figures 2 and 3 below).

Here are the general steps:

  • Fetch the backup of the content database from SQL Server.
  • Re-establish the backup available in SQL Server for the SharePoint 2010 farm.
  • Make a new claims-based web app.
  • Add the content database to the newly created web application.
  • Open the site in SharePoint Designer and update the workflow to publish it.
  • Now restore the backup of the content database on SQL Server for the 2013 farm.
  • Open the site in SharePoint 2013 Designer, and now, you will be able to modify and upgrade the workflow.

How Do I Manage Disruptions and Downtime?

Disruptions and downtime are inevitable things that you will face during a SharePoint 2013 migration. You can reduce them by properly implementing the essential migration steps.

How do I Validate a Successful Migration?

To validate a successful migration, primarily, you need to upgrade logs and application events logs. Besides that, you need to validate following:

  • Web Applications
  • Services
  • External Data Sources
  • Authentication Providers
  • Customization defects and fixes


Jay Mehta works as a SharePoint Consultant with Cygnet Infotech. He has architected various public-facing portals, Enterprise SharePoint environments with multiple server farms, and designed and developed SharePoint solutions on DMS and CMS domains. He has worked in the areas of SharePoint administration and configuration, Business Intelligence, and migration, and regularly speaks at webinars, sharing the SharePoint experience. You can contact Jay at info@cygnet-infotech.com.