A Blog Series – How to upgrade Sitecore?

Incessant improvements, keep on introducing something new and regularly fixing the existing bugs are the key qualities of a successful Product. Sitecore is undoubtedly not an exception in this stream. Releasing timely version upgrades, intermediate updates and various patches is the beauty of Sitecore which makes it more powerful, extendable and robust.

As s result, these regular updates introduce the need to upgrade the current version we are using to the latest or most suitable one because – Upgrades Are Inevitable.

Frequently we observe that either our friends or colleagues or someone on various Sitecore community portals are keep on asking questions regarding Sitecore upgrade. I wont hesitate saying that at this moment as well someone somewhere in the world is either doing a Sitecore upgrade or planning for it or backlogged as a must to have Agile Story for the current/next fiscal year.

A team or a person who never did a Sitecore Upgrade, have a lot of questions/doubts to be answered/discussed like:

  1. What is the best migration approach from my version to latest/targeted version?
  2. How my databases/code/configuration files will be migrated?
  3. How the historical analytics data either from Analytics DB or xDB will be migrated?
  4. Which one is more efficient – Incremental Upgrades or Express Migration or Mixed Mode?
  5. I have various modules/third parties integrated with the project, what should be smoother upgrade priorities for those integrations?
  6. Is code/content freeze is mandatory while upgrading Production environment?
  7. How to deal with Licensing while introducing new servers during the upgrade?
  8. Should I stick to the on-premise mode or it’s time to migrate to Cloud?
  9. What should be the best scale-in/scale-out approaches for my Sitecore implementation?
  10. Which one to choose for xDB – SQL or Mongo?

Along with below questions asked on Sitecore Stack Exchange:

  1. Sitecore upgrade v7.2 to 9
  2. Possible upgrade strategy
  3. Upgrading from 7.2 to 8.2
  4. Sitecore upgrade strategy for multiple publishing targets
  5. What’s the best migration strategy for 6.5 to 8.2?

And some innocent questions like this:

QuestionOnUpgrade.JPG

I wish Sitecore Upgrades are that easy…

SitecoreUpgrade

Considering all these I thought of writing a blog series to talk about each and every aspect of Sitecore Upgrade in detail, right from the beginning when you just started thinking that you need a Sitecore upgrade.

In this blog series we will be talking about:

  1. Blog post #1: Assess and Document: The Present
    • List additional/third party tools/modules integrated
    • Customization – Code and Configuration
    • Features/business logic you don’t want to migrate
    • Maintain a Upgrade Runbook
  2. Blog post #2: Brainstorm and Define: The Future
    • Targeted Sitecore Version?
    • On-premise/Cloud?
    • Infrastructure Upgrade / Parallel Instances?
    • UAT / Stage and Production Topology?
    • Historical Analytics Data – Migrate or Ignore?
    • xDB with SQL or Mongo?
    • Feasibility of Code/Content Freeze?
    • Is your Sitecore License Ready?
  3. Blog post #3: Analyze and Pick: The Upgrade Approach
    • Incremental
    • Express Migration
    • Mixed mode
  4. Blog post #4: Ideal flow to upgrade a local development environment
    • Pre-requisites preparation
    • Define/Confiure the source Sitecore Instance
    • Install the target Vanilla instance on local Dev environment
    • Configure the Express Migration Tool
    • Run the tool for DB only migration
    • Historical analytics data migration
    • Verify that upgraded DBs have all the items from Source
    • Upgrade your visual studio solution and .Net Framework
    • Migrate your code base
    • Compare and merge the config files
    • Achieve a clean build
    • Make the Sitecore Admin up and running
    • Upgrade additional tools/modules integrated
      • Connect TDS and Regenerate upgraded Glass modals
    • Try to make the Website up and running
    • Code remediation/rewrite features not working/no more supported
    • Unit testing Sitecore features and website
    • Deployment on sandbox/Dev environment
  5. Blog post #5: Upgrade UAT and Production
    • UAT Upgrade
    • UAT Testing
      • Performance testing
      • Regression Testing
      • Vulnerability testing
    • User Training
    • Upgrade Production and Go-Live

Hope this Blog Series will help you understand the in-out of a Sitecore Upgrade, so that you can plan, estimate and execute the upgrade more efficiently.

Stay tuned!!!

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