Exam Prep: Productivity Services

Exam Prep: Productivity Services

The Exam for SharePoint 2016, is broken down into various categories, in these blog posts we will cover the following:

  • Designing a SharePoint Infrastructure
  • SharePoint Workload Optimization
  • Productivity Services
  • Optimization and Monitoring

This post will focus on the first topic of Productivity Services. You will also need to study the following areas:

  • Evaluate content and customizations
  • Plan an upgrade process
  • Create and configure app management
  • Create and configure productivity services
  • Manage SharePoint solutions and applications

Some key links outside of the topic for this post can be found below: 

Content and Customizations

Upgrade process

App management

Configure productivity services

Manage SharePoint solutions and applications

So, these topics are quite interesting, especially when you look at the topics needed for this. For this blog post we will focus on the planning an upgrade process as this is really one of the largest areas that most organizations need and you will definitely need to know for the exam. Firstly, head over to the following URL and get a copy of the eBook for upgrade and migration:

Now read this blog post.

Now signup for this On-demand webinar I did on Upgrade.

Finally let's actually talk about a bit more about the options available for an upgrade, really from the perspective of steps needed.

Having worked on quite a few upgrades over the year, there are two trails of thoughts, the first being the database upgrade approach and then the migration option. I am not going to talk about a migration, though this is often the ideal approach allowing for cleanup and rework during the process, instead let’s look at the standard Microsoft approach outlined for the exam.

In the database-attach method, you first create and configure a SharePoint Server 2016 farm. Then you copy the content and service application databases from the SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) farm, and then attach and upgrade the databases. This upgrades the data to the new version. Site owners can then upgrade individual site collections. If you are moving from SharePoint 2010, then you will first need to upgrade the databases to SharePoint 2013 before you can move to SharePoint 2016.

NOTE: SharePoint Server 2016 does not support SharePoint 2010 mode (that is, compatibility level 14) site collections. Any site collection that is in this mode will block the attachment of that content database to the SharePoint Server 2016 farm. You must upgrade all SharePoint 2010 mode sites to 2013 mode (that is, compatibility level 15) on the existing 2013 farm before you mount the database on the new SharePoint 2016 farm. 

SharePoint Server 2016 supports an upgrade from SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) with March 2013 PU, version 15.0.4481.1005 or higher.

To ensure the database are ready, you can run the Windows PowerShell Test-SPContentDatabase cmdlet on a SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1). The content database does not need to be connected to a SharePoint site for this either. The goal is to determine what site collections are running in SharePoint 2010 mode. The following Windows PowerShell command sample returns the list of all site collections that are in SharePoint 2010 mode. You would run this command on the SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) farm so that you could upgrade those site collections into 2013 mode before attaching the content databases to a 2016 farm.

Get-SPSite -Limit All | ? { $_.CompatibilityLevel -eq 14 }

This can be modified if you want to find sites in the SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) farm that are in SharePoint 2010 mode but on a per-content database basis, run the following Windows PowerShell syntax on the SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) farm:

Get-SPSite -ContentDatabase -Limit All | ? { $_.CompatibilityLevel -eq 14 }

Once you have worked out the compatibility level of the databases you are now ready to perform the upgrade steps needed. The following image shows the flow of steps needed to perform the upgrade:

Image Source: https://i-technet.sec.s-msft.com/dynimg/IC846948.png 

In reality when moving from SharePoint 2013 the above steps work fine and can be followed directly, however when moving from SharePoint 2010 or older, the process needs to be modified slightly, allowing for the multiple hop upgrade approach. The logic steps would be:

As you can see there are quite a few steps needed to ensure that an upgrade is successful. To learn more about some of the core tasks review the following TechNet articles:


Copy databases to the new farm for upgrade to SharePoint Server 2016



Upgrade service applications to SharePoint Server 2016



Upgrade content databases to SharePoint Server 2016



In the final Exam Prep post, we will look at Optimization and Monitoring for SharePoint 2016.

Create SharePoint 2013 Farm

Create SharePoint 2016 Farm

Copy Databases to SharePoint 2013 Farm

Upgrade Service Applications

Upgrade Content Databases and Site Collections

Copy Databases to SharePoint 2016 Farm from SharePoint 2013 Farm

Upgrade Service Applications

Upgrade Content Databases and Site Collections

This process should happen a few times, in order to ensure the process is clean. Upgrading the database is obviously a major task and probably the most intensive unless you have customizations that need to modified too. There is no easy way to make the customizations you have work in a newer version of SharePoint. This process can be complicated and often very time consuming, however it is all about reviewing code and making adjustments.  Once this process is completed the customizations, for example server side solution files (WSP) need to be deployed to the new SharePoint 2016 Farm, so that the existing connections and functionality work when the content databases are attached to SharePoint 2016.

Image Source: https://i-technet.sec.s-msft.com/dynimg/IC846951.png 


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