SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008 – the prep



So you want to install SharePoint Foundation 2010 onto SBS 2008 eh? We’ll I’m here to tell you that you need to do your prep work or else you are going to end up in a horrible mess. This post will take you through the steps you should complete prior to any upgrade. Future posts will cover the upgrade process.


Let’s assume that you have decided that you really want to install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008. The most compelling reasons are the ability to run Office Web Apps and allow document co-authoring with Office 2010. The first question to ask is whether you are planning to migrate your existing Companyweb data or start fresh? If you want to migrate your data (which the most likely option) then you are going to need to ensure that it is backed up.


I’d always recommend that you backup your SharePoint data a number of different ways just in case you need to roll back. So the first suggested way is to do a normal full backup or image of your system using the inbuilt SBS backup or imaging software. Ensure that you have all the SharePoint databases on that backup. By default the WSS v3 databases on SBS 2008 live in

c:\windows\sysmsi\ssee\mssql.2005\mssql\data (although they can be relocated manually or via the SBS 2008 wizards).


Next I’d do a command line stsadm backup via:


stsadm –o backup –url http://companyweb –filename drive:\directory\filename -overwrite


This will create a single file backup of your WSS v3 site. Why this? It is much easier in my books to create a new clean WSS v3 site somewhere (say on a virtual PC) and then restore a full WSS v3 backup using the above command. This form of backup is probably the most easily transportable there is  for WSS v3.


While still at the command line I’d also do:


stsadm –o export –url http://companyweb –filename drive:\directory\filename1 –includeusersecurity –overwrite


Why this extra command you ask? The difference is that the –export command allows me to import the data into an existing WSS v3 site, whereas the –backup command overwrites what is there. Thus, maybe I want to import the data to a sub area of another site for testing or maybe recovery. Like I said the more options the better in my books.


With that complete and still at the command type the following:


stsadm –o preupgradecheck


What that will do is run a check to see whether there are any obvious deal breakers to prevent an upgrade from WSS v3 to SharePoint Foundation 2010. That command will produce a file you can study at your leisure and see if something untoward might pop out during the upgrade process.


If all that looks good then you are probably ready to commence the upgrade but here’s where I’d ask you to stop and think. What is your fall back procedure? What happens if it all goes belly up and you need to roll back to the original WSS v3? What happens if you need to reinstall WSS v3? Have you ever tried that? Do you know where to find the documentation for that? I’ll tell you now that there ain’t any install wizard to get Companyweb back up and running on SBS 2008 if things go pear shaped so I strongly recommend you understand how to do a full disaster recovery of WSS v3 on SBS 2008 before you go any further.


With that in mind, and with you hopefully scurrying off to do some research I’ll let you know that you can’t simply upgrade WSS v3 Companyweb on SBS 2008 to Companyweb on SharePoint Foundation 2010. You will have to uninstall WSS v3 completely from SBS 2008 before attempting to install SharePoint Foundation 2010. Yep, you read that right, totally remove WSS v3 from SBS 2008.


Now even before you install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008 you are going to need to install a swag of prerequisites. Do you know what these are? Will they affect anything that is already on the server? Will they interfere with any third party apps installed on the server (like AV produces say). Hopefully, you now understand my point about making sure you have a fall back plan in case problems do arise.


Next consider what database version you are going to use with SharePoint Foundation 2010. By default SharePoint Foundation 2010 comes with SQL Express 2008. Great you say but remember that SQL Express 2008 has a 4GB database limit. WSS v3 came with SQL Server Embedded Edition 2005 (SSEE) which has no database limit. So if your existing Companyweb databases are greater than that, or likely to grow beyond 4GB you have some thinking to do. The easiest and cheapest option is to go with SQL Express 2008 R2 which now has a 10GB database limit and remains a free download. Maybe you want to go full SQL Server 2008 as a license is included with SBS 2008 Premium if you have it. See, not as straight forward as you think.


Now SharePoint Foundation 2010 is going to need to have a version of SQL Server 2008 at least to operate installed prior to the installation of SharePoint Foundation 2010. There is already SQL Server 2005 on SBS 2008 that is used for WSUS amongst other things. What conflicts might that cause? What compatibility issues might that raise? Well for starters SQL Server 2008 generally can’t be installed if SQL Server 2005 Management tools are already installed so these will have to come off before SQL Server 2008 goes on. Do you know how to do this? Have you every installed SQL Server onto a SBS 2008 server? Do you know the correct procedure for getting it working? In some cases when you go to install some versions of SQL Server 2008 onto Windows 2008 it says that it won’t work on that version of the operating system. As I have blogged here before you may need to install an SQL Server 2008 Service pack first, then SQL Server 2008 then the Service Pack again. Simple eh?


I hope that you can at least begin to appreciate the complexities involved in getting SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008  operational. I agree there are plenty of benefits but in my experience there is also plenty of pain. Stayed tuned to future posts where I’ll run through the steps of actually getting SharePoint Foundation 2010 running on SBS 2008. But for now do your backups, run the upgrade check and make sure you have a recovery plan.

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