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Performing a trial SharePoint migration is an important step in the upgrade process. For example, a trial migration provides the opportunity to test whether customizations will continue to work as expected, or if you will need to modify them for the new environment. If customizations have been done, you need to know what they are, where they exist, and whether there are upgrade issues. If issues arise, you need a plan for dealing with them. 

A trial migration may also help you determine how long the production upgrade should take. This is important when planning migration logistics with your client. Using hardware and software that mirrors production will make this determination as accurate as possible.

Finally, trial migrations provide an opportunity to become familiar with migration tools and processes, and to work through any difficulties that arise in an environment that does not negatively impact users. That experience will help provide a trouble-free production upgrade.

Here is a check list for trial migrations you may wish to follow, or use as a starting point for your own:

  • Build the test SharePoint 2010/2013 farm – ( virtual if possible )
  • If applicable, install farm-wide customizations

               –  Custom features and solutions
               –  Custom applications
               –  Custom web parts
               –  Custom web services

  • Create and configure web apps that exist in your SharePoint 2007/2010 farm
  • Back up all SharePoint content databases that you plan to migrate
  • Restore the backed up databases in the test environment
  • Configure User Profile Synchronization service

               –  Reapply settings such as connections and property mappings

  • Attach database to web application – this will initiate the upgrade process
  • Once the upgrade is complete, verify the upgrade status

               –  Review log files.
                       Upgrade log file and error log file
                       ULS logs – did you enable verbose?
                       Application event log – Event Viewer
               –  Troubleshoot upgrade issues and re-run the upgrade

  • Review upgraded site 

               –  Review web parts
               –  Check any large lists
               –  Check visual styles 
               –  Check permissions
               –  Review customized pages

  • Fix/repair any customizations that did not upgrade as expected

               –  Depending on the customization you may correct issues in the current environment, and re-test the upgrade
               –  Note: you may decide to address the issue Post-Upgrade.