Experiences with upgrading a 2 TB SharePoint MOSS farm to SP2

Written By: Manoj V -- 5/17/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (1143) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Configurations, Infrastructure, MOSS 2007, System Administration

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Upgrading a MOSS 2007 farm to SP2 can be a simple task, but not if there is 2 TB of content with lots of customizations. Here is what we did...



We had a MOSS 2007 SP1 farm with 4 SharePoint servers and 2 SQL servers in a cluster. The portal was accessed by users across the globe and there were many services being used; Excel service, Search service, Reporting service, Forms service, etc.

We did not have a pre-production environment which was close to the production environment. Another challenge was that there were lots of customizations, both branding related and custom webparts and aspx pages and many of these were not documented.

1. Setting up test environment

We were running out of time because MOSS SP1 had reached end of support. Our plan was to setup a staging or pre-production environment which was similar in topology and content to the production farm. Our production farm had 2 WFE (load balanced) and 2 application servers (one running the Central Admin site and the other an index server) all running Windows Server 2003 R2 64 bit OS. There were mainly 2 custom web applications, one for the portal site and the other for MySite (apart from system web applications like Central Admin.

We used virtual servers to setup a test farm with the same patch level, 2 load balanced WFE (web front end), 1 application server and a database SQL Server. We installed MOSS 2007 SP1 on all the 3 SharePoint servers and installed SQL Server to the same patch level. We created web applications similar to production, configured index server, setup SSP and other services.

Now we had a farm with similar a configuration as our production environment. Next we took a SQL backup of all the production content databases and attached them to the SQL Server in the test farm. This created all the managed paths and site collections on the test farm. The SharePoint administrators verified and made sure that we had all site collections migrated to the test farm.

The next step was to deploy all solution package (.wsp) files to the test farm. This step went fine without any issues. We also had to recreate all Excel trusted locations and deploy InfoPath forms. We also configured reporting services on the application server and redeployed the reports using BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio).

2. Upgrading the test farm to SP2

Here is the order of installation of the SP2 patch we followed:

  • Install WSS 3.0 SP2 on the application server (Do not run PSConfig wizard).
  • Install MOSS 2007 SP2 on the application server (Run PSConfig Wizard, this causes your config db to be upgraded to SP2).
  • Install WSS 3.0 SP2 on WFE (Do not run PSConfig wizard).
  • Install MOSS 2007 SP2 on WFE (Run PSConfig Wizard, which registers this server to SP2 in the config database).
  • Repeat the same in next WFE.

psconfig warning

Once this is complete, SP2 binaries get installed on all SharePoint servers and the config db (farm) was upgraded to SP2. The next step was to upgrade our content to SP2. This is an important step because our content is huge. We had our content split across 90 databases and some databases were close to 200 GB.

We used the database attach method and not an in place upgrade because of the size of the data we had. We started off by attaching the content database holding the root site collection to SharePoint using the command "AddContentdb".

stsadm.exe -o addcontentdb -url "" -databasename contentDbName

We checked each site collection after attaching their respective content dbs to make sure things were fine. Adding the content db would recreate any manage paths if required and create site collections. Most of the customizations like Master Pages, css, etc were preserved. Since we deployed all required "wsp" packages, web parts were also available. We just needed to activate the features.

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