4 Reasons to Migrate to the Latest Version of SharePoint

Sashi

SharePoint is considered to be among the best, if not the best content management platform in the industry but to stay updated, its important to migrate to SharePoint latest version.

As with any platform or framework, SharePoint has evolved over the years and continues to do so.

With every new version of SharePoint, we get the same old question. “Why do we need to migrate to the latest version.”

SharePoint migration is the process of moving all the content you have in your existing file share or SharePoint, either to a new version of SharePoint or to another place in an existing SharePoint environment, and eventually to a newer version, such as SharePoint 2013, 2016 or SharePoint Online.

Well, there are many reasons, why you should upgrade to the latest versions of SharePoint. In this blog, we’ll talk of 4 such features.

  1. Support Cycle changes when Microsoft releases a new version
  2. Features may be deprecated and additions do occur with new versions
  3. Sequential upgradation is always beneficial
  4. Major differences between SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online/Office 365

Why Migrate to SharePoint Latest Version

Support Cycle changes, when Microsoft releases a new version

Before knowing about the Support Cycle which Microsoft provides, you should know why support is important for SharePoint. To handle SharePoint well, you need to have deep knowledge & understanding of SharePoint’s features & functionalities. In this process of gaining deep insights, you will be faced with situations where you will need some support.

  • One common example is, when you update your site with patches or new updates and suddenly realize that some of the features have stopped working
  • Another scenario is where your data and transaction log has increased and the application performance has degraded

Before moving forward, it would be interesting to take a look at all the SharePoint Server releases so far.

  • SharePoint Portal Server 2001
  • SharePoint Team Services 2002
  • SharePoint Portal Server 2003
  • Office SharePoint Server 2007
  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2013
  • SharePoint Server 2016

A lack of support can lead to wastage of both your time and effort. Therefore, adapting and migrating to new versions is always safe and helpful. For instance, support for the Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2001 ended on Dec 7th, 2011, and support for the SharePoint Portal Server 2003 supported ended on  Aug 4th, 2014. It is also important to note that these were provided as extended support. However, the mainstream support end dates were about 5 years earlier than the dates mentioned above.

Old features are deprecated and new features are released with every new version of SharePoint

Microsoft stops supporting various features with every new release. A feature can be deprecated in the immediate new version and completely removed in the subsequent versions. Perhaps, it is best to explain this with an example.

  • SharePoint 2010 had a visual upgrade feature. Microsoft announced that it would be deprecating the visual upgrade feature and replacing it with a deferred site collection upgrade in SharePoint 2013.
  • In SharePoint 2013, you can use either a visual upgrade or a deferred site collection upgrade. However, while using the visual upgrade feature few workarounds were required.
  • In SharePoint 2016, you can only use the deferred site collection upgrade feature. The visual upgrade feature has been phased out completely, so there aren’t any workarounds that let you continue to use a visual upgrade in SharePoint 2016.

To avoid such scenarios, it is best to undertake a regular upgrade process.

Sequential up-gradation is always beneficial

Some Organizations upgrade their lower version to newer versions whenever Microsoft releases the same. However, some organizations skip the up-gradation and this led to multiple complications when they try to upgrade to the most recent version. The changes from one version to another are significant enough that you can’t take data from 2 versions ago and plug it into the latest version without a hitch. It’s always been this way that if you have 2007 and want to move to 2016, you’d have to move through 2010 and 2013 to get to 2016.

You have the 2 options to upgrade in SharePoint:

  1. Move through each version as you upgrade
  2. Use a third-party migration tool to upgrade your environment

And if in case, you are planning for a third-party tool, we at Saketa do provide a tool called Saketa    Migrator. For details have a look at our website.

Major differences between SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online/Office 365

The fourth reason is not directly linked to the up-gradation or migration but I would like to touch upon it here. We get a lot of queries on whether to migrate to Office 365/SharePoint Online or not and what are the added advantages of making such a move. So, we thought we’ll list the differences between the two and help you make a choice.

SharePoint Online is a feature within the Office 365 platform that hosts your sites. When Microsoft talks about the cloud version of SharePoint Server, they refer to Office 365 rather than only on SharePoint Online. One important thing over here is, that when Microsoft releases the new features in any version like SharePoint 2016, those features are already tested and used in Office 365 for several years.

SharePoint Online

Moving forward, we believe that Microsoft will continue their focus on Office 365 to make it available & useful for organizations of every shape and size. Some of the distinguished features of Office 365 are

  • SharePoint farms are hosted in Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure
  • Microsoft applies security patches and pushes platform updates
  • Office 365 has committed to 99.9% availability in their service level agreement (SLA)—anything less than that and you may receive a service credit
  • The cloud version receives more new features
  • You pay per user with Software as a Service (SaaS) deployment

SharePoint Server /On-premises

Even though the on-premises version of SharePoint is no longer leading in innovations, Microsoft hasn’t abandoned it.

The following are some notable features of on-premises SharePoint servers:

  • SharePoint farms are hosted by your organization
  • Organization IT is responsible for everything like patches, updates, etc.
  • Organization maintain the Active Directory Domain Services (AD) on-premises
  • New versions receive thoroughly, which are tested features in Office 365
  • You buy Client Access Licenses (CALs) for either each device or person accessing the SharePoint server

Differences between online and on-premise exist, but still, if you have adapted to on-premise, working with it is also a great experience. However, it is important to regularly migrate to SharePoint latest version. Just think about switching from on-premise to Cloud version of SharePoint, if you’d like to take advantage of more uptime, features and spend less time maintaining your SharePoint environment.

In the end, SharePoint migrations are essential to maintain business continuity in the long run. Most people are hesitant to migrate to a new environment because they believe that migration is a costly and complex exercise but in reality, this is not quite true. There are a number of tools out there, including the Saketa SharePoint Migration Tool, that will make you appreciate your decision to migrate to SharePoint latest version while making the migration journey extremely easy and convenient as well.

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