How to deal with Sitecore upgrade ?

Maintenance of IT systems in current times is not a simply task. If you’ve ever had an opportunity to made an update of your software, you probably know that this seemingly simple operation very often ends different than you expected. That’s why tasks like that requires appropriate knowledge and some security backups.

Most of software producers, including Sitecore, release updates of their software few times every year, usually due security bug fixes or with some new features.

When you want to be up-to-date with your instance of Sitecore, you should to follow these websites:

  • kb.sitecore.net : you can find there a lot of bug fixes ( not only security ones )
  • sdn.sitecore.net : you can find there upgrades for Sitecore in ver. 7.5 and older
  • dev.sitecore.net: where you can find upgrades for Sitecore in ver. 8.0 and newer

Let’s say, that you aware of the risks and you want to be sure that your software instance is as up-to-date and secure as possible. In my opinion the best upgrade scenario for you is making upgrade step by step according to Sitecore’s guidelines. Usually upgrade requires following activities:

  • run some SQL queries for update database structure or procedures
  • installation of upgrade package provided by Sitecore
  • some changes in configuration files

Those actions made by certified Sitecore developer usually end up with success after few hours of work.

But what you can do when you didn’t pay so much attention for your Sitecore instance (let’s say you have version 6.5) and now you want to upgrade into 8.1? Well, actually you have to face the choice of:

  • making upgrade step-by-step as Sitecore guide suggests and loose few days for move through dozens of them
  • installation a new version and move configuration with data

Let’s add some background to your decision. You probably know that Sitecore recently made a huge change in their architecture. Before version 7.5 sitecore was built only on one engine of database (SQLServer/Oracle ) but currently you also need a parallel instance of MongoDB for xDB. So when you want to upgrade Sitecore from 6.5 into the newest one, you have to change not only software but also an architecture of your environment. Do you really want to move through dozens of steps and architecture changes? Probably not. That’s why in those kind situations we usually choose a second way and trying to migrate all data into new Sitecore instance without using Sitecore’s guidelines.

Process may look like:

  • install new instance of Sitecore with necessary languages and modules (remember about compatibility table https://kb.sitecore.net/articles/541788)
  • move necessary parts of configuration files from old instance
  • prepare package of items and media from current version of Sitecore
    install package in a new version
  • do many tests

As you can see, we always have a choice. All paths may work. We have experience with both of them, so we can perform upgrade for you – we can choose the right solution for every issue.

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