Moving On-Premise SQL Server Database to SQL Azure

I have found a very helpful article explaining step by step process for how to move SQL Server database from on-premise/local environment to SQL Azure portal, for complete details refer below link:

For this process, you will require a SQL Azure migration wizard client tool which is free, you can download it from

Step by step explanation of how to move SQL Server database from an on-premise environment to SQL Azure:

Configure SQL Azure to Access from Local SSMS

I have found 2 different ways for how to access and work in SQL Azure database:

1)  On Windows Azure Portal:

=> Open portal and go to SQL Databases section => Select database => click on Manage URL in quick glance section, right side of the panel.

This will redirect to Management Portal-SQL Azure, login into the database by inputting required fields then start work into the database.

As it directly accessible from a browser, so the approach helpful while SSMS is not installed on the machine or accessing SQL Azure database.

But as a developer, considering the SSMS tool always installed on the machine and most of the developers are much comfortable for accessing SQL server objects through SSMS than a browser.

So to make it work, first we have to configure SQL Azure in SSMS, for it follows below steps:

2) Configure SQL Azure to open in local SSMS, which gives a feeling like working SQL Server of on-premises:

2.1) Configurations required on Windows Azure Portal:

  • Allow public IP address into SQL Azure environment:

Move into SQL databases section on portal => select Servers in the main panel.

  • Click on -> right side in Server Name cell
  • Move into CONFIGURE section and add new Rule with start IP address and End IP and save it by click on SAVE button in the bottom of the screen.

You can set rule by adding current client IP address, but it changes frequently so each and every time you have to add the current public IP address into firewall rules on Windows Azure.

2.2) Local machine level configurations:
Open SQL server configuration manager from Start Menu.

  • Navigate to Protocols for MSSQLServer node => enable TCP/IP protocol.
  • Open TCP/IP properties by right click it and then properties or by double click, and mentioned Port no: 1433 in IPAll section. Apply & close window.
  • Open Windows firewall => Advanced settings
  • Navigate at Inbound Rules => Create new Rule
  • Select Rule type => Port
  • Move into Protocols and Ports section and mentioned Port no: 1433 for TCP.
  • Do not make any changes in the Action and Profile section.
  • Set Name for the rule in the last section and finish.

2.2) Connect to SQL Azure in SSMS:

  • Provide below information into Connect to Server (this is sample information, you have to mention as per your configurations)

Server Name: tcp:<ServerName>,1433 (it should be fully qualified server name, pick from the windows azure portal)

Login: <UserId>@<Servername>

Password: <Password> which you set for a database in the portal

For example:

Server Name:,1433

Login: UserId@qm1qbebehe

Password: ********

Prepare for the New Office 365 Upgrade

With the official release date for new version Office 365 set to Feb 27 the upgrade to a new version for existing Office 365 customers is expected to follow soon. Here we have addressed some of the concerns existing Officer 365 customers will have about the upgrade and help them to better prepare.

When will the upgrade happen?

There is no fixed date given for the upgrade although some select Office 365 customers have already had the opportunity to Upgrade. The upgrade timeline depends upon your region. US customers will be upgraded first, followed by the UK, Europe, Africa and then Asia.

When will customers get notified if they are selected for an upgrade?

Office 365 upgrade notifications will be sent about a month in advance to the upgrade date.

What communications will be sent from Microsoft about the upgrade?

You will receive three emails from Microsoft once your upgrade has been scheduled. The first one will be sent after your upgrade has been scheduled. The second email will confirm your upgrade date. The final email will be sent once the upgrade is complete.

Will there be any downtime?

No there will not be a downtime. Mailboxes, Lync or Mobile setup will not be affected.

Will there be pricing changes?

No, the existing service agreements, prices and billing cycle will stay the same.

Do the Users have to reconfigure settings on computers and mobile devices after the upgrade?

During and after the upgrade, email, instant messaging and sites will keep working, and you don’t have to reconfigure computers and mobile devices.  However, if your users are using older versions of browser you will have to upgrade them to the latest version.

Can I do a pilot upgrade for some users?

Yes. Once you’ve received the initial upgrade scheduling email, you can select up to 100 people to have their email, instant messaging and conferencing upgraded immediately to the new version

Can I postpone the upgrade date if the date selected by Microsoft for the upgrade is inconvenient for me?

Yes. Once your service upgrade has been scheduled you will have 3 weeks to postpone the upgrade. You will be able to postpone the upgrade only once.

What things can I do to better prepare for the upgrade?

1.   If you are users are using Internet Explorer 7 or older version of chrome or safari browsers get them upgraded to the latest version of the browsers.
2.  When you receive an upgrade invitation choose the early upgrade option and do a pilot.
3.  Work with Microsoft Cloud Partner like IOTAP to get Office 365 support and advice on upgrade process and options.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 The Enterprise Social Network

Many of the Social features have been introduced in SharePoint 2013 which makes Microsoft SharePoint a robust Enterprise Social platform. Those features are listed as under.

  • Social computing (including personal sites, feeds, and communities), is just one of many components of SharePoint 2013 which has upgrades across its many modules such as search, document management and sharing, and business intelligence.
    After the merger of Yammer (an enterprise social network) with Microsoft, it is being believed that the combination of Yammer, SharePoint and Office 365 will provide the most comprehensive and flexible solutions for enterprise social networking.
  • In the SharePoint 2010 Server and Foundation, a good way to enable user conversations was through discussion list to sites. SharePoint 2013 becomes more social by adding new Community Sites and Community Portal templates.
    o   Community Sites provides a forum for structuring and encouraging discussions among people across your organization.
    o   The Community Portal is an enterprise site template that enables users to search for SharePoint sites (or groups of sites) that use the Community Site template.
  • The Newsfeed section (one of several feeds available via My Site) displays information from your colleagues or things that you follow, such as people, documents, sites, and tags. The “Everyone feed”, for instance, shows the last 20 posts or replies across all users, not just the people you follow. And as the Activities feed shows all activity associated with a particular user, the other users can also see your Activities feed while browsing either your profile or About Me page.
  • The search features are improved, many with a social component in SharePoint 2013. In addition to displaying contact and organizational information, search results now show authored documents and information on past projects. Upgraded navigational tools include query suggestions based on previous results, and click-saving “hover panel” shows additional information when you hold the cursor over an item (similar to Google).
  • Microsoft’s Lync enterprise communications platform has improved integration into the 2013 versions of SharePoint, OneNote, Outlook, and other Microsoft Office apps. During an online meeting, for instance, Lync highlights a participant’s Active Directory identity rather than his or her phone number. Microsoft Lync captures participant lists via Microsoft OneNote and allows meeting attendees to share and collectively edit notes directly from within Lync.
    The program provides a powerful way to communicate with clients, colleagues, and prospective customers across the globe by extending into Skype.
  • The Site Mailbox feature is a place to store Exchange emails and SharePoint documents, both of which only site members can access and edit. Office 2013 makes it easier to file an email, document, or attachment in a shared project space, simply dragging the item into the Site Mailbox. From the user’s viewpoint, the project documents and emails are stored together; on the back end, however, the content remains in SharePoint for documents, and Exchange for email.
  • Discussions play a key role in SharePoint’s new Community Sites. Users can address topics both professional and personal. SharePoint provides incentives to promote participation, such as reputation building, likes, gifted badges, and best replies. To give you an example: You’re browsing a community and answer a question posed by your colleague, who are notified by email of your response. Your colleague marks your answer as the best reply, which earns you reputation points and improves your status within the community. The point system is set/controlled by each community owner/moderator. The reputation score is displayed on your Members page.
  • SkyDrive Pro is the premium version of Sky drive that’s optimized for enterprises. As a central hub for work documents, SkyDrive Pro makes it easier to track (via the Followed Documents page) files that is material to you. Also, SkyDrive Pro allows you to work on important documents even when you’re offline on your local computer.
  • It is easier to control multiple project tasks with SharePoint 2013. Rather than going to each project site to review and edit assigned tasks, you manage them in one single location. My Site page has a link in the left-side navigation menu to “Tasks”. To load the My Tasks screen, you will need to click on the link, which aggregates tasks assigned to you across all of your groups. Presented in a timeline, the tasks are searchable and grouped by project locations. You can sync tasks to Outlook, too.
  • The public section of About Me features a new personal profile with information about your interests and social connections. The People Card includes the usual contact details, as well as your personal photo, activity feeds from SharePoint, status updates, and Facebook and LinkedIn account information.

SharePoint 2013 Upgrade Improvements

SharePoint 2013 has got a great set of features that would certainly entice existing SharePoint users to upgrade to SharePoint 2013. Along with the feature set improvements, SharePoint 2013 also brings in a lot of improvements to the upgrade process that makes the upgrade easier, manageable and flexible.

The improvements that are available in SharePoint 2013 upgrade process include

  • Upgrading Service Applications
  • Site Collection health checker
  • Deferred site collection upgrade
  • True SharePoint 2010 mode
  • Upgrade cycle event notifications
  • Upgrade Performance throttles

Upgrading Service Applications

As the database attach is the only upgrade method allowed in SharePoint 2013 an upgrade will only upgrade the content and not the settings. However, SharePoint 2013 allows the below services databases to be upgraded separately after configuring them in SharePoint 2013

  • Business connectivity services
  • Managed Metadata services
  • Performance point services
  • Search services
  • User Profile Service
  • Secure store services

Site Collection health checker

Site collection health checker rules allow site collection administrators or owners to run a set of rules against a site collection to detect issues and address them before upgrading. The rules that are included in site health checker are

  • Customized Files
  • Missing Galleries
  • Missing Site Templates
  • Unsupported Language Pack References
  • Unsupported MUI(Multi User Interface) References

The health checks have to be performed manually and after the execution is complete a report with the list of potential issues and way to address them will be generated.

Deferred site collection upgrade

SharePoint 2013 allows Site collection owners to upgrade their sites to the new SharePoint 2013 user interface on their own timeline. Deferred site collection upgrade replaces the visual upgrade feature in SharePoint 2010 and allows using the UI from SharePoint Server 2010 more seamlessly. With the differed update the master page, CSS, Scripts, and features will remain in SharePoint Server 2010 mode.

True SharePoint 2010 mode

Visual upgrade in SharePoint 2010 is not a true preview because the site itself has already been upgraded to the new functionality and some web parts may not display correctly. In SharePoint 2013 upgrade, site collections are not upgraded when content databases are upgraded to new version and administrators can view the site in true  SharePoint 2010 mode

Upgrade cycle event notifications

Sharepoint 2013 upgrade process allows administrators to determine whether to allow site collection administrators to upgrade their sites to 2013.  Administrators will be able to control the following upgrade options and upgrade notifications

  • Whether the site collection administrators can upgrade their site collections.
  • Which Sharepoint version mode (2010 or 2013, or both) is available when site collections are created.
  • Whether to add a link to more information from the Upgrading now the status bar.
  • The number of days to wait before sending an upgrade reminder  to site collection administrator

Upgrade Performance throttles

Throttles are set up by default to prevent performance degrades even if many site collection administrators decide to upgrade their site collections to SharePoint 2013 at the same time. The throttles are built in at the web application, database, and content level. Administrators can also override the default throttle settings when they do an Upgrade.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 – Benefits for Developers

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 is a useful development platform for building apps and solutions for varied requirements. It offers a new flexible development model that can be used to create apps for Microsoft SharePoint using standard web technologies, such as JavaScript, OAuth, and OData. With the new app for SharePoint development model, we can build apps that take advantage of SharePoint capabilities and run in the cloud instead of SharePoint farm implemented on-premise. Below are the different benefits that SharePoint 2013 offers to the developers.

Benefits for Developers

  • New & useful Cloud App Model: It enables the developers to create a variety of apps (i.e. self-contained pieces of functionality that extend the capabilities of SharePoint website). While developing an app, SharePoint objects such as lists, workflows, and site pages can be used. Also, it can be used to surface a remote web application and remote data in SharePoint.These Apps (all custom code) once developed, can be moved “up” to the cloud or “down” to client computers. Moreover, SharePoint 2013 introduces an advanced delivery model for apps for SharePoint that includes SharePoint Store and App Catalog.
  • Programming using web standards: Even non-Microsoft platform developers would be able to create SharePoint solutions as SharePoint 2013 is based on common web standards like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Moreover, implementation relies on established protocols like the Open Data protocol (OData), and OAuth.
  • Better Development tools: The good news for SharePoint developers is that existing development tools like Visual Studio and SharePoint Designer has been augmented significantly. Also, the newly developed web-based tool “Napa” (i.e. Office 365 Development Tools) can be used by SharePoint developers in developing apps.In Visual Studio, developers can develop apps for SharePoint, apps for Office, apps for SharePoint that include apps for Office or apps for Office that are hosted by SharePoint. In addition to the SharePoint project templates, Visual Studio 2012 now includes a new app project template in the Apps folder named Apps for SharePoint 2013. Other improvements include full support for development against the Cloud App Model, including OData and OAuth support, and full support for development against the Workflow Manager Client 1.0 platform.
  • Principal EnhancementsSharePoint 2013 has been improved and enhanced to support the new cloud-based architecture and app-driven development framework. SharePoint 2013 is designed and executed to support a rich application development experience.o Mobile Applications: In SharePoint 2013, you can combine Windows Phone 7 applications with on-premise SharePoint services and applications or with remote SharePoint services and applications that run in the cloud (such as SharePoint Online). It helps in creating potent applications that extend functionality beyond the traditional desktop or laptop. Also, developers can create SharePoint-powered mobile applications for Windows Phone using the new SharePoint phone application wizard template in Visual Studio.

    o Improved Workflows: A new set of Visual Studio 2012 workflow project templates let developers access more sophisticated features like custom actions. Workflow Manager Client 1.0 is fully integrated with the model for apps for SharePoint. In addition, workflows execute in the cloud, not in SharePoint, which provides enormous flexibility in designing workflow-based apps for SharePoint.

    o Customized ECM: In SharePoint 2013, developers can use .NET client, Silverlight, Windows Phone, and JavaScript APIs, in addition to the newly expanded set of .NET server managed APIs, to customize Enterprise Content Management (ECM) experiences and behavior.

    o Enhanced BCS: BCS in SharePoint 2013 has been improved and enhanced including OData connectivity, external events, external data in apps, filtering and sorting, support for REST etc.

    o Application services: In Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, Machine Translation Service (which translates sites, documents, and streams for multilingual support) has been introduced. SharePoint Server 2013 also includes Access Services and a new data access model. SharePoint Server 2013 has Word Automation Services and PowerPoint Automation Services (a new feature for SharePoint) for converting files and streams to other formats. Microsoft SharePoint also provides data analysis tools, like PerformancePoint Services and Visio Services that enable business intelligence, and powerful new features in Excel Services.

Web2Lead feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM using Salesfusion

Nelly Furtado once sang “All good things come to end”. While we all love the song, but do we really believe it? Not if we are talking about Softwares where good things only become better, they do not end. However, Microsoft seems to be a big fan of Nelly and they have justified the lyrics by stopping the Lead Internet Capture feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The announcement here.


What did the tool really do?

This tool gave you an all-important flexibility to create landing pages for your website, right inside CRM, like Contact Us page for example. The webmaster would then simply embed this page on the website and there you go – visitors filling up this form on a website would be logged into CRM as leads. Amazing, isn’t it?

What are the alternatives?

What is gone is gone, we certainly do not have to lose heart because there is no dearth of choices that we have. There are various add-ons in the marketplace as replacements. While an add-on will do its job in bits and pieces, we recommend a full-fledged marketing automation to deliver not only the above functionality but also a complete end to end marketing solution.

Salesfusion with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Salesfusion is a SaaS model marketing automation software that replicates the above functionality with ease, thanks to it’s out of box integration with MS CRM? Just create your form using a form creation wizard in Salesfusion, drop your MS CRM fields on the form, publish the form on your website using iFrame, and you are through.


Salesfusion provides an iFrame script for every form that you create; iFrames are one way to feature a dialog on your website. This script pushes the data into Salesfusion, from where the data is further pushed into CRM as leads.

It doesn’t end here. You can further do:
1. Bulk, Drip and Trigger-based email campaigns
2. Lead nurturing without making use of CRM workflows
3. Lead scoring and routing
4. Website visitor tracking
5. Social media marketing
6. ROI tracking of your marketing activities.


Salesfusion works with both on-premise and online models of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

CRM Dynamics is a great platform to build CRM solutions for small business to the enterprise organization. However, to enhance the platform, add-ons from different partners provide a great way to improve the user experience and improve productivity.

Windows Azure Benefits – Business prospective

Reason to move from a traditional hosting environment/on-premise to a cloud-based platform like Windows Azure.

Main 3 reasons which can help to understand the benefits of Windows Azure over On-Premise infrastructure as the business perspective.

a)    Cost – Pay for exactly what you need.

=> The cost of cloud computing varies based on implementation, workload, and usage.

There are no absolutes in hosting costs, but in general, the rich flexibility in resource sizing that Azure allows for (in terms of both size and number of computing resources) helps to ensure that you pay for exactly what you need, rather than paying for resources you don’t need in a co-located or traditional hosting situation.

=> There are hidden savings to hosting in the cloud as well.

For example, in comparison to hosting on-premise,

· Avoid manpower costs associated with staff to manage and maintain your infrastructure.
· Even if you’re already using a traditional hosting arrangement you’ll likely save work (and costs) since you avoid the remote maintenance tasks that are typically associated with keeping your systems up, patched and running).
· Supply-side economies of scale, such as geolocating data centers where power is plentiful and cheap, allow companies like Microsoft to offer these services at extremely low rates.
· Additionally, demand-side aggregation, which mixes in your utilization side by side with other customers, and multi-tenancy efficiencies, which help to reduce overall management costs, all help to push cloud computing costs down.

b)   Focus
=> Issue of focus:

·   What business are they in, and what sort of tasks do they want to work on to drive their business forward?
·   Typically, these folks aren’t in the hosting or IT business. A cloud hosting solution allows you to minimize the resources you need to expend in maintaining your technical infrastructures and take back that time to work on business objectives that drive their business forward.
·   A cloud story like Azure lets someone else procure hardware and operating systems and make sure that they are properly maintained and patched.
·   Also note that resourcing flexibility adds up to business agility, a key to keeping your business moving forward.

=> It’s simple, really.

·   Speed (of innovation, of time to market, of competitive response) is a key differentiator between businesses that thrive and those that don’t.
·   Cloud computing is a key ingredient of future “fast” companies.
·   Finally, wouldn’t you rather focus on what you like to do, versus have to do?

For example.

=>  For a developer, it is about the code, not the security patch;
=> For DBAs can focus on tuning a data solution, not standing up a database server;
=>  IT Pros work on getting a business enabling strategy implemented, and not about another OS update.

In all of these cases, “cloud” lets you focus on the career you signed up to undertake.

c)    Capabilities

=>  Finally, there are multiple capabilities that a cloud service like Azure can provide that are unavailable with on-premise or traditional hosting.

Maybe you have lots of data to store and distribute – Azure blob storage combined with CDN capabilities bring you to fault tolerance, and distributed performance, not to mention geo-replication of your data at two data centers hundreds of miles apart to give you peace of mind at no extra cost.

=>  Another cloud capability that’s impossible to duplicate in a non-virtual environment is dynamic capacity.
Cloud services like Azure allow you to grab extra capacity when you need it.

For example, in the holiday season your business is high then you can manage for more resources, and once the business goes regularly you can release resources so you don’t have to pay for it when you don’t.

=>  On the other hand, with a self-hosted or traditional hosting arrangement, you need to pay for the maximum capacity you’ll use at any point in time in order to ensure that it’s available when you need it.

For example, if you need 10 physical servers worth of capacity from Thanksgiving until the new year, but only 2 physical servers the rest of the year, you’ll need to pay for 10 physical servers and waste 80% of their capacity for most of the year.

With a dynamically scalable cloud solution like Azure, you can turn on and off capacity in very short order, with zero lead time.

Top Business Benefits and Reasons Behind Upgrading to Microsoft SharePoint 2013

As Microsoft SharePoint websites are used to store vital information and processes, it’s extremely important that upgrades to your sites and service are swift and effortless yet preserving the original content and structure of your site. We’ll all agree that everyone either upgrades or move away from the platform.

Hence let’s talk about why businesses are accelerating their upgrades or where (in terms of workload) they are considering an ‘early’ upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 (from Microsoft SharePoint 2007 / SharePoint 2010). It’s pretty important to understand that why do people upgrade and, it’s worth noting why the IT team have to think about upgrading their technology.

  • Upgrades provide multiple ways to do things in a more efficient way supporting the increasing demand on IT.
  • It’s difficult to maintain old versions of a technology like Microsoft SharePoint. There is a scarcity of resources who have experience or knowledge of Microsoft SharePoint 2003 as
       there were less Microsoft SharePoint experts back then and
       Experienced professionals wanted to work with the latest versions.
  • Often Microsoft SharePoint upgrades provide increased support for standards or newer technologies like improved browser support, device support, and windows/office integration can support related upgrades or the growing needs that result from new technologies in the workplace.
  • Due to excess of options and increasing expectations for technology user experience and ease of use, IT needs to be more responsive and should speed up upgrade cycles internally to indicate they have competitive offerings and usability. This is also needed as leaders within organizations do tend to buy into SAAS.
  • In multi-device environments, there is increased pressure for IT to provide support and options which was not supported or considered earlier in the past.

To understand why people are planning to upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013, here are some of the Business Benefits and Reasons for Microsoft SharePoint 2013 upgrades are listed as under:

  • End User enhancements – better Productivity & User Adoption
    The substantial enhancements done in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 are those that don’t require profound technical understanding to see the value of it. In case of some organizations enhancements like easier drag and drop, simpler sharing of content and general UI improvements may be a strong driver (due to increase in user adoption and productivity) for encouraging a partial upgrade of generalized team sites or content.Beyond these basic end-user enhancements, below is a list of points which can be a strong motivation to upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 farm.

       Easier sharing and permissions management for websites.

       Cross site collection roll ups and less site collection boundaries.

       Enhanced Task management and instinctive (yet configurable) task rollup and aggregation (across Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange etc.).

       Themes and a more accessible design experience for many developers or end users.

       Embedded and intuitive social capabilities.

  • Improved Search Experience & Engine
    It’s good to see the effort Microsoft has done incorporating FAST and BING capabilities in a way that makes sense. This new search fundamental makes it so much easier to use the out of the box search experience from an end-user perspective. Below is a couple of points (not a complete list) WRT why the new Search is better and enhanced capability set.   The feature that allows you to see (as you type your search – or after you search and are reviewing the results) what you have searched for and selected previously is such a simple yet impactful feature. For recall scenarios, it will have a significant positive impact. Content by search allows a user very easily build the query they want and see the results as they build it.

       Much faster crawl of new or changed content (due to continuous crawling and general performance enhancements) makes sure that results are up to date and relevant.

       Many minor enhancements to the experience such as File Type identifiers on the left of search results, native PDF support on indexing, and a much more developer accessible HTML/JavaScript model of changing how search results display.

  • Other Enhancements & Benefits   Technical benefits typically motivate upgrades only when there is a clear cost benefit. An organization may be able to predict considerable storage savings and performance improvements based on shredded storage improved caching, and improved control/flexibility at a site collection level (for organizations that have distribution model based on site collection access rights/controls). Based on technical changes or factors like this, the organization may be able to provide reasoning and benefits for upgrading that reduce technical limitations, or provide IT cost savings.

       It’s much easier to extend comparable to many social enterprise tools. Though there will still be a need for third-party improvements on top of the improved Microsoft SharePoint 2013 model, even without these tools it supplies a fairly complete social experience out of the box. When you add up the new enhancements, the richer feature set and improved capability can stand on its own as a reason to upgrade for some organizations.

       New Document Set features may be important if you are heavily leveraging this feature.

       Organizations looking out for multilingual support may find the improvements to variations and automatic translation to be a driver for upgrading.

       Metadata navigation, image renditions, clean URLs, and other WCM improvements may be extremely important for your public facing website or publishing based intranet site.

  • Enhanced mobile browser experience For some companies this may be a deciding factor to upgrade. For smartphone mobile devices, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Preview provides a lightweight, contemporary view browsing experience for users to navigate and access document libraries, lists, wikis, and Web Parts.   Classic View: This view renders in HTML format, or similar markup languages (CHTML, WML, and so on), and provides backward compatibility for mobile browsers that cannot render in the new contemporary view

       Contemporary view: This view offers an optimized mobile browser experience to users and renders in HTML5. This view is available to Mobile Internet Explorer version 9.0 or later versions for Windows Phone 7.5, Safari version 4.0 or later versions for iPhone 4.0, and the Android browser for Android 4.0.

About risks, well it’s true that there are risks involved around cost when you don’t upgrade. While these aren’t often the primary drivers they can still motivate upgrades. A few examples of these potential costs are:

  • It costs more to upgrade from Microsoft SharePoint 2007 to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 than it does from Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to Microsoft SharePoint 2013.
  • Integration scenarios and third-party product availability may vary based on the versions of your Microsoft SharePoint implementation.
  • Moving from Microsoft SharePoint 2013 to Office 365 will be pretty easier than moving from other versions of Microsoft SharePoint to Office 365.
  • The amount of content in your organizations is always growing and storage becomes more challenging to coordinate, control, and manage over time. With the new versions of the product and the underlying storage technologies (like SQL), new features enable scalability, performance, and flexibility (thanks to shredded storage).
  • Some web-based systems require certain browsers or browser compatibility that can be costly or challenging to maintain over time when they are not upgraded.
  • When you skip a version or two it results in even more significant changes for the end user experience and can be more challenging to train (at all levels) and deal with the change management involved.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Deployment Strategy

“How to keep our Microsoft SharePoint Development, Test, UAT and Production environments in sync, especially our Microsoft SharePoint Production and UAT as we really need to verify everything is working?” This question can be answered by good SharePoint Governance and a few basic things stated as under:

There are the host of tools to help people out in this regard. One of the options can be Content Deployment paths which are useful at publishing new features and promoting up. It’s important to remember though that content Deployment paths are one way however, they don’t sync backward and forwards. They also don’t do anything about what lies outside of the Site Collection (features to be installed at the Web Application Level, Server changes etc.). You will need to closely manage content deployment and have a sharp eye for setting things up.

Ideally, this is how a corporate SharePoint environment is managed:

  • SharePoint developers, designers, authors, etc. set up their work on their own development servers to perform the assigned work on the same.
  • Once a new feature which they have built is ready for quality control after passing all its unit tests, the person in charge of the feature creates a content deployment job and then deploys the same to the test environment.
  • A test is a kind of “merging” environment where all developers gather from their development SharePoint environments and see how their features work once integrated with each other, and get an idea of how production is going to handle the new feature.
  • At this level, all unit tests must pass now to promote to test environment now and other tests such as load testing and full integration testing are done here.
  • If the quality control team gives it a go ahead, there is a need to double-check whether production and UAT are in sync.
  • It’s a good practice to run a deployment path down from production to UAT before uploading the new code via content deployment path from a test environment. The idea here is to get the UAT environment looking precisely like of production and continue testing the feature on the same.
  • Once “QC OK” on UAT, the feature is then deployed on the production environment. Again, one test cycle is performed on production environment by the Quality Control team (but if all goes well this should be a formality).

This works well at the SharePoint Site Collection level and below, but for features that exist at the farm, web application or whole server levels you will need to think about below procedure of,

  • Develop the code and perform unit tests
  • Quality Control performing rounds of Testing.
  • Refresh the pilot environment from the Production environment
  • Quality Control performing Test on pilot or UAT environment
  • Deployment of code from UAT environment to production environment.

The approach is to standardize the deployment procedure. In order to do the needful, people can have a few options:

  • SharePoint “.WSP” files are portable from an environment to environment and can be deployed in a similar process as a content deployment path. They can also deploy more things such as Farm and Web Application scoped features, Assemblies, etc.
  • In case of installation of a third-party tool (Microsoft SharePoint or otherwise), people will need to consider the use of an automated installer (if possible). At a minimum, people will have to make sure the installation on each environment is thoroughly documented (must!!)
  • In the case of Manual Server Change on the SharePoint servers, again it needs to be documented, especially in the production environment. What is helpful at the production level is a “peer system” one person doing, and another person taking notes of what was done or attempted, then printing up the report.

Another good option to ensure consistency is the Virtual Machine snapshot (it’s a point in time version of a virtual machine) feature. As a best practice, people can take a snapshot before any server change in production.