A key part of our course is the practical work that attendees will carry out in the form of Hands on exercises that reinforce the theory. Building a course load is therefore an important part of the course development process. In many ways we face the same decisions that production SharePoint administrators face when considering how to upgrade from their existing version to a new version of the software. Admittedly we haven’t got terabytes of data to contend with so the implications of our decision are much less critical but still important.
SharePoint 2010 runs only in a 64 bit environment. For production this means Windows Server 2008 (including R2) x64. The SQL server database used must also be either SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2005 with Service Pack 3. Current memory requirements are 4Gb Ram for Microsoft SharePoint Foundation and 8Gb Ram for SharePoint Server. These are estimates based on the beta code. However we can see that these requirements have gone up since 2007. Ensuring you have enough memory, Disk space and processor power will be among the initial considerations for planning your upgrade. In our case we run our course loads within virtual machines so extra memory needs to be available on the physical hardware for use by the Host and Guest operating systems.
When SharePoint 2010 is released much debug code will be removed and production code will be optimised which may reduce some of the resource requirements. Part of our process is to deliver the course as a pilot before the final public release. This will give us an opportunity to monitor the resource requirements chosen and see how they hold up during the practical sessions of the course.
If we were creating an upgrade of our SharePoint 2007 course we may have tried to upgrade the existing course server. This uses a 32 bit version of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007. There is however no direct upgrade path from the 32 bit version to the 64 bit version of SharePoint 2010. It is possible to take a content database from a WSS 3.0/ moss 2007 environment and attach it to a new SharePoint Foundation / SharePoint server installation. This will cause the database to be upgraded to the format of the new version of SharePoint. For some of you this will be a good option to take. As we are creating a brand new course we have the luxury of starting with a clean install and then create all new content.
Another interesting new option for developers and/or trainers is that of being able to install either product directly onto 64 bit versions of Vista or Windows 7. Instructions can be found here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869(office.14).aspx
In practice for many companies the upgrade process will be large and complex. A key thing is to understand where you are coming from i.e. what features you are currently using and where you are going to – which features you will need. Once you know this then you can plan the upgrade project in more detail. Our new course will aim to make you aware of several key new features which will hopefully help in this process.
A great blog site for learning about the install and upgrade process is http://blogs.msdn.com/opal/archive/2009/11/16/installation-notice-for-sharepoint-2010-public-beta.aspx
For our setup we are keen to utilise SharePoint’s collaborative features and so we will use a central class Server that enables all attendees to actually work in a collaborative environment during the course. It also allows us to investigate options for how we should secure our data from different groups of users. It’s always nice to be able to try these things out in a safe training environment and then transfer this knowledge back to the workplace. Hopefully you will come along and try this yourselves.