Preparing your people, processes and systems for SharePoint 2013

There will no doubt be countless blogs, articles and rants about preparing for SharePoint 2013.  I’m doing my own because, well, I need to store stuff as I come across it somewhere.  But if I can contribute in any way or with a different approach, I might as well give back to the community as well.

So here goes…

Note: SharePoint 2013 is not out yet.  It is in Customer Preview (early beta).  I am NOT suggesting you upgrade to SharePoint 2013 at this writing (8/9/2013) but rather, I’m going to provide thoughts, suggestions, etc. for helping you start thinking about the process involved and maybe knock off a few obstacles that can be accomplished now.

Also, this information is subject to change when/if Microsoft decides to change their mind. And, this post is likely far from complete so I’ll endeavour to update it as we go here.

Change Log

  • Version 1 – First publish of post, 8/9/2012.



Preparing Your People

Some stuff is being retired and/or ‘deprecated’ (given the long kiss goodbye, so get used to it).  Its time to start thinking about other ways to approach the following and/or transition existing implementations of these features to other elements:

  • RIP SharePoint Workspace.  New in 2010 but really an upgrade/rewrite to the product formerly known as Groove, Microsoft is indicating the product won’t be continued and in fact has not shown up in the Office beta at this time which is also pretty telling (“SharePoint Workspace is being removed from the Office Product Base”). My understanding is “Folder Sync” and “Sky Drive” is where you will want to focus your attention now. Reference:
  • RIP Document and Meeting Workspace Templates.  While I can still “send a document to a document workspace” in a library, the Document and Meeting Workspace templates are not going to be available templates in 2013.  I won’t miss them as they provided grief with branding and portions of their functionality never were really upgraded from 2007.  Time to get used to the idea.  Reference:
  • Internet Explorer 7.  Good Riddance.  But we have a number of clients trying to make it work (and brand SharePoint to it) still today.  Nice to have a big, heavy handed “give it up mate” to refer them to.  They are already letting the Office 365 client base know about it too.  Recommendation: Move to Internet Explorer 9 (skip 8) or do that Firefox or Chrome thang (though as always, some elements behave, urm, differently).  Reference: Plan Browser Support in SharePoint 2013 –
  • Time to accept that Ribbon.  Office 2003 is just not going to cut it (not that it did per se in 2007 and 2010). The minimum recommended ‘best experience’ for SharePoint 2013 is Office 2010 or better (yep even 2007, the first incarnation of the Ribbon, is now fallen out of favour – heck we have more customers using Office 2003 and 2010, than we do/did Office 2007.


Preparing Your Processes

  • Implement Good Governance.  Nothing new here but it is still something that should be incorporated into your methodologies to ensure success with SharePoint. If you didn’t do it last time, start thinking about it this time, now.
  • Implement Good Taxonomy.  See Governance. Winking smile
  • Drop the term WFE (Web Front End) and APP Servers (Application).  They are “SharePoint Servers” and you move the roles and service applications around based on load and suitability. So avoid using the acronym WFE or APP in your server names, they might not always hold that role.  I.e. an APP Server can also be a WFE and vice versa, so just drop the charade instead. Service Applications run on SharePoint Servers, users connect (via DNS) to Web Servers.
  • Get the business to take Ownership of SharePoint. Because, SharePoint is a framework, not just another tool.

SharePoint is not just another tool, it is a framework

Figure: SharePoint is not just another tool, it is a framework

Preparing Your Systems

The good news here is the minimum requirements for SharePoint 2013 from a physical/virtual perspective are pretty much unchanged.  Same base RAM, CPU and Disk give or take.  But this time, ask your IT department to give you what you ask for. Don’t get bullied by VMware Admins that say they will give you more resources when they see you need it in their reporting. They won’t see it because they are looking in the wrong place.  Ask instead for more and offer to give back what you don’t end up using.  However, base Server and SQL OS Requirements have changed a little (no SQL 2005 for example and no Windows Server 2008 64bit – needs to be at least R2).  Refer here for the goods though, as SMB’s will need a beefier box if they are planning to combine everything into one server, gasp! –

  • Minimum Windows Server OS – Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1. Reference:
    • So along with this, if you have Client Access Licenses for Windows Server 2003 or 2008, you’ll need to upgrade to 2008 R2 CAL’s as part of the upgrade as well, unless some other project takes care of that for you Winking smile
  • Minimum SQL Server – SQL Server 2008 R2 with SP1.  Reference:
    • So along with this, if you have Client Access Licenses for SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008, you’ll need to upgrade to 2008 or 2012 R2 CAL’s as part of the upgrade as well, unless some other project takes care of that for you Winking smile. Note, if you have licensed your SQL Servers for CORE/CPU, you can ignore this note.
  • Migrate your Web Applications to Claims Authentication – SharePoint 2013 will only let you create a Classic Authentication web application using PowerShell and that’s because they are eager to start transitioning folks to using Claims no doubt.  Claims also “looks different” so get your users ready for that if they aren’t already.  See “friends don’t let friends use Claims Authentication” (tongue in cheek of course).
  • Upgrading will be different this time.  Ok first off, there is no in place upgrade (much like there shouldn’t have been last time). Visual Upgrade is gone and replaced by what looks to be a much better approach; Deferred Site Collection Upgrade.  Reference:


3rd Party Product Retirements

  • Nintex Analytics (not to be confused with Workflow which will most definitely rock on) will no longer be on the Nintex roadmap. I imagine this has a lot to do with the fact that Web Analytics in SharePoint 2013 will be moved into the Search Service Application and fundamentally will be rewritten, etc. and probably will come with more juicy bits out of the box. In short, there will be no Nintex Analytics 2013 version. It ends with Nintex Analytics 2010 (though it will be supported through 2015).

Other Random Gibberish

The following are items that just didn’t really fit anywhere else…

  • SharePoint Designer (get over the following points, the products are FREE!) Winking smile:
    • SharePoint Designer 2007 only interoperates with WSS 3.0/MOSS 2007
    • SharePoint Designer 2010 only interoperates with SharePoint 2010
    • SharePoint Designer 2013 plays with both 2010 and 2013

Key References

2 responses to “Preparing your people, processes and systems for SharePoint 2013

  1. Great article Sean. And … absolutely spot on about not being “bullied” by VMWare Admins. So frustrating to deal with when they think you’re just being greedy asking for the minimum RAM and CPU.

  2. I have installed SharePoint Designer 2013 to work with a SharePoint 2010 site collection because it is now supported. But when I open this site collection, I get error “Microsoft SharePoint Designer can’t be use to modify web sites that use a different version of sharepoint …”
    Is there something wrong on my station ?

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