Tuesday, February 08, 2011

SSRS 2005 to SSRS 2008 R2 Migration Strategy , SSIS 2005 to SSIS 2008 R2 Migration Strategy, SSAS 2005 to SSAS 2008 R2 Migration Strategy

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Product edition upgrade and migration of solution artifacts from lower to higher edition is quite a challenge and needs careful planning. The more experience you have on different migrations, the more you would have anticipation of possible problems for migration. However deep may be one's experience, data and platform migration is one such area where one can always expect surprises. Everyone has a first time, and in migration you would want to be sure that you have all the supporting tools and some higher level strategy in mind to design your migration. Below are some guidelines which I had found useful in my career experiences.

1) Firstly collect all the tools, at least freewares that can help you in your migration analysis. SQL Server 2008 R2 ships with SQL Server Upgrade Advisor, which can be the best starting point. This tool is also a part of the SQL Server 2008 R2 Features Pack. You can learn more about the same from
here. This tool covers all areas, right from database engine till SSAS.

2) When you start your design, you would have to make a clear distinction between whether you want to perform an in-place upgrade or create a new instance -> deploy solution on the new instance -> ensure synchronization between old and new instance -> abandon old instance. Check out this
article for some more info.

3) You should keep in view where you plan to do the upgrade, i.e. on the same box, in the same domain, or across different servers and different domains. This would throw up the challenge of security configuration.

4) Environment configuration needs to be planned for each service separately. For example, SSIS packages can be expected to use configuration settings from different sources like environment variables, configuration files, database and other sources. SSRS configuration might reside in config files for reports server as well as reports manager. Virtualization is the key factor is testing all such scenarios.

5) Finally the biggest risk factor needs to be calculated, i.e. identifying the right sampling to test on the targeted edition. SQL Server 2005 came with it's first mature BI offering. Several components of different services have undergone architectural changes, several features are discontinued, several features have behavioral changes and several features are guaranteed to break when migrating from lower to higher editions.

Deprecated Features in SQL Server Reporting Services
b) Discontinued Functionality in SQL Server Reporting Services
c) Breaking Changes in SQL Server Reporting Services
d) Behavior Changes in SQL Server Reporting Services

I prefer creating out a consolidated list of these features. Then all the reports should be analysed to check if any reports have used these features, which would mean that these reports qualify to be considered as a sample to test on the targeted edition. This sampling exercise would not only generate right size of samples to test, but also the same sample would act as the Acceptance Testing Procedure.

Generally production environments are handled by operations team, and they remain in charge of migration too. Development teams need to confirm whether migration was successful and works as expected. The successful functioning of sampling identified from the above exercise would act as the Acceptance Testing routine, which is a contract that needs to be agreed between development and operations team in advance before migration is performed. Keep in view, that this exercise needs to be performed for each service individually - DB Engine, SSIS, SSAS and SSRS.

It's a very brief list, but these points can at least help you align your strategy in some direction when you are totally blank on how you would plan your migration. If you have better tips that can add value to this post, please feel free to share your comments.

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