Lessons Learned from Poor Richard
According to Ben Franklin, in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes. For IT directors, and systems and support administrators who are responsible for Microsoft SharePoint Server technologies, add a third certainty—SharePoint 2007 Mainstream Support ends on October 9, 2012.
So, what is Mainstream Support, and what are your options?
Microsoft’s Mainstream Support for most server products runs in a 5 year cycle, providing critical updates including hot fixes, DST updates, and security updates. After this five year cycle, Microsoft offers an Extended Support package, available for purchase within 90 days after Mainstream Support ends. Mainstream Support dates are generally tied to the Service Pack or the product General Availability (GA) date of a Microsoft product. In the case of SharePoint 2007, the GA date governs: Mainstream Support ends on October 9, 2012, and you have until January 7, 2013 to sign up for Extended Support. Beyond that, it’s self-help—whatever you can find on your own. A breakdown of the support levels can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/#ServicePackSupport.
Hold on though, a penny saved is a penny earned. Before you lock in ongoing support for the 2007 version, now is the time to also consider your migration path to 2010 and 2013.
Diligence is the mother of good luck. An upgrade presents an excellent opportunity to clean house on applications that are seldom used, or clear out accounts or users that are no longer active. Plus, it offers the chance to consider new applications that can improve your operations (i.e., governance) and business processes (e.g., workflows). Plan your upgrade in detail and consider phasing aspects of the migration to include testing between iterations. Engage key business stakeholders throughout the process. It may be prudent to seek out advice and support from SharePoint professionals who have the experience with migrations across a variety of deployment scenarios.
Remember that little strokes fell great oaks. If you’re thinking about the jump from 2007 to 2013, consider this: as with the jump from 2003 to 2010, the pathway is through the interim release. Microsoft has defined a support plan for the upgrade from 2010 to SharePoint 2013 Preview, but no support is offered from 2007 to 2013. After a cutover to 2010, you gain breathing room. If SharePoint 2010’s Mainstream Support is your main concern, fear not, it continues until October of 2015. You do have longevity with this platform. An incremental upgrade from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 will ease your future upgrade to 2013.
The sleeping fox catches no poultry. Get started on your SharePoint 2007 support and upgrade decisions today, before it’s too late.
Joe Tordone is a Director of Sales for eBusiness Application Development with mindSHIFT Technologies. For more than 17 years, Joe has helped organizations define their business automation goals and implement appropriate technology solutions.
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