SQL Server Upgrade Recommendations and Best Practices Part 1: Upgrade Overview and Project Planning

Upgrade Project Phases

In order to properly address the SQL Server 2000 Upgrade, it is necessary to setup a project plan with the necessary components for your environment. Below outlines a set of recommendations for the upgrade project plan. Can be further broken down with dates and time frames

Upgrade Project Phases1





Requirements Analysis

  • Setup a comprehensive Project Plan with tasks granular enough to assign to a single individual on the project

  • Hold a Kick-Off Meeting to properly start the project

  • Determine Upgrade Date and Time with the associated Downtime

  • Determine the Upgrade Freeze and Thaw Dates for Testing Purposes

  • Setup Roles and Responsibilities in order to establish Project Accountability

  • Submit a Change Management Request to notify key players in the corporation

  • Determine SQL Server Hardware Needs via Capacity Planning (disks, memory, processors, etc.)

  • Sign-Off – Requirements Analysis


Design and Development

  • Build an Upgrade Checklist to determine time frames and proposed processes to complete the Upgrade

  • Test the Upgrade Checklist and verify the results

  • Communicate the process to the team especially in terms of configurations

  • Sign-Off – Upgrade Methodology


Functional, Integration, End User and Load Testing

  • Setup a Test Environment to include the necessary SQL, Middle Tier and Web Servers as well as a Client PC; these machines should be configured as closely as possible to the Production Environment to ensure project success

  • Implement a Load Testing Tool

  • Build Test Plans for Functional, Integration, End User and Load Testing

  • Complete Functional, Integration, End User and Load Testing

  • Manage the Testing Exceptions until Completion for the Upgrade

  • Determine if Front End or T-SQL code must be applied prior to or following the upgrade in order to determine the code roll-out coordination

  • Update previously submitted Change Management request based on Testing results

  • Sign-Off – Testing


Production Hardware Setup

  • Server Assembly as well as Windows and SQL Server 2000 Installation

  • Configure, setup and burn-in the new hardware

  • Sign-Off – Production Hardware



  • GO | NO GO Meeting

  • Execute the Upgrade Checklist

  • Sign-Off SQL Server 2000 Upgrade

  • Monitor SQL Server Performance

  • Sign-Off – SQL Server 2000 Upgrade

Part 2 – Critical Upgrade Decisions and Redundant Upgrade Architecture

In the coming weeks, the next article in the series will detail the Critical Upgrade Decisions related to ANSI NULLS, Quoted Identifiers, etc as well as a valuable Redundant Upgrade Architecture for the project. These decisions can make or break the upgrade and require fore thought at the inception of the project. Further, find out how to prevent management’s biggest fear during systems upgrades with a redundant architecture. Be sure to check it out.


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