This article mainly focuses on upgrade strategies and considerations for the SQL Server 2012 database component. A smooth upgrade requires a good plan. When you devise an upgrade plan, you need to break down the upgrade process into individual tasks. This plan should have sections for pre-upgrade tasks, upgrade tasks, and post-upgrade tasks:
- Your pre-upgrade tasks consider SQL Server 2012 minimum hardware and software requirements. You should have an inventory of your applications that access the server, database-collation requirements, server dependencies, and legacy-systems requirements such as data-access methods. Your list should include database consistency checks and backup of all databases. Plans should be in place for testing the upgrade process and applications. You should have a thorough understanding of backward-compatibility issues and identify workarounds or fixes. You should also use the SQL Server 2012 Upgrade Advisor, as described later in this chapter, to assist in identifying and resolving these issues.
- The upgrade execution process is a smooth execution of your well-documented and rehearsed plan. To reiterate the importance of this step, ensure you make a backup of all the databases before you execute the upgrade process.
- Post-upgrade tasks consist of reviewing the upgrade process, bringing the systems back online, monitoring, and testing the system. You need to perform specific database maintenance before releasing the system to the user community. These and other recommended steps are outlined later in the chapter. Run your database in backward-compatibility mode after the upgrade to minimize the amount of change to your environment. Update the database-compatibility mode as part of a follow-up upgrade process and enable new SQL Server 2012 features.