Insight # 53 : Getting to the Future

TechTips: Preparing for Your Project Server 2013 Upgrade

by Eric Schyberg

Now that Microsoft Project Server 2013 has been available for several months, many organizations running the previous version of the enterprise project management platform have done their initial assessments and are looking to upgrade to the newer release.

To help you prepare for an upgrade of Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013, I'm sharing some technical requirements in this article for performing an on-premise deployment. For further information, you can click through the reference links I include throughout the text.


Project Server 2013 Works Hand in Hand with SharePoint 2013

If you're running SharePoint 2010, you can't do a direct upgrade. There is no mix-and-match. Project Server 2013 must be deployed to a SharePoint 2013 environment.

SharePoint and Project Server are still based on the classic three-tier architecture: Web › Application › Database. The base or minimum hardware and software required for a new SharePoint 2013 farm include:

  • All new hardware with increased RAM requirements (double the specs for 2010) for web and application servers. A typical small farm web or application server will need four CPU cores and 16 gigabytes of RAM.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2012.
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 or SQL Server 2012. An existing SQL Server can be used if it meets the minimum requirements; a typical small SQL Server will have eight CPU cores and 32 gigabytes of RAM.
  • SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise.
  • Project Server 2013.

Native - Not Backward - Compatibility Mode

When you upgrade your Project Server 2010 databases to Project Server 2013, those Project Server 2010 databases must be in native mode (not backward compatibility mode). If your Project Server 2010 databases are in backward compatibility mode (BCM) when you upgrade, you may experience some problems with your sites after upgrade (for example, missing pages). Why? BCM isn't supported in Project Server 2013. In addition, if you turn off BCM in Project Server 2010 in order to meet this upgrade requirement, you must also check out, open, and save the Enterprise Global Template file in Project Professional 2010 and then check the file back in. From there, you can create backup copies of your Project Server 2010 databases in order to undertake the upgrade to 2013.

Sort Out Your Customizations

Before your upgrade, you're going to have to sort out all of the customizations that make up your Project 2010 implementation, including web parts, workflows, third-party applications, solutions, and other unique tweaks. This is required in order for you to be able to upgrade the SharePoint Project Web App (PWA) content database.

Some types of customizations won't have an impact during the upgrade. For example, customizations to visual aspects --- themes, custom CSS files, etc. - probably won't affect the database upgrade; however, they may need to be modified. On the other hand, data structure customizations can affect the database upgrade, especially in instances where content or list type names conflict with new content.

Before the PWA content database can be upgraded from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013, the source and destination farms must have equivalent installed components (as close as you can get them). The absence of these components can cause the upgrade to fail. Be sure a) that you need everything that's installed with SharePoint 2010; and b) that you can locate or acquire upgraded components compatible with SharePoint 2013. SharePoint 2010 versions of these components will most likely not be able to be installed into SharePoint 2013.

Reporting and Databases Changes

Project Server 2013 consolidates the four Project Server 2010 databases - Archive, Draft, Published, and Reporting - into a single database with four schemas. The logical elements of those four individual databases are retained, but they're now in one physical database structure. Database schemas logically separate the tables. The new schema structure is:

  • Draft tables: [draft]
  • Published tables: [pub]
  • Archive tables: [ver]
  • Reporting tables: [dbo]

With the changes in the database structure, the former ProjectServer_Reporting database schema will be [dbo]. This is the default schema, retained for use by the Reporting database in order to minimize the impact on queries. Clearly, new data source definitions will be required.

However, if any report reads data from a database other than the ProjectServer_Reporting database, then those reports will also require modifications.

Changes to User Programs

Project Server 2013 requires updates on the user side too, specifically to the desktop project management software, operating system, and browser installed:

  • Project Server 2013 can only be used with Project Professional 2013. There's no backwards compatibility mode as there was with Project Server 2010.
  • Also, note the minimum requirement of Windows 7 as the desktop operating system.
  • Finally, note the minimum requirement of Internet Explorer 8 or greater for browsing.

These are some important technical requirements to keep in mind as you prepare for an upgrade of Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013. Sound like a lot to manage? We find the use of a trusted partner who uses careful planning, proper enterprise project management practices, and exceptional execution to be a critical addition in any upgrade scenario!

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