When upgrading from an older version of DNN such as 4.0 and even 5.0 in some cases it might make the most sense to export the site content and modules and import into a "clean" installation instead of running an "in-place" upgrade. This process typically works well for sites with a low number of pages or custom modules/legacy integrations. Should there be a significant number of custom modules or legacy integrations this option may be prohibitive. Many times our team would then recommend "removing" legacy files left behind from previous DNN versions that create dependencies, issues and other problems within the newer DNN versions. With newer versions of DNN the upgrade processes isn't as intensive and usually goes much faster - specifically DNN 6.0 or 7.0+ tend to be quicker upgrades to the latest DNN Evoq versions.
2. How many pages are within the site?
Clarity recommends running a site map utility or simply visiting your site map page of your DNN site by visiting the /sitemap.aspx page on your site. There are also great free site map utilities you can find by simply typing "free site map tool" on your favorite search engine.
3. How many custom modules are there?
Most DNN sites have free or purchased modules and possibly custom DNN modules . It's important to identify how many custom modules there are and what version number these are so you might identify what the upgrade process needs to incorporate with regards to .Net versions or other DLLs that need to be included in the upgrade process.
4. What is the list of modules (both custom and core) in use
In order to get a list of module version number, as well as not just custom but also core modules and if they are actually in use on the site or not you can visit the site Extensions page -> Host >> Extensions. This is useful because it gives any potential development team members a clear list of modules in use as well as custom vs. core so they can research any dependency issues or eliminate modules from the list that aren't actually in use. It's effectively helping inventory the situation accurately.
5. What is the current hosting environment?
What operating system and service patch is the system at? What version and revision number of SQL server is there in the production and development/staging environment(s). What version(s) of .Net? What version of IIS version? Is the hosting environment on a Virtual Machine that can be replicated from production into a development environment easily? Is your team planning to upgrade versions for any of the above?
6. Is there a design upgrade expected.
7. What legacy systems are integrated to the existing site?
Legacy systems breaking are a common source of frustration during DNN upgrades, certified partners can help
Another huge area overlooked by potential upgrades is what legacy systems they have integrated into your current DNN implementation. It can't be guaranteed that your legacy systems will continue to function normally with a new version of DNN. Or even worse, they may appear to function normally, while creating problems on your back-end.
8. What is your timeline and budget for the upgrade?
Unlike updating most programs, upgrading your content management system isn't done with a click of the 'upgrade' button. You have to account for all the steps here and the problems that might arise after the upgrade. This can very quickly increase the time necessary to complete the upgrade. While a small site with zero custom modules and integrations can only take a couple hours, a typical eCommerce site can take a week or more depending on other items on this list to upgrade their DNN version. When you really start to look at the potential downtime of your entire site and it's integrated systems, it can be advantageous to bring in a third party specializing in DNN implementation to help with the upgrade.
9. Have you reviewed Enterprise and Pro versions as well as Social in case the benefits will help?
Depending on how long you've had your DNN implementation, your needs may have changed. You'll want to revisit the benefits of Enterprise, advanced content approval processes, granular permissions, file integrity checking, web server farm support, health monitoring UI customization, page and module caching are just a few; and Pro, which has all the same functionality as Enterprise, except Enterprise features a SharePoint connector, content staging, and additional support options. If these features are potentially beneficial to your company, again you may want to look to a DNN Gold Partner to help you upgrade both your version as well as your platform
If any of this seems daunting, or you realized in step 8 or 9 that you want to bring on a DNN Gold Partner to help with the upgrade, contact Clarity today for a free quote.
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