My company (500-600 employees) has been using SharePoint 2010 for their intranet for a few years and my boss wants to completely refresh the intranet starting Jan 1st next year.

What exactly do I need to do? I've been told to checkout both SharePoint online and SharePoint 2013.

I am a developer and don't really do many installs for production systems. I normally do installs for myself - to build dev environments or something like that. I know there is documentation out there for installing and configuring SP - but there's just SO MUCH of it. Can anyone point me to some more minimalistic guides to get SP 2013 up and running? Also... and I don't know yet if this is going to be a requirement, but how different is setting up SP2013 going to be if I do or do not attempt to migrate existing data or do an "upgrade" or however it is said.

One other thing - I know there is an image on Azure in the VM gallery for SP 2013. Can I just do an install there and get a feel for it? Is that going to mimic a real world set up fairly well?

Hopefully this question isn't too broad. I'd just like to start a discussion and hopefully someone can say "start here ____"

2 Answers 2


In your scenario, i would do the following things.

  • first, i will get the requirement from the company, what they mean to refresh the it, they want brand new intranet portal( totally new looks, customization etc) or they just migrate it to new version. Also, if they need the extra functionality.

Now you have to make the decision between SharePoint online vs on prem.

On prem:

  • Give you more control on the environment, more features, more service applications.
  • But will cost money in term of License of OS, SharePoint, SQL server and also labor.
  • You are responsible for the upgrade and maintenance, troubleshoot the issue.
  • You can write the server side code etc.

SharePoint Online -Less feature as compare to the on prem. - But easy to manage, no need to worry about the maintenance, issue about the farm. MSFT will take care of it. - But you dont have access to back end

  • It will cost per user license per month.

Now you have both options and decide which path you want to go. Above is the idea.

For on prem, check this topology guide, it will tell you how many server you need.


You have two challenges facing you: Technical and Managerial. Managerial will be the tougher of the two.

The company has to be aware that something new is coming: SP2013, a new Intranet, a new look...whatever. And management has to govern this, announce it, and stand behind the decision to upgrade. Otherwise, you get "that techy guy is making changes again".

Developers aren't marketers and marketers aren't developers. This is to say that developers (or worse, managers) design a user interface that makes "logical sense", but is sometimes hard for end users to grasp. Marketing people have a good sense for color and design, but tend to come up with a user interface that doesn't take advantage of what SharePoint has to offer. Work jointly with marketing for home page, department pages, and team sites.

You mention the number of employees, but not the farm size. If your farm is small enough (or manageable enough), then stage up your 2013 site and recreate the site collections and team sites. Then purchase a migration tool (sharegate, avepoint) to migrate from 2010 to 2013. I don't like the method of simply detach, reattach the DB or pulling in sites as 2010. These sites tend to never upgrade to the 2013 standard (too busy, no need, etc).

This method has its challenges like "What do you call the domain name during transition?", "reestablishing security", etc.

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