Deploying and Upgrading to Project Server 2010

These are some notes from a helpful session today at the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas delivered by Christophe Fiessinger and Jan Kalis from the Microsoft Project Server team.  The notes are as organized as I can make them while I’m sitting here in the room, but they will of course not be as polished as I’d like them to be.  I’ve decided to err on the side of more information – less polish.

What exactly is Project Server 2010, anyway?  To put it as simply as possible, it is meant to provide project and portfolio management on a large scale.  That means collaboration, schedule and resource management, and reporting.

We got some good news and some bad news.  Project Server now requires the full version of SharePoint 2010, not just the free Foundation product.  However, out of the box, the Project 2010 Professional client program can sync with any SharePoint task list.  So, you may not always need Project Server to share and collaborate on projects and integrate with the full client.  Project Server includes the ribbon interface to simplify matters, and allows you to do much of the simple day-to-day entries and changes through the web interface.  The new enhancements in Excel Services, Performance Point Services, and other SharePoint reporting pieces provide excellent BI capabilities.

Project Server now functions as an add-on service application in SharePoint 2010.  There is therefore a lot of flexibility in farm topology, and it is now fully compatible with load-balancing and high-availability.  It no longer uses ActiveX, meaning you don’t have to touch desktops for upgrades and updates.

System Requirements:

  • Same as SharePoint 2010, plus
  • SharePoint 2010 Enterprise
  • Project Professional 2007 / 2010
  • Excel 2007 / 2010
  • IE 7 or 8 (other browsers not supported)
  • Exchange 2007 (optional, but server to server integration is now available)
  • Team Foundation Server 2010 (optional, but it is now integrated OOTB too)

Deployment Process

  1. OS / updates
  2. SQL Server / updates
  3. SharePoint Server 2010 (not included with Project Server anymore)
  4. Project Server 2010
  5. SharePoint Configuration Wizard and Farm Configuration Wizard
    (Minimum Service Applications:  Project Server, Excel Services, Performance Point Services, Secure Store Service, State Service (for charting))
  6. Central Admin Configuration
  7. Project Web Access Admin Configuration
    (Time reporting periods for time tracking, base security by roles, Cube Building Service, Exchange integration)

PowerShell is supported through the entire process.

Should SharePoint and Project be run in separate farms or separate?  Depends…

Together:

  • Server consolidation
  • Administration and maintenance
  • Leverage high availability and line of business integration
  • But, update testing is more complex
  • SharePoint Admins need more training
  • Additional licenses required if the farm is large (Project will require a license on every server in the farm)

Separate

  • Isolated update requirements
  • No dependency on intranet farm availability
  • Change management is simpler
  • Security isolation
  • Can still share a SQL server
  • But, additional administrative tasks
  • Duplicate governance

Capacity planning will not be terribly different than the 2007 version, although the new service applications that are available may affect the performance if you enable them all.

Upgrading

Do not skip the normal, boring analysis of your existing environment.  Project Server is complex and needs to be tested.

Project Server 2003 needs to be migrated via 2007, although it does not have to be brought all the way to production.

Project Portfolio Server 2006 / 2007 has 3 options:

  1. Map functionality, develop desired functionality on 2010, and then use the gateway to transfer the data.
  2. Finish existing projects in PPS 2007, and start new projects in 2010.
  3. Use side-by-side with Project Server 2010, syncing via the gateway.

Project Server 2007 is direct and streamlined OOTB, with two options:

  1. In-place Upgrade (remember 64-bit is required for SharePoint 2010, though)
  2. 4 or 5 Database Attach (the upgrade occurs during PWA provisioning)

Backward Compatibility Mode is automatically enabled in all cases after upgrade, which allows 2007 Project Pro SP2 clients to work seamlessly.  Project Pro 2003 or older clients are just out of luck.  Multiple client versions on the same PC are supported as long as they are not running at the same time.  Backward Compatibility Mode makes it possible to attack the server and client upgrades separately.  You should always do the server first, because the 2010 client will not work with the 2007 server product.  Once all clients are up to 2010, backward compatibility can be turned off so that full functionality becomes available.  Here’s what is suppressed in Backward Compatibility Mode:

  • Manually scheduled tasks are not available on the server or client
  • Tasks cannot be set to Inactive
  • Font strikethrough not available
  • All Departmental custom fields enforced on Project Professional 2007

The 2010 file format has changed, and older client versions will not be able to open the new files.  The only way to convert or use them is to download the Project Pro 2010 Trial product.  This is due to the fundamental changes the Manual Scheduling introduces into project plans.  Opening these files in prior versions would be confusing or misleading to 2007 users, even if a converter was provided.

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