October 13, 2015

This is the date Microsoft ends mainstream support for SharePoint 2010 and moves it into the extended support phase. After October 13, 2015 Microsoft will stop offering some of the support it has provided since SharePoint 2010 was released in 2009:

  1. Non-security hotfix support
  2. No-charge incident support
  3. Design changes and feature requests
  4. Warranty Claims

Non-security hotfix support

After October 13 Microsoft will only release security hotfixes and stop releasing other updates and enhancements including cumulative updates, public updates, and service packs. Customers with a Premier Support agreement have the option to enter into an extended hotfix agreement by January 11, 2016 (i.e. 90 days from October 13, 2015) which will allow them to receive non-security hotfixes. There is a cost associated with this agreement, customers can find out more from their Technical Account Manager.

No-charge incident support

All calls to Microsoft Support, including calls made by Microsoft Partners will be charged full price, even if the resolution would normally result in a no-charge incident when the product was under mainstream support.

For example, normally if a customer contacts Microsoft support with an issue whose root cause turns out to be related to a bug with the product, the support incident is not charged to the customer (i.e. from the customer's perspective it is free). After October 13, these types of calls will be billed at the customer's regular Microsoft Support rates.

Microsoft Partners are afforded a fixed number of support incidents each year that they use to help support customers. Like paid support options through Premier Support, some of these incidents are deemed to be no-charge incidents depending on the root cause of the issue. Once SharePoint 2010 goes into extended support all partner support incidents with the product will decrement their available number of remaining incidents no matter the root cause. If the partner no longer has any incidents left they will be charged for the call. This is important as partners may be less willing to take on new support work for an out-of-support product because they too will have trouble getting support.

Design changes

Microsoft will no longer accept feedback for changes to this specific version of the product. Microsoft is focusing it's design and engineering efforts on it's latest and future versions and won't consider overhauling legacy versions.

Warranty claims

Any claims a customer could make about defects with the product under the terms of their warranty will no longer be honoured after October 13.

In summary, this phasing out of support is part of every Microsoft product's lifecycle. As Microsoft improves and develops new versions of its software it focuses the effort of its development and support teams on these latest versions. If you're running SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint Server 2010 this doesn't mean the products no longer work or you can't use them, it just means you'll have less support options and the options that do remain may end up costing you more money.

Speaking as someone who spends a lot of their time working with SharePoint farms trying to figure out why something just isn't working, to me the first two support items — non-security hotfix support and no-charge incident support — are the items that concern me most. Knowing that a bug with the product won't be fixed, or that I could end up burning thousands of dollars and hours of time working with a Support Engineer to figure out an issue is something outside of my control doesn't sit right with me. If you own a SharePoint 2010 farm (or several SharePoint 2010 farms) you'll probably feel the same way about this reduction in support.

Don't Panic

So what should you do? Your best bet in the long-term is to upgrade before mainstream support ends as to take advantage of the current support options. Currently there are two choices, with a new choice appearing soon: SharePoint 2013, SharePoint Online, and later this year SharePoint 2016.

SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 is the latest version of on-premise SharePoint and is available as SharePoint Foundation 2013 for the core product and SharePoint Server 2013 that include the features and functionality most organizations running SharePoint require. SharePoint 2013 introduced new social and publishing features and it combines the entire SharePoint Search stack including the FAST product into a single service, making these search capabilities available for all SharePoint editions. As well there's a modern user interface that has been designed for use on different devices with different screen sizes.

To upgrade to SharePoint 2013, you'll first need to install and deploy SharePoint 2013 to new servers (either physical, or more commonly virtual machines) and then migrate the content using either the database attach upgrade method or third party tools. You can no longer perform an in-place upgrade. If you purchased Software Assurance when you bought SharePoint 2010 you should definitely upgrade to SharePoint 2013 soon since you've already paid for the licensing!

SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online is Microsoft's cloud-based SharePoint offering that is part of Office 365. SharePoint Online provides users with the latest SharePoint version and contains features that are not yet available — and in some cases not available at all — in the on-premise editions of SharePoint 2013.

One of the most appealing aspects of SharePoint Online is that there are no more upgrades. As the platform is managed by Microsoft you no longer need to budget, plan, implement or worry about upgrading SharePoint. You'll always have the latest and greatest features as Microsoft releases them and because with the Office 365 subscription model you pay per user, you don't need to become an expert in licensing to figure out your costs. You have 250 users? You need 250 subscriptions. Simple! Also, depending on your Office 365 subscription, you may be entitled to run SharePoint Server 2013 on-premise which is useful for workloads or data that require a local SharePoint instance.

There are no out of the box methods to migrate and upgrade to SharePoint Online. To move content from SharePoint 2010 to the cloud you'll need to manually upload everything or use a third party tool.

SharePoint 2016

SharePoint 2016 is coming soon and there are rumours floating around already that it may have the ability to upgrade directly from SharePoint 2010, skipping over SharePoint 2013 entirely. Assuming its release is before SharePoint 2010 leaves mainstream support and a direct upgrade is possible this would be an attractive option for organizations looking to get to the latest on-premise version without having to first upgrade to SharePoint 2013. For now we'll need to wait and see. Personally I feel that a direct upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016 would be a great feature in the product, though if it doesn't happen it's a safe bet that the partner community will have migration tools that will fit your upgrade needs.

So long SharePoint 2010...

October 13, 2015 is simply the next step towards the end of the SharePoint 2010 product and towards the future of collaboration and publishing. Whether you upgrade to a new version or migrate to the cloud know that Habanero has the expertise and experience to help you on your journey.