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We have what is effectively a Sitecore XM instance that's on version 8.current, due to MongoDB requirements of functionality that was part of XP, and that we weren't actively using XP components.

We're now looking at upgrading to Sitecore 9 and want to start taking advantage of XP functionality like analytics and xDB. However, I'm confused on how we can upgrade from XM to XP, especially given how Sitecore 9 has changed the installation process.

As I see it, we could either:

  1. try to determine how to add XP functionality to our Sitecore 8 instances (running into the issue of not having a MongoDB environment),
  2. or upgrade what we have to Sitecore 9 and figure out how to add XP functionality via the SIF tools.

Does Sitecore have a recommended way to essentially upgrade an instance from XM to XP?

Of note:

  • Outside of core CMS database (core, master, web dbs), we have no data that would need to transition. This also means that if we have any of the XP-related dbs, they are not necessarily current.
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    You have also third option :) Install and configure vanilla Sitecore 9 with xConnect so XP and then deploy your solution + content. You don't need to bother with Mongo DB in this case as there is no Mongo currently for Sitecore 9 :) – Peter Procházka Mar 21 '18 at 18:53
  • Yeah, we spent 3-4 partial days (spread out over weeks) trying to install a fresh Sitecore 9 instance and ran into Solr and SIF issues, despite looking at the community guides on SIF-less installs. But nonetheless a good idea for others who might be in the predicament! :) – James Skemp Mar 21 '18 at 19:59
  • Take a look on my series of blog posts about installing Sitecore 9. I have used them when I was installing Sitecore Commerce and I think you can have Sitecore 9 instance with xConnect spin up within 2-3 hours. Give it a try -> tothecore.sk/2018/02/06/installing-sitecore-9-0-1-series – Peter Procházka Mar 21 '18 at 20:08
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Their might be a difference whether you are upgrading from Sitecore 8.1/8.2 or 8.0 as the "upgrade" path is different (8.1/8.2 can be easily upgraded, older ones need more steps).

But either way, during the upgrade process you end up with a Sitecore 9 setup without xConnect. Your "site" is upgraded at that point (except for the post upgrade steps), and the upgrade guide for Sitecore 9.0-1 will actually refer to the install guide for xConnect on that point.

If you want to use the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) functionality, you must install and configure Sitecore xConnect. For more detailed information about installing xConnect — including deployment topologies — see the Sitecore Experience Platform 9.0 Update 1 Installation Guide.

So you could perfectly follow the normal upgrade instructions actually (option 2 in your question but without too much to figure out).

And as mentioned by chorpo you could even decide to just migrate the content yourself into a clean 9 solution. In that case there is no issue as you can install Sitecore as desired and move all your content. As you probably only have "content" in the solution and no marketing stuff yet, this could be a valid option. Just be aware that things like WFFM require some attention..

ps: just make sure your license is valid ;)

  • Funny, I almost made 'we have a license' a bullet item under the 'of note' section. :) We've run into ... difficulties using the SIF process in our environment, so I don't think we'd go with a fresh install, but will definitely try to understand the process to at least install xConnect. – James Skemp Mar 21 '18 at 19:51

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