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Sitecore regularly provides new releases for Sitecore Commerce and Upgrade Guides. As far as I can see, if you need to upgrade XC 9 Initial Release to the latest version, you need to upgrade Commerce Engine and Sitecore from version to version.

You can't skip migration to Update-2 (for example) if you want to migrate to Update-3. Of course, it will take a lot of time to upgrade environments and will affect the project budget.

I think, that instead of upgrading step by step, it is better to choose another way and setup latest version from scratch and migrate content and possibly analytics data. Сontent migration will be the most time consuming, yet relatively simple. After that, you can just switch production to new servers.

My question is:

What is the best way to upgrade Sitecore Commerce to the latest version, in your opinion?

Bonus questions:

Are there any license limitations to run 2 Commerce instances simultaneously during an upgrade? Is there support for Commerce xDB data migration available in xDB migration Tool?

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I guess nobody wants to weigh-in on this one, so I'll share my thoughts based on various Sitecore 8 and 9 Commerce . . . a few that have gone through "migrations" of one degree or another. Maybe I've been burned too much by older Sitecore upgrades, but I generally wouldn't bother with in-place upgrades with Commerce as the dependencies are too complex. Have you seen the xConnect upgrade steps from 9.0 update-0 to 9.0 update-2, for example? Check pages 35-50 of the Upgrade-Guide-Sitecore-90-Update-2 to see what I'm talking about. Sitecore's done a great job with the core CMS functionality and upgrades, it's like 20 minutes of work, but the newer additions to the Sitecore ecosystem like xConnect and Commerce are second-class citizens when it comes to attention paid to making smooth upgrades.

I'd stand-up a fresh install of the Sitecore + Commerce version you want to move to, update your Visual Studio assemblies to match the new version and re-compile your solution, and cross your fingers. Maybe you need the upgrade tooling to process your content items and get them massaged into the updated SQL Server schema of the new version, so you should review the documentation carefully around that, but the general idea is you want to shift into a brand new environment running the fresh/new Sitecore product as much as possible. Coercing an older version of all the moving parts into an upgraded version is asking for trouble. The odds of missing one fine detail or two of the documented upgrade process, or something being insufficiently documented that your specific implementation hinges on, are too high in my opinion.

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