Upgrading a multi-server SharePoint farm from Standard to Enterprise – lessons learned

While I’ve done a lot of things in the SharePoint world, one thing I had done less than a handful of times was upgrade from a Standard CAL to an Enterprise CAL. Today I had to do it again, and I was fully prepared for an easy copy/paste operation with coffee mug in hand. Boy did I underestimate the power of SharePoint. πŸ™‚

It had been a while since I had last upgraded the SKU of a SharePoint farm, so clearly I was overconfident and deserved a bit of a challenge.

The issue I had was this:

An error occurred while enabling Enterprise features. Refer to the event logs on your server machines for more details.

If you’re still reading this I’m assuming you have the same vague error message. I won’t post all of the log traces here, but suffice to say this issue was pretty well documented on the interwebs.

To make a long story short, I had a multi-server farm with a WFE and an APP server (as well as backend SQL). When I would run the GUI wizard to update the license key, it would take several minutes and would ultimately fail. After scouring through the logs, I was no further along as I was unable to find anything specific that would help me out. I located a TechNet thread that suggested the following:

  1. Stop the Timer Service on all machines in the farm except for 1, in my case I left it running on the APP server.
  2. Add the new product key and hit OK to start the SKU upgrade process in the Central Admin GUI.
  3. Watch the event log of the APP server and wait for an entry with a source of “SharePoint 2010 Products Configuration Wizard” which will inform you that it was Successful.
  4. Start the Timer Service on the next machine in the farm.
  5. Watch the event log and wait again for the successful entry…
  6. Continue with steps 4-5 on all additional servers in the farm.
  7. Once you’ve received all successful entries in your event logs, a minute or so later you should get a successful notification in the GUI for the SKU upgrade.

Hopefully this information will help someone else…



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