In a previous article we looked at what motivates webMethods customers to upgrade and the possible technology choices for making the upgrade. The article lists some important updates new to 10.7 release in our centralized administration too, Command Central.
There are two new major highlights in the webMethods suite. The first change is that webMethods is back to one-year release cycles, which happen every October. The second change is the upgrade innovation in Command Central. While upgrades with Command Central were possible before, they required complex custom scripting in the form of Command Central infrastructure templates that could be triggered only via the command line interface. This technique worked well for customers with large-scale upgrades who could justify developing automation templates. For example, one customer upgraded 600+ servers from 9.12 to 10.3 using this approach and is now jumping to 10.7 using the same strategy.
We felt customers with smaller deployments (like 3-6 servers) needed a way to easily move to a newer version. This led us to building a UI wizard-driven upgrade flow in Command Central to significantly ease the upgrades.
Before jumping in detail on how the upgrade is technically done, let’s compare the standard manual upgrade approach to the new UI flow via Command Central. The following figure depicts the steps that must be taken in either case.
In the manual approach, you need multiple separate tools - Software AG Installer, Software AG Update manager, Software AG DB Configurator, and separate migration utilities per product - to bring your installation to a new version. You also need to manage and copy image files (for product and fix installation) and license files. These tools and files must be managed separately for every installation you want to upgrade.
In contrast, Command Central provides you a single tool for installation, fix management, DB schema management and migration (used to migrate configurations and assets from the one installation to the another). Command Central also manages centrally multiple installations connected to it. This allows you to use a single instance of a single tool for upgrading all your environments.
The supported upgrade scenarios are:
- Over-install upgrade – the resulting new installation is on the same machine in the same folder. The old installation is backed up alongside it.
- Side-by-side upgrade on the same host – this upgrade flow is designed for easier rollback. The upgrade installation is placed next to the original one.
- Cross-host upgrade – use this scenario when you plan to rehost your installation on different machine, because you’re changing the hardware or the version of the operation system for hosting your applications. It is important to remember the OS platform can’t be changed when you change hosts – a change from Windows® to Linux® is impossible.
The one-click upgrade wizard can be triggered via wizard in the Stacks & Layers UI. To achieve this, you need to import your installations into Command Central and into the Stacks & Layers structures. Find more information in these videos about Stacks & Layers and learn how to create them if you have already imported your environment into Command Central:
Once you have the environment ready, you’ll need to create new product repository that will be used from the new version of the products – e.g., if you upgrade from 10.5 to 10.7, create a product repository in Command Central that will hold the installation repositories for 10.7. You can create a fix repository if you also want to apply the latest fixes to the new environment. Find more information about the repositories in this explanatory video.
If the license files you use are not imported into Command Central, make sure they are present before you trigger the upgrade.
After you have everything needed, trigger an upgrade dry run so that Command Central can verify that everything needed is present. This test is fast. Watch this video for instructions on how to trigger the dry run.
After the dry run is successful, trigger the actual migration. Our detailed video tutorial will walk you through it.
webMethods Integration Server, Software AG Universal Messaging and My webMethods Server have been certified for the one-click upgrade flow. We feel confident that your upgrade flow will be much simpler with this new functionality.
More detailed information on which products are supported by Command Central can be found in our Command Central support matrix.
While Command Central does a lot for the infrastructure upgrade and migration of the configurations from one version to another, it can’t automatically migrate and adjust your code. The sources deployed on the products are owned by the customer and the customer must maintain and update them with the rolling version. Testing is also best done at dev time via CI/CD, desirably via automated tests.
A good approach is to use the one-click upgrade to rapidly create a test environment and then make it a target of your CI/CD flow. This will be the easiest way to assess if your sources need adjustment with the new version.
With 10.7, Command Central supports deploying assets without the wM Deployer, so you might also consider rebuilding your CI/CD flow with it. This deployment flow is currently supported only for Integration Server assets. You can find more information on the feature in this video guide.