Silk Central Upgrade - It's just a simple upgrade....
Recently, Testing Performance have conducted several Silk Central upgrades for customers in both the UK and the US and none of these engagements could be described as ‘just a simple upgrade’.
So why is this? Why is it not a simple case of just installing the latest and greatest version? Often the upgrade coincides, is instigated by, or is dependent upon other infrastructure upgrades or re-hosting exercises. With support for Windows 7 ending on January 14, 2020 some companies have found themselves vulnerable to security risks necessitating the upgrade, or provisioning, of new environments to comply with regulatory requirements.
If the initial Silk Central installation was fully documented for not only its system requirements and architecture but also the actual mechanics, then you will have a head start. If there is no change in the system architecture then, bingo! it should be just a simple upgrade, no need to read further.
If you are still reading then the upgrade should be approached as a brand-new deployment, and planned accordingly. When planning an upgrade, it is essential that the following questions are considered:
Instances - is there a ‘DEV’ and ‘PROD’ type environment? Is the current deployment employing instances or are they separate installations? Is the new target environment to be the same?
Team & Access - if the Testing Performance personnel performing the upgrade do not have full access or authority to perform every aspect of the upgrade for the customer, then the customer team required to complete the upgrade must be identified and their availability secured as soon as possible. The customers on-boarding process must also be considered, depending on the customer’s policies, this may well consume two working days per consultant.
Hardware & Operating Systems - has the new hardware & OS (or its provision) been determined and does it meet, if not exceed, the requirements of the target release?
Software - is any other Micro Focus software such as Silk Test or Silk Performer integrated with Silk Central? If so, has its compatibility been checked against the target release, and if required, provision made for version upgrades?
Domains, Ports & Trust - if the new deployment crosses domains and has to interact with other systems such as LDAP and Jira, the correct Ports to be opened and the new servers to be white listed must be identified. This is in addition to the standard ports that the Silk Central components and the database use to communicate with each other. This information should be gathered as soon as possible as it may have to be requested and approved well in advance.
Aliases & Certificates - is the Silk Central URL to be aliased and secure? If so, aliases and certificates should be provisioned and available at the start of the engagement, and like Ports and White listing, they should be requested and approved well in advance.
Database - is the database to be copied to a new database server? Regardless of the answer the current database must be backed up and copied. Is there enough space to do this on the old or if required, new, database server? If not, then space must be approved and provisioned in advance. Once copied and before the database can be connected for upgrade, the instance reference has to be cleared and if new execution servers are to be used, existing configurations disabled.
Licensing - have the customer’s licence certificates been identified? Is there to be a new license server? A new license has to be requested for the upgrade target version of Silk Central and any other Micro Focus products that are to be upgraded as part of the process.
Validation - how is the upgrade to be validated? How many project teams are to be involved? Will the current environment be frozen during the validation period or a second cut and upgrade be performed post validation?
In conclusion, upgrades are rarely simple, and will often require significant planning. It is hard to rank and order the points raised above as they all have equal merit and the ability to disrupt any plan. It is not a case of ‘leave it to the experts’ but it is strongly advised that for anything beyond ‘just a simple upgrade’ you seek advice from those who have jumped the hurdles, dodged the pitfalls and have the T-Shirt.