It’s September of 2010, well into 2H2010. Have you put together a maintenance plan for your WebSphere environments? If you already have a plan, have you been acting on it?
Proactive maintenance might be the single best way to avoid issues with your WebSphere software products. The adage, "If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it", doesn’t really apply here, not to the wise administrator anyway. Consider this - the lack of a plan might save you a few a few hours of discussion time for your WebSphere administrators and IT managers that does translate into money down the road, but are those savings completely offset when you have that 5 hour outage on your e-business web site that robs you of tens of thousands of dollars of revenue? Think about it.
Setting up a maintenance plan is simple! There are several factors that you need consider for a good maintenance plan:
1. When do you have maintenance windows in your business year?
As a retailer, it doesn’t make sense for you to plan maintenance the week before Black Friday or Cyber Monday, right? Same thing goes for a health insurance business; the week before open enrollment just isn’t the time to try out that new fix pack. Look for periods of time in the year that make sense to apply maintenance (such as non-critical business times).
2. What product level will you standardize on?
Consider how close your maintenance windows are. Review the Recommended fixes for WebSphere Application Server to see what fix packs are available now and when the latest fix packs are due to be available. Some of you like to be at the cutting edge, running the latest and greatest product levels while others are more conservative and try to standardize on a fix pack that’s been out for a few months. The bottom line is that you should pick a target product level and stick to that plan.
3. Consult with your IBM team!
If you are an Accelerated Value Program (AVP) customer then you probably already know how much value IBM can provide you with , including proactive guidance to keep you out of the ditches and running smoothly. AVP leverages extensive IBM product knowledge and strives to apply it to your enterprise. The result is customized and tailored maintenance guidance along with other great benefits. If you’re not an AVP customer, you might consider looking into it. Talk to your IBM client team for more details or drop me a line here and I’ll help you get in touch with the right people. Whether you have AVP service or not, your IBM team should be able to help you with recommendations for product levels and maintenance planning.
In my experience I’ve seen too many people running extremely back leveled WebSphere product versions that just complicates problem determination, and sometimes just ends up leading to a root cause that points to one or more known problems that could have been avoided had regular maintenance been applied. Don’t let this happen to you!!!