Why should I upgrade my TRIRIGA environment?
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Many times, a client may hear a support engineer say that they should upgrade to the latest version. Why do I keep hearing that - especially if upgrading will take time, money, and resources? TRIRIGA, like all other software, evolves. We continuously fix defects and add new functionality. For instance, if you are on version 3.3.2, some of the features you cannot take advantage of include improved logging capabilities, which makes it easier for us to help you troubleshoot an issue. Also included is improved security and, more recently workflow versioning. Since complex software can sometimes have defects you never know when a defect might impact your business. But why wait for it to impact you? Upgrade so that it won’t happen. New functionality is also added into the software and you may want to take advantage of it.
Another reason to upgrade is that software uses various technologies, which changes faster than New England weather! Technology is constantly changing and TRIRIGA must keep up in order to keep it running. That technology can be in operating system updates, browser versions, application servers and Java to name a few. Support may often recommend staying current with product releases but it is always good to review the release notes for the current release. The release notes for each version show what has been fixed and functionality that has been added. You can find the release notes for TRIRIGA here:
Before upgrading, it is important to understand the structure of TRIRIGA because there are 2 very different procedures to upgrade. Those 2 structures are Platform and Application. The TRIRIGA Platform is the java code that IBM writes and is installed on a server. The TRIRIGA Applications are developed using the TRIRIGA Platform. Applications are not “written” but are developed using the Platform as a development tool. Applications are stored in the database as metadata and are not found in the TRIRIGA directory structure. Both the Platform and the Application have their own version number. How do I tell what number is for what? Platform versions are the lower of the 2 numbers associated with a TRIRIGA install. So the Platform version would be something like 3.5.1 or 3.4.2. Applications are the larger numbers associated with a TRIRIGA install. So the Application version would be something like 10.5.1 or 10.4.2. TRIRIGA 3.5.1/10.5.1 is Platform 3.5.1 and Application 10.5.1. But this can change. If IBM releases a 4.1.0/11.1.0 release, a client can upgrade to Platform 4.1.0 and leave the application at 10.5.1. But you can never upgrade the Application beyond the platform it was built on. So using the example of 4.1.0/11.1.0, you could not upgrade the application to 11.1.0 and still be on platform 3.5.1 because the functionality required to support the new Application exists in the new Platform.
The TRIRIGA Platform will always be there as it is required for the database to be run. The Platform never deprecates functionality. So if an application is developed on one release of the Platform, it will continue to function in future releases of the Platform. Ever since the 3.2 release, you can easily upgrade the Platform in under 2 hours. You simply stop the servers, install the new platform code, start one server to perform the database updates and when it is complete, stop the server, apply the latest fixpack, start one server and then start the rest. That’s it! The Platform will be upgraded. Security vulnerabilities, new technology, performance enhancements, new properties and more are ready to use. You should plan to perform a Platform upgrade at least once a year.
Applications can be substantially more complex. If you have never done one, I would strongly recommend that you consider engaging our IBM Global Business Service (GBS) or one of the IBM TRIRIGA certified business partners to help you through an application upgrade. Since the applications are actually data in the database, an upgrade involves updating data, which is always a tricky task. On top of that, clients have the ability to configure and modify functionality associated with an application. A wrong step could overwrite data and damage functionality. To add to it, application upgrades must be done one version at a time. If you on 10.3.1 and are going to 10.5.1, then you will need to upgrade to 10.3.2. Then 10.4.0, 10.4.1, 10.4.2, 10.5.0 and finally 10.5.1. We strongly recommend that you plan for an Application upgrade at least once every two years to minimize the number of versions between platform and application. In addition, audited functionality may require Application upgrades. Customers who use the Lease functionality in TRIRIGA will know that government rules around leases are called FASB. Clients who need to be compliant with FASB rules will need to be on the latest Application release.
Fixpacks are important too! If a defect is found in a release, we will identify the defect as an APAR and develop a fix that can be applied to the installed software. It is recommended that customers set aside time and resources once a quarter to apply any fixpacks.
When a support engineer recommends that the user should upgrade to the latest version, the first thing that should be done is plan! Just because the platform may not take a lot of time to do, you should put in the proper planning. Here are somethings to ask yourself when planning your upgrade: