Preparing for your upgrade and migration

In moving from one version of Operational Decision Manager to another, you must know the differences between the versions and the tasks involved in the changeover.

The bigger and older your installation of Operational Decision Manager, the more time and effort are needed to switch to a newer version. The differences between the versions can be considerable because of the ongoing development to keep the product technologically current, increase its performance, and improve your user experience.

The Product evolution table shows some of the key feature changes in Operational Decision Manager. Changes are also made to underlying technologies, for example, switching to newer versions of Eclipse and Java™. Additionally, the sample application server is now WebSphere® Liberty, instead of WebSphere Application Server.

Upgrade and migrate

To move from one release to another, you upgrade your components in Operational Decision Manager. An update such as a fix pack might not require file changes. However, when you upgrade between major releases, you typically migrate your existing resources by changing server configurations and converting data in server databases and solution projects to the formats of the new version. Most of the work in a major upgrade can come from migrating your data resources.

When switching from one version to another, you can determine the work involved by checking your current installation with tools such as ODM Transformation Advisor. They can help you spot deprecated features and other items to update.

Risks

Knowing the risks in moving between versions of Operational Decision Manager can help you prepare for your upgrade and migration.
  • Time: Depending on the size of your installation and migration strategy, it might take several weeks for you to complete your migration.
  • Operating system: The product is kept in sync with the releases of major operating systems. Moving to a new version might require a switch in operating systems.
  • People: Converting and testing a large dataset can require the participation of several people, who must be familiar with the old version and be trained on the new version.
  • Custom features: Any modifications made to your original version need to be identified and assessed to determine whether they are needed in the new version. The new version might not support all of these modifications, but it might come with equivalent features.

Compatibility

To take full advantage of new features, you might need to convert your databases, switch rule engines, and use decision services.

Decision Center database

The schema of the Decision Center database is updated to support new features (see Migrating the Decision Center database).

Migrating the database can require the adaption of older schema:
  • Prior to version 8.6: Schema migration is mandatory.
  • Version 8.6 and above: An upgrade might be enough, but you might not be able to use some of the newer features, such as decision modeling and decision services (see Why you should upgrade). For full access to all the features, migrate your database and files to the latest schema.
Rule engine compatibility

You might need to migrate from the classic rule engine to the decision engine (see Migrating from classic rule engine to decision engine).

Constraints:
  • Classic rule engine: RuleApps from version 8.7 and above can run in version 8.9.2 without recompilation. RuleApps from versions before 8.7 must be recompiled.
  • Decision engine:
    • Version 8.9.2: RuleApps from version 8.8 and above can run in version 8.9.2 without recompilation. RuleApps from versions before 8.8 must be recompiled to run in 8.9.2.
    • Version 8.10.x: RuleApps from versions 8.8 and above can run in version 8.10.x without recompilation. RuleApps from versions before 8.8 must be recompiled to run in 8.10.x.
Classic rule projects and decision services
The decision service is currently the recommended unit of rule management. If you migrate classic rule projects to decision services, be aware of the following limitations:
  • You cannot use a migrated rule project in a classic rule project structure.
  • You cannot migrate from a decision service back to a classic rule project.
  • You cannot use RuleApp projects to deploy a decision service. You must use deployment configurations.
For a complete description of the migration, see Migrating from classic rule projects to decision services.

Types of migration

The following descriptions cover two approaches to migration.

Full migration
In a full migration, you copy or transform all the data from the source Decision Center to the target Decision Center, and the old Decision Center database becomes the new database. The user sees a single instance of Decision Center. Full migration requires all the target runtimes to be upgraded, and all the project teams to be ready to do regression testing on the next redeployment.
Progressive migration
In a progressive migration, the old and new versions of Operational Decision Manager coexist throughout the migration. It requires two instances of Decision Center: source and target. It also requires two runtime stacks. You convert projects over time, when teams are ready to test projects. In a typical progressive migration, you do as follows:
  • Move the decision services one by one from the source Decision Center to the target Decision Center (see Migrating the database progressively).
  • Maintain the two instances of Decision Center and direct users appropriately.
  • Mark the rule projects as read-only in the source Decision Center to limit development to the target Decision Center.

Migration activities

The activities that you can expect to perform during a migration include the following tasks:
  • Replacing the EAR for the current Rule Execution Server and Decision Center with a more recent one.
  • For users of WebSphere Application Server, rebuilding the server profile with the templates of the release to which you are upgrading.
  • Converting databases:
    • Rule Execution Server: Nothing to do
    • Decision Center: Migrate database (apply schema differences to benefit from new features and improved performance)
  • Upgrading Rule Designer: Reinstall in all cases.

Migration process

The following steps form a process for migrating to a newer version of Operational Decision Manager.
  1. Technical upgrade
    1. Use tools such as ODM Transformation Advisor to assess the state of your current installation.
    2. Verify that your configuration meets the system requirements for the new version of Operational Decision Manager that you want to install (see Operational Decision Manager detailed system requirements).
    3. Install the new version of Operational Decision Manager (see Installing Operational Decision Manager).
    4. Apply the latest fix pack immediately after installing the new version of Operational Decision Manager (see Operational Decision Manager download document).
  2. Validate your existing rule projects with the new version of Operational Decision Manager to verify that they still behave the same way. Older and deprecated features are still shipped and supported in newer versions. After ensuring that your projects still work, you can start migrating them.
  3. Convert classic rule projects to decision services (see Migrating from classic rule projects to decision services).
  4. Test your new decision services to ensure that they have the functionality of the migrated classic rule projects (see Testing and simulating rulesets).
  5. Use the Business console as your primary Decision Center environment (see Working with the Business console).
  6. Revalidate your decision validation service test scenarios with Decision Runner by reusing scenario files (see Testing and simulations for business rules).
  7. Switch from the classic rule engine to the decision engine (see Migrating from classic rule engine to decision engine).
  8. Leverage your new features (see What's New in IBM® Operational Decision Manager).

Future migrations

Typically, a client waits until support for their version of Operational Decision Manager is about to run out or is no longer available. In the meantime, the product continues to evolve and newer versions become available. When the time comes to upgrade to a newer version, the client has a big technological gap to clear, migrating years of development work from one version to another.

You can avoid large migrations by regularly updating your version of Operational Decision Manager. The versions of the product build upon one another, so sequential releases, for example, 8.9 and 8.10, can share similar resources. Also, applying the fixes and mod packs as they are released can better prepare your installation for a future major upgrade.

Product evolution

Ongoing development has resulted in significant changes to Operational Decision Manager. Features that you use in an older version of the product might not be available or supported in newer versions. As part of your migration, you might have to switch to newer features, for example, use the Business console instead of the Enterprise console in Decision Center.

The following table shows the statuses of key features in Operational Decision Manager.

Table 1. Table key: Included The feature is included in the version. Deprecated The feature is deprecated and no longer developed. Removed The feature is removed and the version is the first not to include the feature. A blank cell indicates the absence of a feature.
Feature 8.0 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 8.10
Classic rule projects Included Included Included Included Deprecated Deprecated Deprecated
Decision services Included Included Included Included Included
Classic rule engine Included Included Included Included Deprecated Deprecated Deprecated
Decision engine Included Included Included Included Included Included
Decision validation services Included Included Included Included Deprecated Deprecated Deprecated
Decision runner (testing and simulation)   Included Included Included Included
Decision Center Enterprise console Included Included Included Included Included Included Included
Decision Center Business console Included Included Included Included Included Included Included
Decision modeling         Included
Decision tree Included Included Included Included Deprecated Deprecated Deprecated
Rule Solutions for Office Included Included Included Included Deprecated Removed  
Scorecard modeler Included Included Included Included Deprecated Removed  
Business Rules Embedded Included Included Included Included Deprecated Removed