IBM Support

Update Strategy for WebSphere Application Server V9.0

Product Documentation


Abstract

Announcing a strategy for delivering Fix Packs for IBM WebSphere Application Server V85 and V9.0 releases. Fix Packs are the standard maintenance delivery vehicle.

Content

Update strategy overview
Update Deliverables
Update Deliverable Availability and Install
Update Strategy for Features Downloaded From IBM WebSphere Liberty Repository
Maintenance planning
Recommended update path
Related Information
Change history


Update strategy overview

WebSphere Application Server Support is delivering this strategy to provide a clear update path which is easier to maintain than managing multiple, individual Application Server fixes.

In response to requests for published collections of fixes that are:
  • Delivered in a timely manner.
  • Tested together.

Installing preventative maintenance as soon as it becomes available will save you time. As long as you test appropriately, actively applying preventative maintenance can avoid problems that could result in a service call.
For further details on the Lifecycle of WebSphere Application Server, see https://www.ibm.com/support/pages/node/869800

Update Deliverables

WebSphere Application Server  traditional provides updates as a Maintenance Delivery Vehicle (MDV) which uses a V.R.M.F. numbering scheme:
 
V
Version Number = (8, 9)
R
Release Number = 0
M
Modification Number
F
Fix Pack Number

Based on this numbering scheme 2 types of MDV may be provided for WebSphere Application Server traditional:
  • A Fix Pack which comprises a cumulative package of fixes and may further include a small number of new features.
    • Normally, cumulative fix packs increment the "fix pack number"
    • Some fixpacks with significant new function will instead increase the modification level, for example the fixpack that followed 9.0.0.11 is 9.0.5.0.
      • In this case all future fixpacks will be based on the new modification level, there is no separate service stream.
  • An individual fix which comprises one or a small number of fixes. Fixes do not change the V.R.M.F number.

WebSphere Application Server Liberty is following Continuous Delivery model which uses a Y.R.M.F. numbering scheme:
 
Y
Year = last 2 digits
R
Release Number = 0
M
Modification Number 
F
Fix Pack Number = Fix Pack Number during the year

Based on this numbering scheme 2 types of MDV may be provided for WebSphere Application Server Liberty:
  • A Fix Pack which comprises a cumulative package of fixes and may further include a small number of new features. Each subsequent quarterly delivered Fix Pack increases the Fix Pack number while Y.R.M remain the same.
  • A fix which comprises one or a small number of fixes. Fixes do not change the Y.R.M.F number.

For more details on WebSphere Application Server Liberty continuous fix pack delivery please refer to the Knowledge Center

Fix Pack.

Fix Pack are currently delivered approximately every 3 months. The following document provides estimated dates for the next fix pack, at least 30 days before its release: Recommended fixes for WebSphere Application Server .
WebSphere Liberty fix packs are currently delivered approximately every 4 weeks.  

WebSphere Application Server Liberty executable jar file Fix Packs are a complete replacement. IBM recommends customers to install each new Fix Pack in a separate location from the previous install and configure the new install to use the existing applications and configuration. The previous install then provides a suitable back-up should problems be found with the new install.

When a Fix Pack is published an IBM Support page is created with details of the Fix Pack including download and install instructions and a list of problems fixed. This page may be updated with new information related to the Fix Pack when available, for example details of known new problems introduced.

IBM recommends customers to install the latest available Fix Pack level.
  • Customers should review details of known problems introduced to determine impact on customer function.

Notes:
  • The WebSphere offerings included in each Fix Pack are tested together by IBM.
  • Customer testing of critical functions after install of a Fix Pack is recommended before updating a production environment.
  • In some cases, a Fix Pack might not be delivered for every offering at each Fix Pack delivery.
  • IBM supports customers who might not install Fix Packs delivered at each Fix Pack level, except where a pre-requisite or co-requisite exists. If a pre-requisite or co-requisite exists between two Fix Packs, then those Fix Packs must be installed together.


Fix

When technically feasible, a fix resolving one or more product issues may be provided prior to its delivery in a Fix Pack.   A fix applies to to one or more sequential Fix Pack levels that have been generally available for no more than two years.

A fix will only be provided when it can be provided without significantly impacting provision of Fix Packs in a timely manner.

A fix may be provided in one of two following forms:
  • Test fix:
    • Is used to verify that a fix addresses a reported product defect.
    • Is not intended to be used to update a production environment.
    • For some problems, IBM will not include a fix in a Fix pack until the customer has confirmed that the test fix addresses the problem.
  • Interim fix:
    • Interim Fixes are regression tested by IBM for the affected function and may be used to update a production environment.
    • It is recommended that customers test functions affected by the fix before updating a production environment.
    • It is recommended that customers move to a Fix Pack which includes the interim fix when available.
    • Interim Fixes may optionally be published. A published fix generally has  the following additional properties:
      • A published interim fix is available to all customers and supports all relevant IBM WebSphere Application Server offerings and all relevant supported operating systems (including z/OS).  Depending on the severity or urgency, the published fix may also be accompanied by a flash.
      • Published fixes generally target the two most recent Fix Packs, when applicable, for each affected release.
  • IBM highly recommends all affected customers to install the relevant interim fix.
  • Interim Fixes for Security/Integrity issues generally have the following additional properties:
    • They are proactively created and published for the two most recent Fix Packs for all in-service affected releases.
    • They are accompanied by a Security Bulletin
Note: A fix to a jar file of WebSphere Application Server traditional will update one or more class files in the jar file whereas a fix to a jar file of WebSphere Application Server Liberty will effectively replace the jar file. As a result, to prevent a later fix overwriting some or all of a previous fix, WebSphere Application Server Liberty fixes are likely to fix more product defects than a WebSphere Application Server traditional fix. 
 

Update Deliverable Availability and Install

IBM Installation Manager installable update deliverables

IBM Installation Manager installable update deliverables must be installed using IBM Installation Manager for WebSphere Application Server V9.0.
IBM Installation Manager uses product repositories to install products and maintenance. The following repository options are provided for WebSphere Application Server V9.0:
  • A current, IBM-hosted web repository.
  • A local repository created from the web repository using Package Utility.
  • Download and unzip of one or more zip files from Fix Central.

IBM Installation Manager interim fixes will be removed, and may be re-applied, as part of a Fix Pack install. Interim Fixes are re-applied if they also apply to the new Fix pack level installed. As a result some interim fixes may not be re-applied and it is therefore necessary to check the list of delivered fixes to determine if a removed interim fix is not included in the Fix Pack.

Executable jar file Install deliverables

WebSphere Liberty executable jar file update deliverables are installed by executing the jar and are published under entitlement in Fix Central.
Executable jar file Interim fixes will not be re-installed when a new Fix pack is installed. It is therefore necessary to check the list of delivered fixes to determine if a required interim fix is not included in the Fix Pack.
  • Use the productInfo command to compare a previous install and a new install to determine if an interim fix installed in the previous install is included in the new install.

Update Strategy for Features Downloaded From IBM WebSphere Liberty Repository



IBM WebSphere Liberty Repository enables customers to select which of WebSphere Liberty features to install in more granular manner.

Update Strategy for Features Downloaded From IBM WebSphere Liberty Repository follows the same rules and schedules as WebSphere Liberty  Update Strategy.

IBM WebSphere Liberty Repository content is refreshed with updates to existing features and with addition of any new features at the time of release of the Fix Pack of WebSphere Liberty.

Depending on install path chosen (Archive Install or Install Manager), customer should follow respective install manual for applying Interim Fixes and/or Fix Packs.




Maintenance planning

Choose the appropriate update solution and verify inclusion of needed individual fixes in the Fix Pack:
  • Review Recommended fixes and the Fix list for different versions to help you plan updates.
  • In order to ensure quality Fix Packs, individual fixes that become available late in the development cycle may not be included in a Fix Pack.
  • The historyInfo command lists the history of installed and uninstalled fix packs and interim fixes .
  • For WebSphere Liberty  the productInfo utility provides a list of interim fixes installed.
Prior to installing any WebSphere Application Server solution in production, appropriate testing should be done on a test system.

Update a Fix Pack from any previous Fix Pack or WebSphere Application server V9.0 base release of a WebSphere Application Server component. For example update directly to Fix Pack 9.0.0.3 from 9.0.0.0, 9.0.0.1 or 9.0.0.2.

Recommended update path
  • Remaining on an early Fix Pack level (two or more Fix Packs behind the latest) with interim fixes applied puts IBM's ability to deliver additional interim fixes at risk. Situations may arise where IBM will not be able to safely deliver additional interim fixes on an early level. If a customer has interim fixes applied, they should plan on moving to a Fix Pack level which contains those fixes.
  • Update to the latest Fix Pack for cumulative fixes in order to avoid problems already resolved within WebSphere Application Server.
  • Update to the latest Fix Pack only when there is time in the development schedule for a full regression test of your application.
  • Plan appropriate testing prior to installing any WebSphere Application Server solution in production.


 
Related Information
 

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Document Information

Modified date:
16 February 2021

UID

swg27048352