It’s usually one persistent issue after another that leads a functional software to be investigated for its flaws. These flaws when investigated eventually lead to the discovery of even more concerns that senior management will decide to take action to either fix or upgrade the erring software.
There are many reasons, however, for doing a software upgrade other than rising issues – the desire to stay current, security concerns, and performance improvements are some of them. Whatever the reason for the decision to upgrade, advanced planning should take place so the right resources are allocated, the necessary items shipped and for the implementation to be done in an efficient timeframe.
If you find yourself in the same situation where you deem upgrading your software is necessary, don’t just jump into it immediately. Make sure to plan ahead and follow these steps for a successful and time-wise implementation.
1. Have a rollback plan
Anyone in the IT trade will tell you that having a rollback plan is your friend. No matter where you are in your upgrade project, you have to be able to revert back in an earlier state should things go awry. Not having a rollback plan in the worst case scenario means unnecessary hours of software being offline, which can heavily affect operations.
2. Gather metrics and settings
Prior to upgrading, be sure that you know the metrics regarding your application and database performance. Another thing to do is to make an effort to note the configuration settings of your application and database. This will prevent your upgraded software from failing to function fully because of missing or wrong configuration setting like DNA alias.
3. Understand the new features
If you’re upgrading, take the time to learn and understand the new features of the software that might be available for you to use. This way, if there’s a new feature you’d like to utilize that would need additional resources or hardware, you can plan ahead and bring in those additional resources before the upgrade goes live.
4. Use the latest version possible
As much as possible, do not upgrade software or systems in too small of an increment. Be sure that if you’re not upgrading to the latest version, you are at least just a version behind.
This is especially important if the software you’re upgrading is connected to another one as chances are automatic updates have already been made to accommodate or support the latest version. And if some of your operational software are through subscription or SaaS, then you know updates are automatically rolled out as soon as they come.
5. Decide on the upgrade method
There are usually three software upgrade options: upgrade in place, upgrade side-by-side, or migrate to new servers. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, of course. It’s usually recommended to migrate to a new server as opposed to using the existing on, especially if you don’t have a scalable one.
6. Analyze your configurations
Once the software upgrade has been completed, take the time to review the application and server settings to be sure they match the previous settings. It would be much more time-efficient if these checks are automated with scripts or third-party tools.
7. Test workloads
Once the upgraded software is live and end-users are testing it out, record its new performance metrics and compared them to the ones captured prior. This helps discover, in the cause of system being slow, the reason for such performance.
If you need help with upgrading your software, give us a call and we'll assess your network to make sure it can contain the specifications required of the software upgrade.
Source: Network Computing