Synchronous upgrades vs. IPUP: Two paths, one destination

Meeting about upgrades

Every year since we’ve been married, my wife and I have travelled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Just married (and just the two of us), it used to be an easy trip. No complications. We’d pack the car early in the morning, drive all day, and arrive at the beach by sundown.

But then, as it does in many couples’ lives… kids happened.

Suddenly, our long drive became much more complex! We had to pack extra bags, we had to stop more often for feeding, stretching and mental health, we had to consider entertainment, and of course there was the added concern over safety.

Given all this added complexity – as well as the fact that with kids really anything can suddenly happen – we now take the 13-hour drive over two, sometimes three days. Instead of driving straight through Washington D.C., we now go the longer way around it.

Instead of trying to make NASCAR-style pit stops, when we stop, we take our time and enjoy the scenery. And you know what? It works, and it’s much less stressful!

Synchronous upgrades versus IPUP

I didn’t write today to tell you stories about our family road trips; I offer these two paths from northeast Ohio to the Outer Banks of North Carolina as an example of why you may choose one software upgrade path over another.

Recently in these blog posts, we’ve discussed both incremental parallel upgrade processes (IPUP) and synchronous upgrades separately, but any conversation about upgrade options isn’t complete until we compare these two upgrade paths next to each other. And the best way to compare them is by talking about the type of solution or organization each one will appeal to the most.

Planning your trip

No matter how complex your travel plans, one must always “chart the course” for a road trip, i.e. making sure the path to your destination is at least reliable and without major roadblocks.

Software upgrades, both IPUP and synchronous, should always be performed first in a test environment before being performed in production! Doing so will make sure your solution does not get stuck at the side of the road, unable to move forward.

Spend some time looking at the map, making sure the upgrade roads you are taking won’t end up closed or “under construction.”

The synchronous path

With OnBase, the solution best suited for a synchronous upgrade resembles a band of uncomplicated road trip companions:

  • Relatively young – coming from a more recent version or a smaller installation
  • With fewer responsibilities – no major components such as large workview or case management system installs, complex workflows, etc.
  • Travelling in a reliable vehicle – no major OS or database version changes
  • With no children – free of any highly customizable components typically created in-house, such as complex eforms, APIs et al.

Just as an uncomplicated road trip often begins late and drives all night, synchronous upgrades usually start on a Friday evening after business hours and continue uninterrupted until morning, when the system is brought back online to begin testing. Once testing is finished, typically there’s just a wait to make sure the production environment behaves as expected come business hours Monday morning.

A synchronous upgrade has a similar end goal to those back-in-the-day college road trips; just get to the destination as quickly as possible, and deal with any ramifications (or speeding tickets) after the trip is over.

Not so for IPUPs.

The IPUP family vacation

Any good IPUP starts with a premise similar to a family car trip; the end goal is to make sure every piece of your solution arrives at the upgrade version as safely as possible. You avoid dangerous shortcuts and do some extra planning to ensure the safety of each “member” of your family (solution).

This planning takes into account the needs of each important process and each group of end users and plots the course accordingly. Do you have an import process that requires specific performance metrics in order to prevent a document bottleneck? Do you have a business unit that relies more on OnBase than others, or has had difficulties when upgrading in the past?

In a slower-paced road trip, it’s easy to pull to the side of the road and give great attention to a crying baby. In an IPUP, it is easier to slow things down and focus more on the most essential pieces of your solution and give them the proper attention they need. You’ve already taken the “extra time” into account for the overall plan, so slowing things down or even making a few extra stops will not throw the plan off considerably.

The key to a having a good experience in a family car ride or in an IPUP lies in taking one’s time and understanding that arriving at the destination safely is the goal, not the time it takes to get there. Stop looking at the clock, focus on safety and reliability.

To sum up; take your time, and stress less.

Speed or safety?

If safety is your top concern on a road trip, you probably won’t be driving 95 miles an hour in order to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Likewise if your major concern is ensuring maximum continuity in your enterprise content management environment, it’s recommended to take the extra steps necessary to ensure you’re doing all you can to make the trip to OnBase 16 as safe as possible.

Keep this all in mind, and plan your upgrade accordingly.

“Safety is something that happens between your ears,” said Jeff Cooper. “Not something you hold in your hands.”

And you know what? My family agrees.

Mike Current

Mike Current

Mike Current started at Hyland in 2010 as a technical support rep and cloud engineer for Global Cloud Services. He is currently an Infrastructure Admin in Quality Assurance. Mike tests configuration, runs projects such as Release Candidate and the OnBase 16 Beta Program, manages the “Mitigating Risk in OnBase Upgrades” whitepaper and evangelizes synchronous and incremental parallel upgrades. Outside of OnBase, Mike loves spending time with his family, working out and playing Xbox. He can often be found sipping a whisky and talking about geeky things while watching a Patriots football or Cleveland Cavaliers game.

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