Update Strategy for WebSphere Application Server V6.1

Product documentation


Abstract

Announcing a strategy for delivering fix packs for IBM WebSphere Application Server V6.1 releases. Fix packs are the standard maintenance delivery vehicle for Version 6.1.

Content

Update strategy overview
Delivering updates
Maintenance planning
Recommended update path
Related Information
Change history


Update strategy overview

WebSphere Application Server Support is delivering this strategy to provide a clear upgrade path that reduces the risk of installing collections of Application Server fixes.

In response to requests for published collections of fixes that are:
  • Delivered in a timely manner
  • Tested together
  • Without new features or behavioral changes

WebSphere Application Server V6.1 will provide fix packs containing cumulative fixes that will be updated regularly. This provides a consistent maintenance approach you can follow as you manage your products.

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.
Delivering updates

Fix pack deliveries will be timely (approximately every 12 weeks). When the release is approaching end of service, fixpack frequency may be reduced. The date of the next planned fix pack will be published in Recommended fixes for WebSphere Application Server at least 30 days prior to availability.

Each fix pack delivery can consist of multiple fix packs for the following components:
  • Application Server
  • Application Client
  • Web server plug-ins
  • IBM® HTTP Server
  • Java™ SDK

Notes:
  • The preceding component fix packs are all tested together at the same level.

  • In some cases, maintenance might not be delivered for every component at each new fix pack level (for example: There was no maintenance delivered for IBM HTTP Server at the Fix Pack 1 (6.1.0.1) level).

  • IBM supports users who might not install all fix packs delivered at each fix pack level (for example: Installing Fix Pack 5 (6.1.0.5) for the Application Server but not installing Fix Pack 5 for the IBM HTTP Server), except where a pre-requisite or co-requisite exists. If a pre-requisite or co-requisite exists between two fix packs, then those fixpacks must be installed together.

There is a single list of all defects for each release (for example: Fix list for Version 6.1 ), that is updated for each new fix pack.

Install a fix pack on top of any previous fix pack installed (for example: 6.1.0.5 could be applied to 6.1.0.1 or 6.1.0.2).

Note: The version numbers (6.1, 6.1.0.1, 6.1.0.2, and so on) used throughout this document are to illustrate a typical maintenance path used to provide solutions to our customers. It does not reflect actual, nor intended, deliverables.

Solution terminology changes

V6.0 Term
V6.1 Term
Release
Release
Refresh Pack
N/A
N/A
Feature Pack
Fix pack
Fix pack
Fix
Fix


Types of solutions provided for WebSphere Application Server


Solutions

Characteristics of each solution

Release

  • A new WebSphere Application Server that includes major new function, such as V6.1.

  • This is a separate installation that can coexist with other Application Server releases.

  • Full testing of all applications with new release is recommended.

  • Requires migration to upgrade, distribution by way of Passport Advantage.

Feature pack

  • WebSphere Application Server V6.1 is introducing Feature Packs, which are free, downloadable product extensions (on top of V6.1), that offer targeted, incremental new features.

  • Regression testing of critical functions with new feature packs is strongly recommended.

Fix pack

  • This is the standard delivery for updates - it has been regression tested.

  • A fix pack is a cumulative package of fixes, such as Fix Pack 2 (6.1.0.2).

  • Each fix pack delivery can consist of multiple fix packs for the following components:
    • Application Server
    • Application Client
    • Web server plug-ins
    • IBM HTTP Server
    • Java SDK

  • Fix packs also install on top of a previous fix pack, such as applying V6.1.0.1 to V6.1.0.2.

  • Fix packs are cumulative, so V6.1.0.2 includes all fixes in V6.1.0.1.

  • Fix packs uninstall all interim fixes applied to the release since the last fix pack was installed. Therefore, it is necessary to check the list of delivered fixes to determine if an interim fix needs to be reinstalled.

  • Brief testing of critical functions with the new fix pack is recommended.

Fix

  • In some circumstances and when technically feasible, a single published emergency fix may be provided.

  • This fix, in the form of an Interim Fix or test fix, resolves one or more product defects.

  • It is expected that customers will make plans to move to a fix pack that contains the emergency fix. Remaining on an early level (two or more fix packs behind the latest) increases the risk that IBM will not be able to deliver additional emergency fixes on that level.

  • A fix can be applied to a release or fix pack where applicable.

    Interim Fix = IFPKnnnn (for example: 6.1 IFPK0001)
    Test Fix = TFPKnnnn (for example: 6.1 TFPK0002)

  • Interim fixes are created when a stand-alone fix is required before the next fix pack that includes the fix for the APAR is available. . They are validated by at least one customer prior to being published

  • It is recommended that you test functions affected by the WebSphere Application Server component fixed.

  • Reference the Recommended fixes page for currently available fixes. When urgent, the fix will also be flashed on the Support page.



Maintenance planning

Choose the appropriate update solution and verify inclusion of needed individual fixes in the fix pack:
Prior to installing any WebSphere Application Server solution in production, appropriate testing should be done on a test system.
Recommended update path
  • Remaining on an early fix pack level (two or more fix packs behind the latest) with emergency fixes applied puts IBM's ability to deliver additional emergency fixes at risk. Situations may arise where IBM will not be able to safely deliver additional emergency fixes on an early level. If a customer has emergency fixes applied, they should plan on moving to a fix pack level that contains those fixes.

  • Update to the latest fix pack for cumulative fixes in order to proactively 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


Change history
Date Description
14 Sep 2007
23 Feb 2007
Removed reference that fix packs only include fixes
Original draft published.

Cross reference information
Segment Product Component Platform Version Edition
Application Servers WebSphere Application Server - Express General AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, Windows 6.1
Application Servers Runtimes for Java Technology Java SDK

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Document information


More support for:

WebSphere Application Server
General

Software version:

6.1

Operating system(s):

AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, Windows

Software edition:

Base, Network Deployment

Reference #:

7009276

Modified date:

2007-09-14

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