Update Strategy for WebSphere Application Server V8.5

Product documentation


Abstract

Announcing a strategy for delivering Fix Packs for IBM WebSphere Application Server V8.5 releases. Fix Packs are the standard maintenance delivery vehicle for Version 8.5

Content

Update strategy overview
Update Deliverables
Update Deliverable Availability and Install
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.
Update Deliverables

WebSphere Application Server V8.5 provides updates as a Maintenance Delivery Vehicle (MDV) which uses a V.R.M.F numbering scheme:

V
Version Number = 8
R
Release Number = 5
M
Modification Number
F
Fix Pack Number

Based on this numbering scheme 3 types of MDV may be provided for WebSphere Application Server V8.5:
  • A Refresh Pack which comprises a cumulative package of fixes and new features. Each refresh pack increases the modification number and resets the fix pack number while V.R remain the same. After a new refresh pack has been issued all future fix packs will be updates to the new refresh pack.
  • A Fix Pack which comprises a cumulative package of fixes and may further include a small number of new features. Each subsequent fix pack increases the fix pack number while V.R.M remain the same.
  • A fix which comprises one or a small number of fixes. Fixes do not change the V.R.M.F number.

Refresh Pack and Fix Pack.

MDV deliveries, comprising a Refresh Pack or a Fix Pack, will be timely (approximately every 3-6 months). Details of currently available Refresh/Fix Packs and, at least 30 days prior to availability, the date of the next planned Refresh/Fix Pack will be published in Recommended fixes for WebSphere Application Server .

Each WebSphere Refresh/Fix Pack delivery can include Refresh/Fix Packs for the following WebSphere offerings:
  • IBM Installation Manager installable offerings:
    • Application Server Full Profile
    • Application Server Liberty Profile
    • Application Client
    • Web server plug-ins
    • Pluggable Application Client
    • IBM HTTP Server
    • DMZ Secure Proxy Server
    • WebSphere Customization Toolbox
    • IBM Web Enablement for IBM i
    • IBM Edge Components
    • Adapters
    • Application Server Web 2.0 and Mobile Toolkit
    • Java SDK
  • Executable Jar install offering:
    • Application Server Liberty profile

All Refresh/Fix Packs apply to all supported platforms. The Application Server Liberty profile executable jar Refresh/Fix Pack is not available for z/OS.

IBM Installation Manager installable Fix packs are a delta from the base level 8.5.0.0 and must be installed on top of the base level or a previous. However, Refresh packs may be either a delta from the base level 8.5.0.0 or a new install.

Executable jar file Refresh/Fix Packs are a complete replacement. IBM recommends customers to install each new Refresh/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 Refresh/Fix Pack is published an IBM Support page is created with details of the Refresh/Fix Pack including download and install instructions and a list of problems fixed. This page may be updated with new information related to the Refresh/Fix Pack when available, for example details of known new problems introduced.

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

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


Fix

A fix will resolve one or more product defects.

A fix will apply to one or more sequential Refresh/Fix Pack levels.

A fix will only be provided when technically feasible.

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

A fix will be provided as one of two types:
  • An interim fix:
    • 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.
        • Reference the Recommended fixes page for currently available fixes in the latest Fix Pack levels.
    • Is regression tested for the affected function.
    • Is created when a stand-alone fix is required before the next Fix Pack which includes the fix is available.
    • May be published or un-published.
      • 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).
        • IBM may recommend that a customer review a particular published interim fix and install it if applicable.
        • When considered urgent, an interim fix will be flashed on the Support page.
          • For example for a high impact, pervasive or security/integrity issue.
          • The flash document will include a list of affected Refresh/Fix Pack deliverables.
          • IBM highly recommends all affected customers to install the relevant interim fix.
      • An un-published interim fix:
        • Is given directly to one or more customers and may support a subset of relevant IBM WebSphere Application Server offerings and relevant supported platforms.
        • Will be in the format requested by the customer.
          • IBM Installation Manager installable
          • Executable jar file (WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile only)
  • A 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 Refresh/Fix pack until the customer has confirmed that the test fix addresses the problem.

Note: A fix to a jar file of WebSphere Application Server Full profile will update one or more class files in the jar file whereas a fix to a jar file of WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile 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 profile fixes are likely to fix more product defects than a WebSphere Application Server Full profile 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 V8.5.
IBM Installation Manager uses product repositories to install products and maintenance. The following repository options are provided for WebSphere Application Server V8.5:
  • 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.

For IBM System i, repositories are also provided for each fix pack via PTF. For PTF information, see IBM System i support.

For IBM System z, repositories are also provided for each fix pack via PTF. These PTFS can be ordered through ShopzSeries.

IBM Installation Manager interim fixes will be removed, and may be re-applied, as part of a Refresh/Fix Pack install. Interim Fixes are re-applied if they also apply to the new Refresh/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 Refresh/Fix Pack.

Executable jar file Install deliverables

WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Liberty profile executable jar file update deliverables are installed by executing the jar and are published under entitlement in Fix Central.
For IBM System i, an executable jar file Fix Pack is also provided for each fix pack via PTF. For PTF information, see IBM System i support.

Executable jar file Interim fixes will not be re-installed when a new Refresh/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 Refresh/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.


Maintenance planning

Choose the appropriate update solution and verify inclusion of needed individual fixes in the Refresh/Fix Pack:
  • Review Recommended fixes and the Fix list for different versions to help you plan updates.
  • In order to ensure quality Refresh/Fix Packs, individual fixes that become available late in the development cycle may not be included in a Refresh/Fix Pack.
  • The historyInfo command lists the history of installed and uninstalled refresh/fix packs and interim fixes .
    • For WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile 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 options for WebSphere Application Server Full Profile.



Update options for WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile IM Install.



Update options for WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile Archive Install.



Recommended update path
  • Remaining on an early Refresh/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 Refresh/Fix Pack for cumulative fixes in order to avoid problems already resolved within WebSphere Application Server.
  • Update to the latest Refresh/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.
The following update path examples assume an update path where each new fix/refresh pack is installed when available. Note that the examples are not intended to preannounce any fix/refresh packs not yet available which are used in the example solely for illustration.

WebSphere Application Server Full Profile recommended update path example.



WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile IM Install recommended update path example.



WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile Archive Install recommended update path example.



Related Information

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Document information


More support for:

WebSphere Application Server
General

Software version:

8.5

Operating system(s):

AIX, HP-UX, IBM i, Linux, Solaris, Windows, i5/OS, z/OS

Software edition:

Base, Express, Network Deployment

Reference #:

7036014

Modified date:

2013-07-09

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