Software maintenance is a big part of IT budgets. As more companies offer software for all kinds of needs, from instant messaging to analytics, maintaining the software can quickly become a significant cost factor.
Reason: Software upgrades take time and resources. While there are software upgrades that take no more than a few hours to install the latest version, others take years to complete upgradation enterprise-wide.
Besides, multiple software have their own timelines around releases, which adds more complexity to the upgrade process. The whole process also takes away valuable time from the developers. Still, the need to update the software frequently is necessary for all the businesses as new features prove to bring more value to the firm.
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Below are the practical methods to reduce the risk of something going wrong when installing a completely new version of the software, upgrading the metadata, and then migrating the actual data.
1. Never Upgrade in Place
Experts recommend having two environments; one is your current system, and the other, a new installation environment, running in parallel. However, still many organizations have no time or money to create an infrastructure to support two environments running simultaneously.
Here, having a separate installation for the new software version provides a fail-safe method if something goes wrong during the upgrade process. Users would not be impacted and would be able to confidently test all the features required without any impact on the current environment.
2. Always Take Backups
If the software comes with a native backup utility, use it back up all critical systems. These can include metadata databases, application backups, storage backups, code backups, etc. This provides a way to restore the procedures if the upgrade did not work.
So, do we need to back up even if we plan to have parallel environments running? Absolutely! If the upgrade spans an extended period, you need to take frequent backups to ensure no work is lost. This doesn’t need to be just a system administrator task. Developers can help by taking their backups frequently while the upgrade is being done.
3. Check Compatibility
Software compatibility is a critical component of the upgrade process. Therefore, before upgrading, the new version needs to be checked to ensure that it can operate with other peer and dependent software within the enterprise.
If any software is not compatible or supported, a decision needs to be made if that software needs an upgrade of its own.
4. Plan, Test and Execute
Upgrading enterprise software can be complicated and requires much process and planning; it needs to be treated and managed as a project. A project manager would need to get business and technical buy-in, plan the different activities from installation, testing, and cutover and execute the actions by having regular status checks.
Resources would need to be assigned to do regression testing, particularly those programs which touch other systems and may be critical to the business operation. Moreover, performance testing needs to be done as the latest version’s new features might degrade the configuration’s performance if not done correctly.
All in all, upgrading enterprise software is often quite complicated. There are many ways in which problems can arise, making the process extremely challenging. So, if you want to test your systems before you perform the software upgrade, call SureLock Technology for help anywhere in Duluth, GA, or in the Metro Atlanta area.
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