Peoplesoft PeopleTools Upgrade

PeopleTools Upgrade to 8.53.20

I have just completed a PeopleTools upgrade from 8.52.10 to 8.53.20 on a production CRM 9.1 MP5 system. Everything went very smoothly but it was a very intense weekend due to the size of the production stack and the need to ensure all the configurations were correct. The environment to be upgraded comprise:

  • 4 web-only servers on Windows 2008 R2 each with a single PIA
  • 8 application servers on Windows 2008 R2 running 7 application server domains, 3 process schedulers, 1 dedicated PUB/SUB domain and 1 shared search server.
  • 1 clustered SQL Server 2008 R2 database

Things to watch out for on the upgrade, and some techniques I used to speed/simplify the process:

  1. Due to the number of servers involved I tried to do as much as I could ahead of the weekend whilst avoiding any installs that might impact the production environment.
  2. I installed into a fresh PS_HOME with separate PS_CFG_HOME, PS_APP_HOME and PS_CUST_HOME folders. This approach is not only cleaner but it kept the old software install intact for subsequent comparison – especially useful as I lacked detailed documentation of how each server was originally configured.
  3. A little bit of time spent creating batch scripts for the various software installs paid huge dividends. Simple batch scripts for creating the new folder structure, another to set the environment variables, a script to install the Weblogic as well as one to install Tuxedo rolling patch (RP140 in this case).
  4. I copied the install software to one of the servers in the production stack and set up drive mappings to that folder on each of the boxes ahead of time ready for the upgrade. Ideally, I would have had access to psexec from SysInternals to ease this process but unfortunately that was not an option here so good old RDP and a NET USE had to suffice.
  5. One of the Change Assistant steps in a PeopleTools upgrade is a manual one to clear down the Integration Broker (IB) message queues using the standard APPMSGPURGEALL DMS script. But if you have very large volumes, as we did, I would strongly suggest running these DELETEs as TRUNCATEs in your favourite SQL tool if you have any significant volume – mainly to reduce the amount of log data generated on SQL Server. In this case the IB data was around 70% of the database size!
  6. I opted to backup the IB message queue tables to the file system using bulk copy (bcp) for audit purposes – one file for each table with a matching XML format file. I did that and then compressed the resulting .bcp files with 7-Zip after the upgrade. Whether anyone will ever want to look at this data is extremely questionable.
  7. All of the standard process scheduler definitions will be overwritten by the PeopleTools upgrade. In our case the impact on PSNT (this is a Windows only site) was minimal as it only affected the distribution node being blanked out – but you may have made other changes e.g. setting up a daemon. I would suggest taking screenshots of all settings so you can put them back after the upgrade.
  8. For the PIAs I executed the standard PIA install script from sub-directory of PS_HOME\setup and filled in the configuration details that I knew but did not worry too much about the accuracy of many of the settings. Subsequently, I then used my favourite folder/file compare utility (Beyond Compare 4) to compare the PS_CFG_HOME\webserv sub-directory for the PIA to the old PIA folder structure. The key files to compare/bring forward are, any signin.html (branding) changes and associated images and the file for the IB gateway server if applicable. However, YMMV so it is worth looking at all the differences for relevance.
  9. For the Application Servers, Process Schedulers and Search servers I used psasdmin to create a skeleton definitions. I did not change any options – I just created each one in the usual way via the menu followed by a “load config as shown”. This created the necessary configuration directories and files but obviously they would not work. Again I used BC4 to bring forward the individual configuration details from the earlier PeopleTools release. Note that I did not just copy the files but compared the changes within each one and brought forward the changes line by line where appropriate. I also used BC4 to compare the .ubb files for the servers to establish which server configuration options had been selected via the menus in psadmin for each server at the previous release. Once the modified .cfg file was saved I then re-entered psadmin to set configure the server options. Note: I took the opportunity to make certain options consistent (e.g. whether Quick/Query servers were configured) across all domains. 
  10. I like to have “clean” servers so I un-installed all the old supporting software such as Weblogic 10.3.4, JRockit, Tuxedo 10g , Crystal runtime and the Microsoft runtime required by the PeopleTools development tools.
  11. As the server side of the install was going 64-bit on Windows with PeopleTools 8.53 I had to create 64-bit OBDC connections on the relevant servers. For the client tools, the existing 32-bit ODBC connections were re-used.

All in all, this was a very clean upgrade. No significant issues and it was completed in approximately one day – although admittedly a **long** day 🙂


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