We're preparing the LEM 5.6 Release Candidate for release to the customer portal. This post includes what to test, what to look for, and a few caveats or notes that we wanted to pass on. I'll update as it's released to different customers on the portal.
This release candidate is: LEM 5.6 Release Candidate 2, released on: May 3, 2013.
- On portal for TriGeo SIM customers: May 9
- On portal for SolarWinds LEM customers: May 9
- On portal for SolarWinds LEM Workstation Edition customers: TBD (Let me know if you're interested!)
Background: What's New in LEM 5.6
In this release, we've focused on three major areas:
- Migrating our database infrastructure to a new infrastructure that enables new features and functionality, including improvements to our nDepth search view and archiving capabilities (hooray, no more full backup style archives!)
- Updating our Build>Rules view to make it much faster to find and categorize both templates and custom rules
- Adding and tracking Workstation Edition licensing separate from "Universal" (standard) licensing
We've also rolled up all connector updates available on the portal to date and resolved some outstanding issues, generally where they relate to areas we were making changes in. Customers with issues resolved in 5.6 will also get an email directly letting you know an issue you experienced has been fixed in this release.
Background: What's New in RC2 vs RC1
RC1 was only released to a handful of customers. Based on their feedback and our experience, we've made a few changes to areas in the upgrade and documentation, but no major changes of note otherwise.
What to Test in LEM 5.6 RC2
We are specifically interested in feedback around:
- Upgrading and migrating your database.
- If you encounter any issues with the upgrade itself, you get confused by something, or something doesn't work as expected.
- If your database migration takes significantly longer than the estimate, appears to get "stuck", or fails for any reason.
- The new rule navigation and categorization.
- Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? Wish it had something it doesn't?
- Is it confusing? Could we make it even more awesome?
- Are there rules you wish we had in different categories or that you expected to see there but couldn't find?
What was Updated in LEM 5.6 RC2
From 5.5, you will need to update:
- LEM and SIM Core Appliance (all types - manager, database, syslog)
- LEM Console
- LEM Reports
No material changes were made to the LEM Agents or MSSQL Auditor.
Upgrade Info and Details
All of these details and more are in the Upgrade Guide.
- Download the upgrade zip file from the Customer Portal (you'll see an RC listed, then the first download will be the Upgrade zip file).
- Extract it somewhere.
- Create a network share and copy/move the "TriGeo" and "Upgrade" files to the root of the share. (Sometimes other methods work, but this is the most fool-proof. Generally mounting shares with special characters or deep paths requires Obi-Wan level Force skills.)
- Log in to your LEM appliance(s) and run the "upgrade" command in the Advanced Configuration/CMC.
- If you have multiple appliances, upgrade the core manager appliance first, the rest in any order.
- You will be prompted for two possible scenarios: if you don't have enough space for us to guarantee all data will migrate; and to make an archive or take a snapshot since the upgrade is irreversible.
During the upgrade, you see a warning about migration not having enough disk space. What does this mean, how does it work, and what do you do?
LEM customers with virtual appliances may see a warning that you'll need to resize your virtual appliance in order to not have any data impacted (deleted) by the migration. SIM customers can't resize, but will see a warning that some of your data might be affected. There's no guarantee how much data will be deleted to make room for the migration process, so we are being very cautious with our warning message.
Migration works by moving data, piece by piece, from the old format to the new format, then deleting the old format copy. We're pretty careful about when we finally delete the original copy, and when you add that to the core formatting changes, there are scenarios that end with us needing to make room. Just like the LEM database, migration always prioritizes your NEWEST data and deletes your OLDEST data first. If/when you choose to continue without resizing (or are a SIM customer), your newest data will not be affected, and we'll only remove old data when we absolutely have to in order to make room.
For LEM customers that do want to make space by expanding the disk, there are instructions in the KB as to how (5.6 upgrading customers can now resize past 1TB so ignore that warning, the rest of the instructions are all valid).
During the upgrade, you're asked to take a snapshot and/or archive. What does this mean, and what do you do?
Since it's not possible to downgrade from this upgrade to the previous version after you start (as with all LEM upgrades), we're reminding you to take a snapshot and/or archive. If you're in one of the above scenarios where you have to resize your disk or possibly have data deleted to make room for migrating data, the archive will also serve as your original copy. If anything happens, we can help you access your archived data.
For all customers, instructions for making an archive are in the KB (archiveconfig - the equivalent of a backupconfig happens automatically during the upgrade, but it doesn't hurt to have one of those, too). Taking a snapshot is done in your virtualization software and is generally pretty straightforward and will take a few minutes.
Post-Upgrade Caveats & Info
- You will see a Migration Status banner at the top of your screen. Right now the "more details" knowledgebase article isn't live, but it will report to you how long the migration of your database is going to take. The estimate is just that, an estimate, but it will get better as it works through the data.
- Database migration starts with the NEWEST data and works back to the OLDEST data. While your data is migrating, you can't access it via nDepth search or Reports.
- You can use the database maintenance report in the Reports application to see how far back your migrated data is available. You can also perform searches, but the maintenance report is faster.
- Your Custom Rules will appear in a "Custom" category. To edit the labels, just edit a rule and click on the "labels" hyperlink on the top right. You can create your own or assign the same labels as our templates
- Your Ops Center "Top 10" and related widgets will only refresh on a 10-minute window, instead of a 1-minute window. You can always press the "Refresh" button if you need to see the info more frequently. You can also adjust the window; we chose 10 minutes based on customer feedback between the release of 5.5 and 5.6, and to ease resource contention.
Caveats and possible issues:
- If you encounter a situation where your Ops Center "Top 10" and related widgets have a red exclamation point, run an nDepth Search for the last 10 minutes. If you see a red band there with an error, please let us know under what circumstances you encountered this.
- If you encounter any issues with the upgrade, are confused by the prompts, or wish the documentation included something, please let us know.
- If you have multiple appliances connected to a single LEM console, you might need to disconnect from one of them when performing nDepth searches - if you fall into this category, let us know so we can add you to the list as we address these issues.
The release notes linked in the portal/console are still the 5.5 release notes, so as I get more information to note, I'll let you know here.