Get ready DocAve v5.x customers – your time is here. With the release of DocAve 6 Service Pack (SP) 1, it’s time to start planning your upgrade! This post will review the reasons why you will want to consider upgrading, the process for doing so, and some planning considerations as well as best practices to keep in mind.
DocAve 6 has many enhancements and changes from what you have today in DocAve 5.x. We have a brand new, all Microsoft.NET technology stack for the DocAve manager services, better availability and disaster recovery of all DocAve services, powerful new Storage Optimization features and many, many more. Because of the structural changes needed to enable all of this functionality, upgrading to the DocAve 6 platform from 5.x should be thought of as more of a “migration” than an upgrade. Not everything is in the same place it was before, and components like the DocAve databases, DocAve storage objects, and even some product responsibilities have changed. Also, unlike a traditional “upgrade”, the 5.x to 6 migration does not affect any of your existing DocAve 5 databases, plans, or data. This allows you the peace of mind that, if needed, you can roll back to a fully functioning DocAve 5.x at any time.
Along with DocAve 6 SP1, AvePoint is delivering all of the tools you will need to perform your upgrade. These upgrade tools consist of functionality in the DocAve 6 SP1 control panel as well as a simple wizard-based tool that will be generally available on Friday, October 5. The wizard walks you through the upgrade process step-by step, and provides feedback about any issues that you might want to address, including missing dependencies and items that you may want to look at more closely to take advantage of enhanced functionality in our latest platform release.
At a very high level, the upgrade process involves the following steps:
1. Standing Up DocAve 6 SP1 in Your Environment
In this step you will install DocAve 6 SP1 on the same hardware that you are currently using to run DocAve 5. The two versions can run side-by-side, allowing you to do the upgrade as quickly or as slowly as your business needs dictate. When you are finished conducting and verifying your upgrade, you can uninstall DocAve 5.
2. Converting your DocAve 5 Storage Locations over to DocAve 6 (“logical devices”)
The storage device model in DocAve 6 is slightly different, allowing for more flexibility and availability. So, this part of the process allows you to map DocAve 5 storage locations to DocAve 6. This first step is quickly and efficiently handled in the upgrade wizard and can port all of your DocAve 5 devices over to DocAve 6 in a single step. Afterward, your devices are available in both DocAve 5 and DocAve 6 SP1.
3. Converting your DocAve v5 Plans to DocAve 6
Also handled by the wizard, this step allows you to take DocAve 5 plans, profiles, and schedules (Backup, Archiver, Content Manager, Replicator, Report Center) and copy them over to DocAve 6 SP1. Again, the DocAve 5 plans are not affected, so you now have access to your plans from both DocAve 5 and 6. The wizard will alert you to plans you should take a look at after migrating, due to changed or enhanced functionality you might want to utilize in DocAve 6. This plan conversion step will literally save you hours of recreating DocAve 5 plans.
4. Making DocAve 5 Data Available in DocAve 6 (Historical Report and Auditing Data, Backup Data, Archive Data, Externalized BLOBs)
This step is accomplished through a combination of the wizard and the DocAve control panel.
a. Historical report and audit data
This simply involves populating the DocAve 6 Report Database with data from the DocAve 5 Report Database. This is done through the upgrade wizard and ensures that, once you de-commission DocAve 5, DocAve 6 SP1 will still allow you to report on all of your historical configuration and compliance history.
b. Backup and Archiver data
Backup and Archiver data is actually read-able by DocAve 6. However, the index format for that data has changed. That is good news because the index can be converted from DocAve 5 to DocAve 6 in seconds. It’s up to you if you want to do this index creation for all your past backup/archive data, or wait and do it only when you have a need to restore or browse the content of that data. Either way, the process is quick and takes up very little space. Again, the process does not touch the older DocAve 5 index so you now can do your restores from either platform. Backup and Archiver data upgrades are done through the DocAve control panel’s “Data Manager”.
c. Externalized Binary Large Objects (BLOBs)
In the DocAve 6 platform, we have optimized the storage and retrieval of BLOBs, and therefore the way we reference those externalized BLOBs have changed. While DocAve 5 and DocAve 6 SP1 are both running and active, DocAve 5’s BLOB provider will continue to retrieve historical BLOBs while DocAve 6 will be in charge of creating all new BLOBs for files that are added or updated. When you are ready to decommission DocAve 5, you will need to step through a conversion process to enable DocAve 6 SP1 to read any historical BLOBs. There are two options for doing this. The default method is simple, easy, and completely risk-free but essentially involves re-ingesting and re-exporting the BLOB (essentially making another copy). While this method is very safe, it does come at a cost of extra storage as you will temporarily have two copies of each BLOB. In environments that have a significant amount of externalized BLOB content, this approach may not be practical, so there is another option which simply “shifts” possession of the DocAve 5 BLOBs to DocAve 6 SP1 without the need for extra storage. Because this method requires your configurations to be correct in order to avoid data loss, customers who wish to use this method should engage AvePoint’s technical support teams or their AvePoint representative for more information on this process.
Once any externalized BLOBs are moved over to DocAve 6 SP1, you are ready to “cut the cord” and de-commission DocAve 5 if you wish. There may be some manual conversion and cleanup you will have to do given the tools you were using under DocAve 5. For example, Storage Optimization tools in DocAve 6 are much more flexible than what you had in DocAve 5 (e.g. multiple rules per scope, scheduled and real time extending of BLOBs using Storage manager, etc.) so you will want to re-think your optimal BLOB externalization strategy and re-creating it in DocAve 6 SP1. An upgrade to the wizard tool releasing in just a few weeks will allow you pull a consolidated report showing all of your DocAve 5 BLOB externalization settings to assist in the creation of your new strategy.
We are looking forward to seeing our DocAve 5 customer base experience the power and ease of use of DocAve 6 SP1. We know some of you have been waiting a long time. WELL THE WAIT IS OVER. Here is what you can start doing TODAY to get ready for the move to DocAve 6 SP1:
1. Get to DocAve 5.7 or later
The upgrade tools only support DocAve 5.7x and 5.8. If you need to upgrade to this DocAve 5 version, start planning now.
2. Get DocAve 6 SP1 installed on the same system running your DocAve 5.x Control Service
The upgrade tool requires that your DocAve 5 and DocAve 6 Control Services are running on the same system.
3. Plan your co-existence strategy
How long will you leave the two systems running side by side? Which system will be responsible for running daily jobs (be sure to go into Job Monitor and pause scheduled jobs for the system that you will not be using for these daily tasks once your plans are present in both). Which system will you use for restores? Have a plan for this and communicate clearly to the rest of your administration team.
4. Plan for the conversion of your externalized BLOBs to DocAve 6 SP1
Which of the BLOB conversion methods will you use? Can you afford the extra storage space of the default method? Will you want to get AvePoint support involved and use the faster but riskier method? Do you want to leave DocAve 5 and 6 active for a period of time so that your DocAve 5 BLOBs will be slowly pruned as users update content and DocAve 6 takes control of the BLOB through normal operations? There are many strategies you can look at given your particular situation.
Regardless of how you decide to conduct your upgrade, you can feel confident that the process is designed to be safe and easy. The ability to rollback (up until BLOBs are converted) means that you can feel confident that you will not put any of your daily operations at risk. AvePoint’s tech writers are putting the finishing touches on a very detailed upgrade guide that will release along with the upgrade wizard later this week, and our top notch support teams are trained and ready to assist with any questions or issues you may have during the process.
Welcome to DocAve 6 – we’ve been waiting for you.