What about to upgrade to Oracle SOA Suite 12.2.1?

This is my last post of the year.
Strangely this was the year with less posts here in Oracle Radio. And not only that, but I started to do it in English.

Since 2007 I’ve been feeding this blog in Spanish, but for some specific posts I just decided to do it in English to get to a greater audience.
So what about to upgrade to Oracle SOA Site 12.2.1? Is the name of this post.

For the last 7 weeks or so I’ve been upgrading, together with one of my colleagues, around 5 domains of SOA Suite 12.1.3 to 12.2.1. It’s been quite an effort, because those very same domains, were upgraded from, so there is a lot of history in them.
They’ve been serving a large SOA implementation, a mission critical implementation that is part of the core for this institution. So the challenge was an important one.
To fail and not be able to rollback was not an option, the maintenance window for the production environment was not that large.
But I insist: what about upgrading it? Does it really work? Is it well documented? Why doing so? 

Well, it is definitely documented by Oracle. It really works. That is the reality. Doing this must be something to have in mind for anyone using 12.1.3.x, I really encourage you to do it. Do not hesitate to do it. It will give you much more stability to your SOA platform.
If you are using Oracle BAM 12c, then this is something you need to do, a lot of bugs were solved with this upgrade. Same thing with BPM. The UI has changed for the ADF ALTA version, which is very clean and even elegant, I would say:


If you are already using Oracle Cloud products, this will be very familiar for you. Oracle Enterprise Manger – Fusion Middleware Control has been always an slow UI. Now is not the exception, but seems to be little less slow. But it is definitive much more intuitive and easy to use, take a look at this:
 That is the home page. Doing nothing but login, you already know who is your environment working. And as you can see, the left panel is not visible, the UI is delivering you what you need, not a lot of buttons and options. If you need to do something with SOA or OSB, then click to the left button at the top of the page:

 You will get what you are used to at the left of the Window. For SBConsole there is no exception:

 The UI is also ALTA, and it looks very clean as well. Oracle BAM is also having a different look with ALTA:

But besides of highlighting new features or the new UI, what I really want to share is the experience:
 1. Never forgot to make a backup. The domain backup and the oracle home backup is a simple file system of directory backup. So do not hesitate to do it

 2. Try to have a installation where your DOMAIN_HOME is separated from the ORACLE_HOME. Because when you upgrade you need to create a new ORACLE_HOME, so if you have it in the same directory, you will end with a trick directory distribution. So always have the practice to install the DOMAIN_HOME and the ORACLE_HOME in different directories and if possible, in different file systems, that is even better.

 3. The database backup should be with RMAN, do not make a data pump back up. In case you need to rollback and you have a backup with just data pump, then a lot of objects will not be compiled and you will have a terrible time trying to get your things together

 4. There is a table that the RCU creates within the SYSDBA schema, that is the table that stores the versions of the different components. So that table should be backed up as well

 5. Always run the readiness script. This will tell you if you are ready to upgrade

 6. In our case a set of datasources were created with the GRID Link option. Those were custom datasources that we use in our services. Well, it happens that were created without the ONS information, and while doing the reconfig step, that crashed because the datasources validation. The reconfig script simply stop and does not tell you something related with it, so we had to go datasource per datasource to check which one was causing the trouble. That happened in at least 3 domains. I am referring to this http://stackoverflow.com/questions/33745327/weblogic-12-2-1-upgrade-domain-reconfigure-sh 6. With WL 12.2.1 TLS is used instead of SSL. If you have .NET consumers that has explicit declaration of SSL3 to consume you, they will have problems to communicate with your services. So before doing any communication that your upgrade is ready, test with the rest of the consumers to avoid those type of problems.

 7. Try to have a good window of time to make the upgrade. For our 3rd domain, since we “knew” how to do it, we just asked for 2 hours; it wasn’t good enough. So take your time, try to have at least 5 hours for doing so .

 This post is just tying to make it clear that the upgrade is very possible, and it is actually not that complicated. If you need assistance, do not hesitate to contact me and my team.

 Have a great 2016!