As mentioned in previous posts, many clients are struggling with the upgrade to Documentum 6.5. Typically, the upgrade of the Documentum components are only one piece of what can be a difficult puzzle. Upgrading servers, operating systems, databases, and document manipulation services all add a level of complexity and coordination. This post will highlight typical components/functions and TSG’s thoughts and recommendations. Thanks to the clients (you know who you are) that contributed so much of the content to this post.
Most clients determine to upgrade all other server components during the upgrade. Some general guidelines:
- Consult the Product Information System on Powerlink.
- Don’t look to the absolute latest version of your database (Oracle, SQL Server) as Documentum support is typically added later.
- Avoid the “small boat” or limited user base. Examples include AIX and HP-UX Operating System, and Sybase or DB2 Databases. Our clients have struggled with support or other issues that are unique to these platforms. When in doubt, we recommend Linux, Sun Solaris, or Windows for server operating system, Oracle or SQL Server for Database and Tomcat or potentially WebLogic for the application server. Some results from a quick production environment poll Documentum conducted for 460 customers who had acquired D6 or D6.5
- 54% use Oracle, 32% SQL Server, 14%, Other (DB2 or Sybase)
- 50% use Tomcat, 23% Weblogic, 14% Websphere, 13% Other (Oracle or Sun)
In the old days, the cost of the servers (we saw a lot of Sun) was a huge component of the infrastructure. With clients moving to Linux/Windows more and more, it is easier and less costly to upgrade the server hardware. As mentioned in a previous post, upgrading to new servers simplifies the upgrade process as it provides more flexibility in regards to fall-back and timing. From a cost perspective, we have been recommending Linux both for internal as well as cloud options. One caveat in regards to Linux and HP-UX Itanium, make sure the content server supports eSignature manifestation if that is one of your requirements. As of this post, Documentum, leveraging PDF Fusion, does not support eSignatures on these platforms. We are working with a client to substitute OpenOverlay for their environment.
Closely tied to server architecture is high availability. Many clients are looking at clustering given the price of new servers/OS (particularly in the Linux world), as well as just better practices, particularly virtual machines. Clustering, Load Balancing, Oracle RAC and other options should be thought through during the upgrade process. Work with your infrastructure teams to build HA into your architecture as you build the new system.
Moving from Webtop 5.2.5 or 5.3 to Webtop 6.5 typically has the most impact of the architecture components. Issues with the Webtop upgrade include:
- Upgrading Customizations – depending on level of customization, this can be a major undertaking.
- Upgrading Add-on components – as mentioned later in this post, 3rd party Webtop components such as annotation tools, PDF Overlay and other WDK add-ons will mostly likely need to be upgraded to support the target Webtop version.
We typically recommend clients move to the latest Service Pack 1 version or above (ex: Webtop 6.5 SP1, SP2 or beyond) as the initial releases can be tricky as we learned with 5.3.
For many clients, this can be a complicated decision. Factors include:
- Existing Annotations – if the migration/upgrade requires access to existing annotations, the new system will have to be able to read them. Some annotation tools store the annotation format in their own proprietary format and can’t be read by other tools.
- Documentum PDF Annotation Services – as part of the upgrade, many clients would like to move to annotation services from Documentum.
- Other Tools – Clients disappointed with current tools can look at PDF Annotation services or a variety of other tools (Snowbound, Brava) however be sure to check Webtop version support as not all annotation tools support the latest version of Webtop and service packs.
- Cost – Tools aren’t cheap and typically require a license per user.
- Support – Many tools require a client side add-on which can be difficult to deploy and maintain across a diverse client base (and potentially different browsers).
We have worked with clients to upgrade annotation tools as well as release a free viewer/annotation tool with OpenAnnotate (coming soon) to give clients additional flexibility.
Lastly, TSG recommends looking at how annotations are used. Many times the requirements don’t call for annotations but more general rejection comments. We typically do not recommend that clients leverage annotation tools for an editorial (grammar and wording) review. A better approach is to use Word “Track Changes” within a review cycle that doesn’t require annotations but more of a check-in/check-out of the Word document.
In a controlled document system, metadata from Documentum (document number, release date, document title…) must appear correctly on the header/footer of released documents. Clients that have committed to PDFaqua are going to face the conversion to PDF Stamping Services in Webtop 6.5 due to our understanding (as of the date of this post) that PDFaqua will not be supported in Webtop 6.5.
Similar to annotations, TSG does offer a free overlay tool, OpenOverlay, that has been very successful in replacing PDFaqua leveraging iText.
While Full-Text search comes free with Documentum, clients need to remember that server (potentially new servers) infrastructure is required with FAST or the upcoming Documentum Search Services. We typically recommend proof of concept activities to determine how to manage the index server when it comes to typical index maintenance (index rebuild) as it will affect the upgrade process.
WDK or DFC Applications
As we pointed out in a previous post, WDK applications will need to be migrated/rewritten depending on the level of customization and complexity. Applications written on the DFC have proven to be easily upgradable. Be sure to verify how many external systems are pulling or pushing content from your content server. Are they using DFC to communicate?
Check your Licenses
As most users are aware, Documentum’s price list is pretty large and can be somewhat confusing. Software licensed under an old model (user, named user, CPU) is not currently supported by Documentum and can leave you vunerable to an software audit. Use an upgrade as a chance to review your license structure and usage. If you move to virtual/cluster/etc, does your licensing allow for this type of support?
Browser and Java Support
Double check the release notes in regards to client, browser and Java support. For most of our clients, Documentum has supported the major browsers and recent Java versions. One issue some clients have in regards to external users (extranet) is that the client browser doesn’t always meet Documentum specifications. We’ve had some clients’ plan their 6.5 upgrade but forget to upgrade their JRE to 1.5 or 1.6, causing problems.
Users should check on their Document and XML rendering engines – are they yet 6.5 certified? (Our understanding is Liquent is far behind and was recently purchased (again). Documentum products (ADTS, DTS) are probably not so much an issue.
Eclipse – Don’t leave the developers out
Documentum 6.x uses Eclipse as the foundation for development (rather than DAB). If you’re not an Eclipse shop, or if you’re not already standardized on it, look to get everyone standardized and trained now, and look into Eclipse plug-ins for your common development tools (source code tools, analyzers, etc).
One of the new features with Webtop 6.5 is the ability to leverage web performance analysis tools. Look into if your architecture group has standards for those tools, and look to leverage them into your implementation plan to performance/load test your new 6.x environment.