Alfresco upgrade paths for Community Edition

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Installing Alfresco 5.1.g from scratch
Upgrading Alfresco from 5.1.e (201602) to 5.1.f (201604)

Alfresco Enterprise, aka Alfresco One, has its own and detailed upgrade path including versions from 2.2.x to 5.1.

However, Community edition has no equivalent resource. Below, our experience on upgrading an Alfresco installation from 3.4.d to 5.1.f is described.

Targeting and upgrade path

Based on Alfresco Enterprise chart and our previous experiences, our first approach was to try with:
3.4.d > 4.2.f > 5.0.d > 5.1.f

Preparing tools for upgrading process

  • Clean installation of every Alfresco release available and tested. Components or installers can be downloaded at Alfresco wiki
  • Each installation with its own alf_data file system and PostgreSQL database
  • A common PostgreSQL database is available to be used as upgrading structure
  • CMIS client ready to check different Alfresco releases
  • Initial installation having folders and files (200 MB storage) in Alfresco 3.4.d repository

Upgrading

For every upgrading step:

  • Making a backup for contents and database in initial version (p. e. 3.4.d)
  • Copying contents from alf_data/contentstore and alf_data/contentstore.deleted folders in initial version (p. e. 3.4.d) to target version (p. e. 4.2.g) by removing previously existing contents
  • Removing SOLR indexes for target version (p. e. 4.2.f)
  • Updating database configuration in alfresco-global.properties for target version (p. e. 4.2.f) to use common PostgreSQL database
  • Starting Alfresco server for target version (p. e. 4.2.f) in order to upgrade database structure
  • Use CMIS client to verify content integrity in target version (p. e. 4.2.f)

During this process, we identified a problem upgrading from 3.4.d to 4.2.f. As our database was corrupted by this transition, we restored previous version and we included 4.0.d as new step in our upgrading path. So, 4.2.f had to be re-installed and a new Alfresco 4.0.d had to be installed.

After the modification, our process worked without further problems, so the final path was:
3.4.d > 4.0.d > 4.2.f > 5.0.d > 5.1.f

All these steps were performed in one hour or so, the time necessary to upgrade an Alfresco installation from 3.4.d (year 2010) to 5.1.f (year 2016) in a safer way.

Reminder

  • Having a reverse process for every step (data and configuration)
  • Having a content validator (CMIS or not) and better if it can be launched automatically
  • Making the whole process in test environments before going on customers installations

Alfresco an be upgraded safe and fast, but is always required to configure some tools before starting with the process.

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