Commentary

Commentary: Some Thoughts on my MicroStrategy v9.4.1 Upgrade Installation on my Laptop – PART 3

Readers:

I am back to continue and finish this three-part commentary about installing MicroStrategy v9.4.1 on my laptop.

Just also wanted to let you know that v9.4.1 Hotfix 2 was released on 02/12/2014 and is now available. I recommend you get your v9.4.1 GA version all up and running properly before you consider installing the Hotfix.

Best regards,

Michael

Reviewing Upgrade Prerequisites

Before you begin upgrading your MicroStrategy system, it is always a good practice to review the MicroStrategy Readme document so that you are aware of any changes from previous releases. You should also review the system prerequisites outlined in the Planning Your Installation chapter of the MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide.

If you do not review the MicroStrategy hardware and software requirements before upgrading, you may experience problems with the upgrade.

Database and Driver Requirements

Refer to Certified and Supported Configurations in the MicroStrategy Readme for updated information about specific database and driver combinations certified by MicroStrategy.

System Sizing Guidelines

There are several factors to consider when you initially set up your MicroStrategy system. These factors include the number of users that will access the system, report complexity, and whether or not you should employ caches. You should periodically re-evaluate your system and update it based on actual system performance and use.

In particular, before updating your metadata (see the Update the Metadata section below), MicroStrategy recommends that you have an amount of free disk space equal to at least twice the on-disk size of the metadata database.

A complete discussion of system sizing guidelines is beyond the scope of this blog entry. Refer to the Planning Your Installation chapter of the MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide for the latest details about sizing your system.

Due to performance improvements and enhancements, MicroStrategy version 9 may require more memory than version 8 for comparable functionality. In particular, if your MicroStrategy 8.x system is running on Windows and is approaching the 3 GB Windows memory limit, you may need to upgrade your Intelligence Server machines. For more information on MicroStrategy memory recommendations, see the system requirements in the MicroStrategy Readme and the Tuning chapter in the System Administration Guide.

Privileges and Access

Before upgrading, ensure you have the following:

  • If you are installing on a Windows system, you must have a login account with administrative privileges for the domain or target machine.
  • MicroStrategy Intelligence Server installation files. You can access the installation files from a disk or from a network location.
  • Write permissions in the installation directory; otherwise the installation/upgrade process fails.
  • If you have purchased a CPU-based MicroStrategy license and are installing on UNIX or Linux, you need root access permissions for installation.
  • A license key from MicroStrategy for the version of the MicroStrategy software that you are installing.

Checking for Supported Data Types

MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise supports a wide variety of data types for each supported warehouse database. However, some pre-Analytics Enterprise projects may contain data types not supported in MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise. If a project containing columns with unsupported data types is upgraded, the data types for those columns are assigned as “reserved,” and proper data types are not assigned in temporary tables. This affects report execution.

Before proceeding with the upgrade, you must ensure that all data types assigned in the pre-Analytics Enterprise project are supported in MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise.

See the MicroStrategy Project Design Guide for a listing of the supported data types for each database type and additional information about changing to supported data types.

Backing up the Metadata

Although the MicroStrategy installation process itself does not affect your project’s metadata, MicroStrategy recommends that you back up your metadata before any significant installation or upgrade. In most major MicroStrategy upgrades, a metadata update is required for all the pre-existing projects in your metadata. Once you update your metadata project, you cannot revert that metadata to a previous version. Therefore, MicroStrategy strongly recommends that you perform a full database backup of your original metadata prior to the upgrade.

MicroStrategy strongly recommends that you also tape backup, image, or ghost the production server before upgrading.

If you want to keep an old MicroStrategy Tutorial metadata repository and warehouse from a previous MicroStrategy version, rename the Microsoft Access files or move them to another location; otherwise, they are overwritten during the installation process. The Access files are installed by default in the MicroStrategyTutorial Reporting folder.

Updating the Project Metadata

MicroStrategy requires that you use the Configuration Wizard to update a metadata project created in a pre-Analytics Enterprise version of MicroStrategy to the latest version.

Be aware of the following:

  • If you are upgrading a MicroStrategy 8.x metadata that is stored in a DB2 UDB for z/OS database, refer to MicroStrategy Tech Note TN32695.
  • For assistance with updating MicroStrategy metadata projects from versions prior to MicroStrategy version 8.1.0, contact MicroStrategy Technical Support.

MicroStrategy requires that you update projects through an Intelligence Server connection (3-tier). Upgrading your project using a direct ODBC connection (2-tier) is not supported.

If you do not upgrade the metadata to the latest version, certain features will not work as expected. For example, if MicroStrategy Web Analytics Enterprise connects to a pre-Analytics Enterprise metadata through an Analytics Enterprise server, Change Journaling, Distribution Services, and some Report Services enhancements may not be available.

Downgrading Metadata Projects

Downgrading a MicroStrategy metadata or project to any previous product version is not supported. Once you update the project metadata to the latest version, you cannot downgrade to earlier product versions. Therefore, backing up the metadata is an essential step in the upgrade process as it allows you to revert to a backup version of the metadata, if necessary, to obtain pre-update versions of the projects it contains.

Configuring an Upgrade Test Environment

Your MicroStrategy environment includes multiple variables, such as security requirements, performance requirements, and VLDB settings, that are unique. MicroStrategy cannot anticipate all the ways these variables may interact with the upgrade process. Thus, MicroStrategy recommends you create a test environment and upgrade that environment first, then thoroughly test the upgraded installation. Once the tests are complete, then upgrade your production environment. This ensures that the upgrade of your production environment proceeds smoothly and any unexpected difficulties do not require additional downtime.

I will post a blog in the near future about testing your upgraded environment.

If you do not want to create a test environment, MicroStrategy recommends that you create and save an Integrity Manager integrity test baseline of your reports and documents. You can then execute an integrity test against this baseline when the upgrade is complete, to ensure that the upgrade has not altered any of your report results. For detailed information about using Integrity Manager to execute integrity tests, see the Integrity Manager chapter of the MicroStrategy System Administration Guide.

Best Practices for Configuring an Upgrade Test Environment

MicroStrategy recommends that you follow these best practices for configuring your upgrade test environment:

  • Do not modify any existing configuration objects. If you need additional configuration objects for testing, you can either create additional objects, or duplicate an existing object and modify it. This applies to database instances, connections and logins, security filters, users and user groups, and security roles.
  • If your production environment is clustered, then your test environment should also be clustered.
  • If your test and production data warehouses have different database table prefixes, make sure you are using the correct prefixes in the test environment’s Warehouse Catalog.
  • Create an integrity test comparing reports from the upgraded test environment with the same reports in the production environment, so that you can easily see where any differences are.
  • If possible, plan to execute data integrity and performance load tests against the production warehouse. This ensures that the test scenarios are as representative of the production environment as possible.
  • If you are creating reports and documents specifically for an upgrade integrity test, create those reports and documents before you duplicate the production metadata.
  • If you are using connection mapping for users to access the data warehouse, check to be sure that all users can log in to the test data warehouse, since user passwords may differ between the test warehouse and the production warehouse.

One way to manage this is to create a new generic database login, and then use the following sample Command Manager script to change users’ connection mappings to use this new login:

ALTER CONNECTION MAP FOR USER “

username” DBINSTANCE “production_warehouse_instance” DBLOGIN “test_login” ON PROJECT “project“;

For steps to use Command Manager, see the Command Manager Help, or the Command Manager chapter of the MicroStrategy System Administration Guide.

  • If you are using Narrowcast Server, make sure that the database copy of the Narrowcast repositories is not used when setting up the Narrowcast Server test environment. Instead, make a copy of the repositories with the Copy Repository utility included with Narrowcast Administrator and use this copy. This ensures that the test environment does not accidentally refer to a production server. For detailed instructions on creating a copy of the Narrowcast repositories, see the Narrowcast Server Upgrade Guide.

High-level Steps to Configure an Upgrade Test Environment

To ensure that your tests accurately reflect the upgrade experience, the upgrade test environment should reflect the production environment as closely as possible.

To Configure a Test Environment

  1. Set up the hardware for the environment. MicroStrategy recommends that this hardware duplicate the configuration of the production environment as closely as possible.
  2. Install your current version of MicroStrategy in the test environment.
  3. Using the Project Duplication Wizard, duplicate the production metadata into the test environment. For instructions on using the Project Duplication Wizard, see the Managing Your Projects chapter of the MicroStrategy System Administration Guide, or see the Project Duplication Wizard Help.
  4. Make sure that your test environment Intelligence Server is connected to your test environment metadata, and not your production metadata.
  5. If you do not intend to execute your tests against a production warehouse, duplicate the production warehouse, and ensure that the test environment points to the duplicate warehouse and not the production warehouse.
  6. Upgrade the test environment.
  7. Test the upgrade. Again, a future blog topic.

Upgrade Deployment Tests

Deploying the upgrade involves installing, activating, configuring, and running the upgrade processes for Intelligence Server, MicroStrategy Web Server, and MicroStrategy Mobile Server, as well as for the metadata, Narrowcast Server, and Enterprise Manager data repositories. These changes, as well as any other procedures that alter the production environment, should be tested when setting up the test environment.

Deployment tests should be performed by MicroStrategy administrators who normally have the responsibility of tuning and monitoring the MicroStrategy installation.

 

Reference Materials

Some detailed information about installing and configuring MicroStrategy products is beyond the scope of this blog entry and can be found in the MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide. The MicroStrategy Installation and Configuration Guide provides detailed procedures on installing and configuring your MicroStrategy system. It also includes important information about installing, deploying, and configuring MicroStrategy Universal products.

In addition, the MicroStrategy Readme contains information about the new products, new features, and bug fixes available in MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise.

For detailed instructions for upgrading Narrowcast Server, refer to the Narrowcast Server Upgrade Guide.

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