To determine the upgrade path you must follow when upgrading to a newer version of Identity Manager, see Upgrade Paths and Support Policies in Sun Identity Manager 8.1 Release Notes. Generally, use the latest available patch or service pack for the version to which you are upgrading.
The Identity Manager standard upgrade process performs steps that are necessary to convert existing repository objects into the format that the newer version of Identity Manager expects. In particular, the updater programs that are shipped with each version of Identity Manager contain special logic that preserves the original meaning and behavior of these objects. Each updater program updates a specific type of configuration object, and each updater is invoked by an ImportCommand within update.xml or within a file that update.xml includes. Updated versions of preexisting objects often use slightly different mechanisms than those used in the sample objects that ship with the new Identity Manager version.
If you are upgrading Identity Manager, you must follow the required upgrade path noted in Upgrade Paths and Support Policies in Sun Identity Manager 8.1 Release Notes.
Even if you plan to perform a clean installation of Identity Manager and migrate your customizations to the new Identity Manager version, you must apply the standard upgrade process for each version of Identity Manager to properly update existing repository objects. The updater programs that are shipped with each version of Identity Manager work only with that version.
Simply comparing the objects that are produced by importing the new init.xml file with the objects that are produced by importing the old init.xml file is not a sufficient way to detect the changes that must be made in order to upgrade existing repository objects. Comparing these two sets of objects is a quick way to estimate the effort associated with an upgrade, but the standard upgrade path is the best way to achieve a safe and complete upgrade.