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Oracle® Fusion Middleware Upgrade Guide for Oracle WebLogic Server
11g Release 1 (10.3.6)

Part Number E13754-07
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G WebLogic Server Rolling Upgrade

Rolling Upgrade is the process of upgrading a running WebLogic Server cluster with a patch, maintenance pack, or minor release without shutting down the entire cluster or domain. During the rolling upgrade of a cluster, each server in the cluster is individually upgraded and restarted while the other servers in the cluster continue to host your application.

Before the WebLogic Server 9.2 release, to upgrade a cluster, you had to either shut down the entire domain, or install the upgraded server version on a parallel domain on additional hardware and use a load balancer to transfer load from the old domain to the new domain. The rolling upgrade process minimizes downtime and allows you to install a patch, maintenance pack, or minor release while the domain is still running.

The following topics are included:

Scope of the Rolling Upgrade Process

Support for rolling upgrade was available starting with WebLogic Server 9.2. The scope of rolling upgrade support encompasses installation of patches and maintenance packs as they are made available for WebLogic Server 10.x.

Note:

Rolling upgrade should be used only when upgrading WebLogic Server to the next sequential version within a major product release. For example, if you have WebLogic Server 10.3.4 and you want to upgrade to version 10.3.6, you first must upgrade to version 10.3.5, and then again from 10.3.5 to 10.3.6. Do not skip WebLogic Server versions with rolling upgrade; for example, do not use rolling upgrade to move from version 10.0 to 10.3.6 in a single upgrade operation. You cannot use rolling upgrade to upgrade from a release in one major product version to a release of a subsequent major version; for example, you cannot use rolling upgrade for upgrading from WebLogic Server 9.0 to 10.0.

Rolling upgrade is most applicable to a cluster of WebLogic Server instances, however, you can also install updates to a domain of Managed Servers that are not in a cluster. This documentation focuses on installing upgrades in a cluster.

You can also uninstall a patch, maintenance pack, or minor release in a rolling fashion.

You can still upgrade to the latest patch using other strategies including bringing applications down in order to perform WebLogic Server upgrades, and restarting applications after WebLogic Server upgrades are complete. The rolling upgrade process provides you with an option of upgrading a running WebLogic Server cluster without shutting down the entire cluster or domain.

Before you Begin

Before you begin the upgrade process, make sure that you take any necessary precautions such as:

Rolling Upgrade Process

The rolling upgrade process includes stopping the Administration Server, installing the upgrade, restarting the Administration Server, and then doing the same for each Managed Server in the cluster. See the following sections for more information:

Quiescing and Stopping Servers

Before you install the WebLogic Server update on a server, you must first shut down the server. Before server shutdown, depending on your environment, it might be necessary for you to:

  1. Stop load balancers or Web Servers from sending requests or traffic to the server.

  2. Complete any pending processes.

  3. Gracefully shut down the server.

Shutdown Servers in a Cluster

You can shut down a Managed Server from the command line, in a WLST script, or from the Administration Console.

From the command line, you can gracefully shut down the server using the Graceful Shutdown command. This command waits for all the in-process work to be completed before shutting down the server or cluster.

For information about using the Graceful Shutdown command, see "shutdown" in WebLogic Scripting Tool Command Reference. For information about how to shut down the Managed Server from the Console, see "Shutdown servers in a cluster" in Oracle WebLogic Server Administration Console Help.

Notes:

Observe the following:

  • When using the WLST shutdown() command, make sure that you are connected to the Managed Server instance you want to stop. For information about using WLST to shut down servers, see "Managing the Server Life Cycle" in Oracle WebLogic Scripting Tool.

  • Make sure that you stop all server instances that use the same installed WebLogic Server files.

Installing a Patch, Maintenance Pack, or Minor Release

After you stop the running server on your computer, install the maintenance upgrade. For information obtaining the maintenance upgrade, see the appropriate topic listed in the following table:

For information about . . . . . . see the following document

Downloading and installing patches

"Downloading and Applying Patches" in Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs

Downloading an installer for a minor release

Either of the following in Oracle WebLogic Server Installation Guide:

Downloading an upgrade installer

"Downloading an Upgrade Installer From My Oracle Support" in Oracle WebLogic Server Installation Guide


There are multiple methods for installing the maintenance upgrade. The following sections provide information about each of these options.

Installing Patches Using Smart Update

You can use the Smart Update feature to periodically check for available patches. When you start Smart Update, it checks the version numbers of the products installed (associated with the current Middleware Home directory), and then connects to My Oracle Support to check for available patches. For more information about using Smart Update, see Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs.

Using the Command Line Interface

In most cases, the maintenance upgrade can be distributed and installed using a script. You can create a mechanism for replicating a specific maintenance level of an Oracle product that is installed on multiple machines. This capability is especially valuable in production environments, in which the distribution of software updates to machines must be implemented in a controlled, reliable, and reproducible manner.

You can use the Smart Update bsu command, which you can use to apply patches, interactively or by using a script, that have been downloaded into a patch download directory. For more information, see "Using the Command-Line Interface" in Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs.

Silent Installation

Silent-mode installation is a way of setting installation configurations only once and then using those configurations to duplicate the installation on many machines. During installation in silent mode, the installation program reads the settings for your configuration from an XML file that you create before beginning the installation. The installation program does not display any configuration options during the installation process. Silent installation applies only to a minor version installation. For more information, see "Running the Installation Program in Silent Mode" in the Oracle WebLogic Server Installation Guide.

Additional Information

Restarting Servers

After you install the maintenance upgrade, it might be necessary to modify start scripts before you restart your server. For more information, see "Activating Applied Patches in Your Installations and Applications" in Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs. In addition, other post install tasks that you must do vary depending on your environment and the type of maintenance that you installed.

For an overview of methods for starting and stopping server instances, see "Starting and Stopping Servers" in Managing Server Startup and Shutdown for Oracle WebLogic Server.

If required, it might be necessary for you to reconfigure your Web server or load balancer after the server is started so that requests are again sent to the server.

Steps in Rolling Upgrade Process for a Patch and Minor Release

A patch is a file containing a fix or a small number of fixes that you can install using Smart Update. A patch is typically created to fix a software defect. A patch can be installed using Smart Update (recommended) or by referencing the patch at the beginning of the classpath.

A maintenance pack is a group of fixes combined into one file. Maintenance packs can be installed by downloading an installer from My Oracle Support. Both maintenance packs and patches are applied to an existing installation.

Note:

You cannot use Smart Update to download and install the WebLogic 10.3.6 release over an existing WebLogic Server 10.3.x release. Instead, you must download the appropriate WebLogic Server Upgrade installer from My Oracle Support.

You can still use Smart Update to download and install a patch set or maintenance pack for any supported release before WebLogic Server 10.3.4. You can also still use Smart Update to download individual patches for any supported release, including patches for WebLogic Server 10.3.6.

While the WebLogic domain is running, follow these steps:

  1. Shutdown the Administration Server. For more information, see Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

  2. On the computer that hosts the Administration Server, install the WebLogic Server patch. For more information, see Installing a Patch, Maintenance Pack, or Minor Release.

  3. Restart the Administration Server. For more information, see Restarting Servers.

  4. For each Managed Server, you must do the following tasks in sequence:

    1. Shut down the server as described in Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

    2. Install the software update as described in Installing a Patch, Maintenance Pack, or Minor Release.

    3. Restart the server as described in Restarting Servers.

      Note:

      You can also modify the start scripts using Smart Update to automate the restart process. For more information, see "Modifying a Start Script" in Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs.

You have now completed the upgrade process.

Steps in Rolling Upgrade Process for Minor WebLogic Server Releases

A minor version is a new release that includes fixes and new features. A minor release is installed in a completely new directory. Existing domains from the same release family can be run using the new minor release. WebLogic Server 10.3.5 and WebLogic Server 10.3.6 are existing examples of minor versions of WebLogic Server 10.3.

While the WebLogic domain is running, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the Administration Server. For more information, see Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

  2. On the computer that hosts the Administration Server, install the new version of WebLogic Server. For more information about installing Oracle products, see Oracle WebLogic Server Installation Guide.

  3. Update your start scripts for the domain so that the new files are in your classpath.

  4. Update your environment variables, such as JAVA_HOME, MW_HOME, BEA_HOME, and WLS_HOME, to point to the new version of WebLogic Server.

  5. Restart the Administration Server. For more information, see Restarting Servers.

  6. For each Managed Server, you must do the following tasks, in sequence:

    1. Stop the server as described in Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

    2. Install the software update as described in Installing a Patch, Maintenance Pack, or Minor Release.

    3. Update your start scripts for the domain so that the new files are in your classpath.

    4. Update your environment variables, such as JAVA_HOME, MW_HOME, BEA_HOME, and WLS_HOME, to point to the new version of WebLogic Server.

    5. Restart the server as described in Restarting Servers.

Rolling Uninstall

You can uninstall a patch, maintenance pack, or minor release without shutting down the entire cluster or domain. The following sections provide more information.

Uninstalling a Patch or Maintenance Pack

At times you may want to uninstall a maintenance upgrade. You can use Smart Update to revert your system installation to an earlier version of the release. For more information, see "Uninstalling Maintenance Packs and Patches" in Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs.

The procedure for uninstalling a patch or maintenance pack is in the opposite order of the rolling upgrade:

  1. On each Managed Server, you must do the following tasks:

    1. Stop the server as described in Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

    2. Uninstall the patch or maintenance pack.

      For more information, see "Uninstalling Maintenance Packs and Patches" in Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs.

    3. Restart the server as described in Restarting Servers.

  2. After all Managed Servers have been downgraded, do the following tasks on the Administration Server:

    1. Stop the server as described in Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

    2. Uninstall the patch or maintenance pack.

    3. Restart the server as described in Restarting Servers.

The applied patch or maintenance pack is now uninstalled.

Uninstalling a Minor Release

For information about uninstalling a minor release, see "Uninstalling the Software" in the Oracle WebLogic Server Installation Guide.

The procedure is in the opposite order of the rolling upgrade:

  1. On each Managed Server, do the following tasks:

    1. Stop the server as described in Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

    2. Uninstall the patch or maintenance pack.

      For more information, see "Uninstalling the Software" in Oracle WebLogic Server Installation Guide.

    3. Updating the start scripts so that the previous version of WebLogic Server is in the classpath and all environment variables refer to the previous version of WebLogic Server.

    4. Restart the server as described in Restarting Servers.

  2. After all Managed Servers have been downgraded, do the same steps on the Administration Server:

    1. Stop the server as described in Quiescing and Stopping Servers.

    2. Uninstall the patch or maintenance pack.

    3. Update the start scripts so that the previous version of WebLogic Server is in the classpath and all environment variables refer to the previous version of WebLogic Server.

    4. Restart the server as described in Restarting Servers.

The new version of WebLogic Server is now uninstalled.

Limitations

Note the following limitations of rolling upgrade: