Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Upgrading Oracle Glassfish Server to v. 3.1

Oracle Corporation just released Oracle Glassfish Server v. 3.1: this release includes many interesting features and I started upgrading as soon as I could allocate some time. The official Glassfish Server 3.1 Upgrade Guide can be found here.

In a very recent post, I described how you can upgrade your Glassfish instance to v. 3.0.1 using the tools provided by the application server. With the release of version 3.1 things haven't changed so much so that, if you're in a hurry, you can just follow those instructions.

Nevertheless, I'll take advantage of this news to summarize which are the possible upgrade paths for your Glassfish instances so that you can choose the one that best fits your needs:
  • Upgrade tool.
  • Update tool.
  • pkg tool.
  • Software Update Notifier.

Upgrade Tool

The upgrade tool let us perform side-by-side upgrades and it's the only tool that can be used to upgrade a Glassfish instance earlier than Glassfish v. 3.0.1 or Enterprise Server v. 3.0.

The ability to perform side-by-side upgrades is important in the cases in which you do not want to upgrade your existing installation. In the case something goes wrong during the upgrade procedure, the original instance is not modified and the administrator is free to try the upgrade procedure again or restart the old instance until further investigation is done.

The upgrade tool, installed on $GF_INST/glassfish/bin/asupgrade, can be used both in graphical or command line mode. To use this tool, both the source and the target server directories must be accessible from the system in which asupgrade is launched and the user must have read permission on the source and read and write permission on the target directory.

Before launching the tool, the Glassfish domain to be upgraded must be stopped. Also, the official documentation suggests to manually copy libraries in the server /lib directory from the source to the target server. As pointed out in Bobby's comment, older versions of this tool (such as v. 3.0.1) even tried to detect and copy user libraries from $GF_INST/glassfish/lib: the upgrade tool bundled with GlassFish 3.1 will not so that it's important to manually check this directory to manually migrate libraries form one server installation to another.

The options accepted by the tool are the following:
  • -c|--console: Launches the tool in command-line mode.
  • -V|--version: Dumps the tool's version number.
  • -h|--help: Dumps the tool's arguments' help.
  • -s|--source: Specifies the source domain directory.
  • -t|--target: Specifies the target domain root-directory.
  • -f|--passwordfile: Specifies a password file with Glassfish master password.

The quickest way to launch the tool is just:


to launch it in GUI mode, or

asupgrade -c

if you prefer using the CLI mode. In either mode, just supply the required parameters and proceed with the upgrade information.

If you need to automate the upgrade procedures of multiple domains, perhaps you'd rather use the asupgrade tool in a script:

asupgrade -c \
  -s /path/to/source/domain \
  -t /path/to/target/root/domain

At the end of the upgrade procedure, you should check the logs to verify that no error was encountered during the process. If everything is ok, you can now start your new Glassfish v. 3.1 domain.

Update Tool and pkg Tool

The update tool and the pkg tool are, respectively, a GUI and a CLI utility, which are part of the Update Center Tools. Although very similar, they do not provide the same set of features to the user. Nevertheless, as far as it concerns the upgrade procedure, they can be used interchangeably and whether you want to use one or the other is just a matter of taste and opportunity.

The biggest differences with the upgrade tool describe in the previous section is that these tools cannot be used to upgrade instances earlier than 3.0.1 and they do modify the server installation directory during the upgrade procedure. Should the procedure fail, although both the tools and the upgrade procedure are very resilient, the administrator could be left with a non-functional Glassfish installation. The biggest advantage is that it's a very quick upgrade path.

Before upgrading, as usual, Glassfish domains should be stopped.

To update tool can be launched with the:


command and its GUI will appear. On the main window, click the Available Updates control, select all items on the list and proceed with the upgrade procedure. The server will be upgraded to version 3.1 and, at the end of the procedure, the existing domains must be upgraded starting them with the --upgrade options:

asadmin start-domain your-domain --upgrade

Despite the name of the command, at the end of the upgrade the domain will be stopped. After upgrading all of your domains, you can start them normally.

Upgrading using the pkg command will be familiar to long time (Open)Solaris users. Glassfish bundles a version of the pkg command to support IPS repositories. To upgrade Glassfish to the latest version is sufficient to launch the following command:

$GF_INST/glassfish/bin/pkg image-update

After the upgrade completes correctly, each Glassfish domain should also be upgraded as explained in the update tool case.

Software Update Notifier

The Software Update Notifier is yet another Update Center tool and, as such, it enables the administrator to perform upgrades under the same conditions explained in the previous section.

The Software Update Notifier, if installed, periodically checks if updates are available and, when they are, it suggests the administrator to install them with a fancy notification balloon. When all domains are stopped, the upgrade process can be started accepting the notification in the balloon.

After the upgrade completes correctly, each Glassfish domain should also be upgraded as explained in the update tool case.


bbissett said...

Hi, you mention that you saw contents of 'lib' moved over during the upgrade. The upgrade tool copies the whole source domain to the target directory, so anything in domainX/lib gets copied over.

But if you had any 3rd party libraries in glassfish/lib, those need to be copied over manually. In v3 and 3.0.1, the tool tried to do that for you, but it no longer does that since there is no foolproof way to find glassfish/lib given just a domain directory (which could be anywhere on the filesystem).

I hope that helps.


Sam D said...

WHat happens if we dont stop Glassfish Server before upgrading it.

I did it and didnt see any issues in the application I m using