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Migrating to IBM WebSphere Portal V8

Now that WebSphere Portal V8 has shipped, you should wonder what is the migration process to get to Portal 8. I’m attending the IBM Exceptional Web Experience Conference session titled Migrating to IBM WebSphere Portal V8, so I’ll pass along what I learn.

First, the upgrade is going to require additional servers because it is a side-by-side upgrade process.  The process can be done in place on the target and it will work on the database and profile information.  Before starting the migration, you should turn off automatic synchronization as this will mess up the upgrade.  Also, databases should be copied to avoid data loss.

After planning, backing up and installing prerequisitess on the existing servers, the process is:

  • Install the Portal 8 binaries on a new server.  There is a new install option to install just the Portal Binaries.
  • Install the recommended fixes on the new server
  • Migrate the WebSphere Profile using the standard WebSphere tooling.
  • Upgrade using the ConfigEngine tool.  This tool will install the correct portal features based on your existing platform.
  • Migrate the Portal profile
Upgrade paths include the following:
  • Portal/WCM or to Portal 8.x
  • Portal or  on WAS 7 to Portal 8.x
  • Portal 7.0.x to Portal 8.x
  • Portal Server or to WCM 8.x

The upgrade can be performed remotely in a non-destructive manner for clustered environments, which wasn’t the case in previous upgrades.  In this case, you first upgrade Deployment Manager and update the ports used by Deployment Manager.  Once the Deployment Manager has been upgraded, you can migrate the nodes to Portal 8 in the fashion described above.

From a database point of view, both previous and new version use the same database, but the Release & JCR databases have changed in Portal 8.  For the upgrade, you should copy these two databases so the older version has its own copy and the new version has its own copy.  The upgrade process will then update the data into the new databases for V8.  Portal V8 will reuse the other databases, so no need to copy or upgrade them.

Since the JCR database has been completely redesigned, the migration of WCM content can take a long time, especially for large installations.  IBM is providing algorithms to estimate how much transaction logging space will be required for the new database and how long it will take to migrate that data.

Post migration, there are a few tasks to complete:

  • ContextRoot is set to /wps_migrated for Portal 6.1 users only and will need to be changed back when you are ready to shut down 6.1
  • Portal dojo’s context root has changed to /WpsContextRoot/portal_dojo, so your theme may need to be updated.
  • Install the latest versions of portlets that were deprecated and removed from the installation
  • Rebuild seedlists
  • Enable new functions on Portal through configuration tasks, including managed pages
IBM has included the ability to migrate from/to different bit levels or OS.  So you can upgrade from 32-bit Portal 6 to 64-bit Portal 8.  You can even change from a Linux OS to Windows or AIX.

It can’t be stated often enough that this is a major upgrade for WebSphere Portal.  While the migration process is improving, you still need to treat this as a major project that needs to be carefully planned and executed.

Thoughts on “Migrating to IBM WebSphere Portal V8”

  1. I was wondering if you had experience migrating a 32 bit WebSphere Portal 6.1 to 64 bit WebSphere Portal 8.0
    Would this work for the deployed applications or
    do we have to re-compile and re-deploy the applications manually.

    Also can we at least migrate the Portal configuration and topology information without the migrating the deployed applications in this scenario?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Mark Polly Post author

    IBM does not have a standard migration path to go from 32-bit Portal to 64-bit Portal. You will end up installing a new 64-bit version of portal and then migrating your applications. You can recompile your java applications or run them in 32-bit mode.

    The configuration and topology can be exported from the old portal using xmlAccess and imported into the new portal using xmlAccess. This should work fine.

  3. HI,
    In your post It is written as follows:

    Upgrade path
    Portal or on WAS 7 to Portal 8.x

    Does it mean that we can upgrade Portal servrer 6.1.5 with WAS 7 to Portal 8.0. without upgrading the WAS server.?WAS7 with Portal 8.0 work fine?

    Please help me out we are working on a similar migartion

  4. Mark Polly Post author

    Portal 8 requires WAS 8, so during the migration process, you will also have to move from WAS 7 to WAS 8.

  5. Hi Mark

    is there information step-by-step how I can do migrating my Websphere Portal 7 to 8?

    Thanks a lot

  6. Hi,

    I am doing migration from to Our DB is Oracle During the Migration of JCR (seen in Migration.log), the process is taking very long. Due to this lengthy process, and some network disruption, this process (upgrade-profile) was failed few times and I re-ran it.

    Do you have any clue how long it is supposed to take and is there any way to this migration script?


  7. Mark Polly Post author

    The migration time will depend on the amount of content you have in WCM. If you have a small amount, the migration doesn’t take long. However, if you have thousands and thousands of items, then it will take longer. If you continue to have problems, you should open a support ticket with IBM. They are very good at resolving migration problems.

  8. HI Mark,

    we are planning to migrate from Portal 6.0 to Portal 8. may i know the best feasible solution for this ? is it a good Idea to Migrate with interim migration approach like 6.0 to 7.0 and 7.0 to 8.0. or it is better idea to do a fresh installation and deploy all the apps and pages using XMLAccess Scripts ?

  9. Mark Polly Post author

    It depends, of course. If you use WCM and have a good amount of content, then you will want to go through the upgrade path as that content will be migrated.

    Depending on you version of 6, you could migrate right to 8. If you are not on the right version, then you should upgrade to either the right version of 6 or to 7.

    If you don’t use WCM, then you could feasibly install 8 and redeploy everything you already have. That is essentially what the migrate process does. You’d have to make sure you deploy shared libraries, themes, etc too.

  10. Mark Polly Post author

    Yes it supported but it won’t bring in all the new features of portal 8. You should really update your theme to something newer.

  11. Karan Aggarwal

    Hi Mark,
    We are planning to migrate from Portal v7.0.0.2 to 8.5.5.
    I understand the binary installation option which WebSphere Portal has provided now. But as part of Migration process (using automatic migration) what will happen to the database which is shared between source and target Portal Server. There is a huge change in JCR schema but does that mean, source server cannot function after migration as JCR schemas have changes or the automatic migration will create a separate database instance for target server.

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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