Ways to upgrade to Connections 7

You can upgrade to HCL Connections 7 by by doing either a side-by-side or an in-place upgrade, or by taking an approach that is a hybrid of the two.

First, the terminology

In a side-by-side upgrade, you start with a fresh install of Connections 7.0 in a new environment, and then do the needed migrations from the existing environment.

In both an in-place and a hybrid approach, you upgrade your 6.5 CR1 environment by using the Update function in the installation program. The difference between these approaches is that the in-place upgrade takes place in your production environment, while the hybrid upgrade is done in a new environment that you have set up to be identical to your 6.5 CR1 production environment.

The term upgrading is used as an umbrella term for getting to the newer Connections version, regardless of the approach, and updating is used for applying periodic fixes to that new version.

Migrating refers to moving user data, as well as configuration changes and other customiziations, from the old to the new version, regardless of whether they are located on the same system or a new system.

Understanding the approaches

Here are the key things to know about the upgrade approaches:

Side-by-side upgrades
Side by side is the approach most often used by HCL Digital Solutions services group and Technical Advisors group. With this approach, you gain the benefit of migrating configuration changes and other customizations (and testing them) before switching the new environment to production.
Migrating configuration changes and other customizations is entirely manual with this approach, so it requires careful record keeping and a thorough understanding of the processes involved in applying the changes to the new setup.
A tutorial (whitepaper) by a technical advisor that steps you though this approach can be found here: Upgrading from Connections 6.5 to 7: Side by Side.
In-place upgrades
For smaller environments, the in-place upgrade is the easiest option with the lowest risk, as long as known, working backups/snapshots are available should you encounter an issue. Running the Installation Manager update function preserves some of the configuration and changes that you made in 6.5 CR1. These changes – file-related settings such as round-trip editing, quotas, proxy configuration, and so on – are stored in XML and other data formats and kept or extended during upgrade.
If you plan to continue with Cognos Metrics in Connections 7, an in-place upgrade is your only option, as you cannot install Cognos in Connections 6.5 or 7. With the in-place approach, your Metrics configurations are not affected by the Update function in the installation program.
If you plan to continue with Connections Content Manager (CCM) in v7, you also should choose the in-place upgrade, as the Update function leaves existing CCM components intact.
Hybrid upgrades

The hybrid upgrade uses the same process as the in-place, except that in a new environment identical to that in production. As with the side-by-side, you gain the benefit of migrating remaining customizations and testing them before switching it to production.

This "mirrored" type of set up was the approach used by the Connections team in their internal environment. For more information, see Considerations for an in-place or hybrid upgrade.

A tutorial (whitepaper) by a technical advisor that applies to both in-place and hybrid upgrades can be found here: Upgrading from Connections 6.5 to 7.

Note: Use the side-by-side method when upgrading to Connections 7 from versions earlier than 6.5, in which case additional database schema updates would be required.

Comparing the approaches

The following table is provided to aid you in planning your upgrade.

Table 1. Pros and cons of approaches to Connections 6.5 CR1 upgrade
Side-by-Side In-Place Hybrid
Dovetails with upgrading system requirements X X
Allows sufficient testing before rollout X X
Lessens downtime X X
Preserves most configuration settings X X
Fastest when upgrading from versions earlier than 6.5 CR1 X
Allows continued use of Connections Content Manager X
Allows continued use of Cognos X
Success validated by these HCL Software groups Digital Solutions Technical Advisors*

Digital Solutions Services

Digital Solutions Technical Advisors*

Connections Development

Connections Development
Requires more hardware resources X X
Increases risk of problems, rollback X
Requires most knowledge/records of existing deployment configurations X
*See the whitepapers previously referenced on this page. Both whitepapers are especially useful if you have or are adding Component Pack in your deployment.