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Major upgrade process to the latest Pega Infinity release

Pega continuously makes new features available to clients so that they can incrementally and rapidly deliver value to their customers using the latest capabilities, feature enhancements, performance improvements, and security fixes.

Clients who opt in to receive our latest capabilities will see accelerated returns on investment, increased productivity, lowered costs through automation, and increased revenue growth. Pega Cloud Services delivers software upgrades to client environments as part of its standard maintenance policy as defined in Pega Cloud Services maintenance and types of system updates.

To accelerate the time-to-value and pave the path to clients' digital transformation, Pega Cloud Services maintains an upgrade process that helps our clients stay current in a predictable and consistent manner from release to release. Pega is committed to the highest software upgrade quality so that clients can experience as little downtime during upgrade as possible. After clients complete an upgrade to Pega Infinity, clients should always consider upgrading to the latest software to ensure that you can take advantage of the latest features and capabilities to maximize your investment in Pega.

To get started right away with a checklist of client responsibilities to complete an upgrade from versions earlier than Pega Infinity 8.4, see Major upgrade checklist.

Pega supports both a major upgrade (7.x to 8.x) and a minor upgrade (8.x to 8.y) of the Pega Infinity software in a client's environment. This article applies to the major software upgrade process, which supports clients with older versions of Pega Platform or Pega Infinity 8.1 through 8.3. To prepare for a major upgrade process for Pega Infinity 8.4 and earlier, review the following articles:

To learn about Pega Cloud support for minor upgrades from Pega Infinity 8.4, see Minor upgrade process for Pega Infinity 8.4.x and later.

The information provided in this document is for planning purposes and is subject to change at the discretion of Pegasystems Inc.

Planning considerations for upgrades of major versions of Pega Infinity software

Pega collaborates with clients and helps them plan and structure their upgrade approach. Pega encourages clients to assess and decide on when they adopt new features and functionality available in Pega Infinity. Pega is committed to the highest software upgrade quality so that clients experience an automated upgrade with less downtime and fewer post-upgrade steps than eariler versions of Pega Platform. Pega uses the following feature development standards to ensure it seamlessly integrates with client applications that are guardrail compliant:

  • Backwards compatibility for Pega Platform and Pega application software changes, ensuring trouble-free software upgrades.
  • Fewer required post-upgrade steps in most Pega software applications. The upgrade process includes a post-upgrade, feature adoption phase for completing mandatory and optional post-upgrade steps, recommended configuration changes, verification steps, or for adopting new features in your application.
  • Identification of new features or performance improvements with a potential for upgrade impact. To see known upgrade impacts, see Pega Platform 8.5 changes with upgrade impact.
  • Development of analytical tools with which clients can assess the upgrade impact on their application to ensure that it is ready for an upgrade. Examples include:

    For Pega Platform, Pega provides a pre-upgrade tool that identifies the rules that you have customized in your application to understand the impact of the upgrade; your are expected to use the results to retrofit these rules after the upgrade. As a best practice, do not overwrite or customize Pega rules. For more information, see Pega Upgrade Tools.

For any software upgrade to Pega Infinity, Pega uses a two-phased software upgrade process, which allows clients to adopt the latest performance and security improvements without affecting their existing Pega applications. This two-phased life cycle approach provides flexibility to client adoption of the latest features and enhancements in the latest version into their Pega application:

Basic upgrade
Upgrades Pega Infinity rules to the latest major version, with minimum disruption. Typically the Basic upgrade phase take clients about four weeks to complete. This phase allows clients to make any necessary application changes to ensure functional correctness and upgrade compliance. Clients can adopt the latest performance and security improvements and can test existing functionality using their current testing processes. This phase excludes adopting features of the new version of the Pega Infinity to ensure a near zero-downtime upgrade of the production environment.

Feature adoption
After the Basic upgrade is complete, clients use this phase to take advantage of the latest Pega Infinity and application features using their standard DevOps process.

This phased approach requires that clients maintain a standard, consistent DevOps approach so that they can assess the effect of the latest Pega PlatformPega Platform and Pega application capabilities and plan their new feature adoption strategy across their environments following their Pega Infinity upgrade. This standardization includes the following structure:

  • Clients configure their Staging environment similar to, but not necessarily the same as, their production environment. This requires that:
    • The rules and data schema DDL are the same as the production rules and data schema DDL.
    • The rules content is identical except for production environment specific configurations.
    • There is appropriate test data in the Staging environment; copying production data is not allowed.
  • Clients must already use a deployment pipeline with a minimum number of development, staging, and production environments and use the pipeline to promote the latest application functionality to their production environments. Pega Cloud clients will use Deployment Manager for their standard deployment pipeline; on-premises clients, including those using Client-managed cloud deployments, are encouraged to use Deployment Manager for their standard deployment pipeline, although Pega supports the use of third-party automation services for their application change adoption pipeline. For details, see Understanding model-driven DevOps with Deployment Manager.
  • Pega Cloud does not support modifying the production level of any environment. If you modified the default production level of your environment, it will be reset during the upgrade process. For details, see Specifying the production level.

The Pega Cloud major upgrade experience

For Pega Cloud Services clients, Pega uses a standardized, major software upgrade process that provides clients with an upgraded, cloned staging environment for a 30-day trial period. This cloned environment allows clients to test by using existing test suites, which minimizes efforts and shortens the upgrade life cycle environments. Clients can view the cloned environment in their My Pega Cloud support portal. For details, see Managing Pega Cloud environments from My Support Portal.

The standard Pega Cloud software upgrade process integrates the latest Pega automation technology to support seamless adoption of the latest Pega Infinity features and improvements across environments using the client's development pipeline.

The following limitations and expected behaviors within client environments apply but are not limited to a client's major software upgrade experience:

  • During the environment upgrades, clients experience environment downtime, during which time clients cannot access Pega applications. Pega Cloud Services makes a reasonable effort to minimize this downtime.
  • Any data saved to the database before the upgrade process is never lost during the upgrade process. Throughout the Pega Cloud Services software upgrade process, Pegasystems Inc. does not use the Pega application sample data.
  • User sessions are not persisted: active users might be logged off during the environment restart.
  • Reschedule any upcoming activities, such as job schedulers, before Pegasystems, Inc. initiates the upgrade process.
  • For clients who upgrade from Pega Platform 8.2 or earlier: stop all background processes before Pegasystems, Inc. initiates the upgrade process and restart the stopped processes after Pegasystems, Inc. completes the upgrade process. To complete the pausing and subsequent resuming of these background processes, see Managing background processes during upgrades and patches.
  • For clients who upgrade from Pega Platform 8.3 or later: The upgrade process waits up to 30 minutes for any activity that is running in the background to finish its work; if the activity is not finished after 30 minutes, the background process is terminated. Review these application development best practices to ensure that your background processing takes only several minutes to complete:
  • For clients running existing web mashups in their Pega Cloud environment, you must create new mashup code on your upgraded, cloned environment running release 8.5 so the mashup rule form includes a Mashup channelID that is automatically included in your application testing rule in your upgrade pipeline. To create a new mashup, see Creating a mashup. Be sure to update existing website configurations with the new 8.5-based mashup code.

Details of the new Pega Cloud Services major software upgrade process

The Pega Cloud Services major software upgrade process requires that Pega and clients coordinate their efforts throughout the upgrade process. After Pega receives the client request for a major upgrade to Pega Infinity, the process phases are broken into discreet steps based on the responsibility model:

  1. Pega clones a staging environment identified by clients in their upgrade request and upgrades this cloned environment to the latest Pega Platform and application software. This upgrade includes all the declared cumulative patches and critical hotfixes as defined in Pega Cloud Services maintenance and types of system updates. The clone maintains the client application and data from the staging environment with the following exceptions:
  2. Clients create an upgrade pipeline in Deployment Manager to migrate rules from the upgraded cloned, staging environment to the production environment for each application. The upgrade pipeline includes two product rules that contains upgrade fixes and confidence testing assets along with all required data instances to test the application. For details, see Configuring upgrade pipelines. If required, clients select rules to sync from the production environment to the upgraded, cloned staging environment. For details, see Syncing rules between the production environment and the upgraded, cloned, staging environment.
  3. Clients perform application compatibility testing and validation on the cloned staging environment for up to 30 days, when they can make any changes or fixes necessary to verify expected application functionality while using the new version of Pega Infinity. Within this period, clients complete their regression testing and then indicate their readiness to consent to upgrade their production environment. During this testing phase, clients can complete their regression testing on the upgraded, cloned staging environment. Helpful resources include:
  4. Clients perform any of the following steps that apply on the production environment:
    • For applicable applications that run Pega Platform 7.3.x or earlier, perform a limited number of pre-upgrade steps in coordination with Pegasystems, Inc. Review the software upgrade communication from Pegasystems, Inc for guidance. For details, see: Completing pre-upgrade tasks for Pega Marketing 7.4 and earlier running on Pega Cloud.
    • Reschedule any upcoming activities, such as job schedulers, before Pegasystems, Inc. initiates the upgrade process.
    • For clients who upgrade from Pega Platform 8.2 or earlier: Stop all background processes before Pegasystems, Inc. initiates the upgrade process and restart the stopped processes after Pegasystems, Inc. completes the upgrade process. To complete the pausing and subsequent resuming of these background processes, see Managing background processes during upgrades and patches.
    • For clients who upgrade from Pega Platform 8.3 or later: The upgrade process waits up to 30 minutes for any activity that is running in the background to finish its work; if the activity is not finished after 30 minutes, the background process is terminated.
  5. Pega upgrades the client's respective production environment during the client's standard maintenance window.
  6. Clients performs any of the following required steps that apply to their applications on the production environment as detailed in the following articles:

    After completing required post-upgrade steps in your application, clients use Deployment Manager to promote the upgrade fixes identified during Step 3. For detailed steps, see Migrating upgrade fixes to production.

  7. Pega upgrades all non-production environments during the client's defined maintenance window within seven days of completing the upgrade on the production environment.
  8. Clients perform any post-upgrade tasks on the non-production environments as outlined in Step 6. Clients now import any upgrade fixes discovered as part of step 3 to all non-production environments. It is recommended to use Deployment Manager to promote these changes. To promote these changes using Deployment Manager, review Migrating application upgrade changes to non-production environments .
  9. Pega removes the outdated rule schema in each upgraded environment seven days after completing the upgrade.
  10. Pega deletes the upgraded, cloned staging environment within seven days of completing all of the live environment upgrades.

At this point, the Basic upgrade phase is complete and the Feature Adoption phase begins. Clients use the second phase for completing post-upgrade steps, recommended configuration changes, verification steps, or adopting new features in your application using their standard DevOps process.

Pegasystems Inc. responsibilities

During the Pega Cloud Services software upgrade process, Pegasystems Inc. responsibilities include the following actions:

  • Manage client communications about upgrades, scheduling, and required consents throughout the software upgrade process as defined in the maintenance policies and procedures. This includes n​otifying clients:
    • Five days in advance, as well as four hours prior to the software upgrade process.
    • When the software upgrade process is initiated.
    • When the software upgrade process completed.
  • Perform the software upgrade within the standard maintenance window that the client defined during the Pega Cloud Services onboarding process.
  • Coordinate any required pre-upgrade steps for clients upgrading from Pega Platform 7.3.x or earlier.
  • Perform required infrastructure updates, clone the staging environment, upgrade the software, and complete a post-upgrade health check.
  • Document any issue that was discovered during the cloning and upgrade of the staging environment.
  • Work with the client when necessary, by using service requests, to resolve any upgrade issues.
  • Remove the outdated rule schema in each upgraded environment within seven days of completing the upgrade.
  • Delete the upgraded, cloned staging environment within seven days of completing all of the live environment upgrades.

Pega reserves the right to remove the cloned environment any time after the 30-day evaluation period in order to free up Pega Cloud Services resources.

Client responsibilities

During the Pega Cloud Services software upgrade process, client responsibilities include the following actions:

  • Complete a request for Pega software upgrade of their environments by selecting New request in My Support Portal. Specify the staging environment that you want Pega to clone. Clients must initiate a software upgrade with a minimal advance notice of five business days. For the latest documentation to request an upgrade, see My Support Portal: New Design, Streamlined Features.
  • Run the application upgrade assessment tools provided by Pega to identify potential issues in the application that are not compliant with the new major version of Pega Infinity.
  • Perform and document required post-upgrade fixes on their upgraded, cloned staging environment and on their upgraded environments.
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