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Minor upgrade process for Pega Infinity 8.4.x and later

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 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. The latest process enhancements include automated rolling upgrades and procedures that maintain high availability and improved monitoring to prevent issues. Using this process, Pega Cloud clients experience near-zero-downtime and have the opportunity to perform a go/no-go decision of their live system (production) environment upgrade.

To get started right away with a checklist of client responsibilities to complete an upgrade from Pega Infinity 8.4, see Minor 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 minor software upgrade process to support clients with Pega Infinity 8.4 and later. To prepare for a minor upgrade process for Pega Infinity 8.4 and later, review the following articles:

If your environment is running Pega Platform 8.3 and earlier and you are ready for Pega Cloud to upgrade it to the latest release of Pega Infinity, see Major upgrade process to the latest Pega Infinity release.

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 minor 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 the minor version of Pega Infinity. Pega is committed to the highest software upgrade quality so that clients can experience an automated, near-zero-downtime upgrade. With Pega Infinity 8.4 and later, Pega uses the following feature development standards to ensure that Pega Platform seamlessly integrates with client applications that are guardrail compliant:

  • Backwards compatibility for Pega Platform and Pega application software changes, which ensures trouble-free software upgrades.
  • Elimination of required post-upgrade steps in most applications. The upgrade process includes a post-upgrade, feature adoption phase for completing 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 the changes with known upgrade impact, see Pega Platform 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 the following tools:

    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.

Starting with software upgrades from Pega Infinity 8.4, Pega uses a two-phased software upgrade so that clients can 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 minor version into their Pega application:

Basic upgrade
Upgrades Pega Infinity rules to the latest minor version, with minimum disruption. Typically, the Basic upgrade phase take clients about two weeks to complete. In this phase, clients make any necessary application changes to ensure functional correctness and upgrade compliance. Clients can adopt the latest performance and security improvements and test existing functionality using their current testing processes. This phase excludes adopting features of the new minor 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 Platform and Pega application capabilities and plan their new feature adoption strategy across their environments by 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 Data Definition Language (DDL) are the same as the production rules and data schema DDL.
    • The rules content is identical except for configurations specific to the production environment.
    • The staging environment contains the appropriate test data; copying production data is not allowed.
  • Clients must 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 use Deployment Manager for their standard deployment pipeline; on-premises clients, including the clients 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 is reset during the upgrade process. For details, see Specifying the production level.

The Pega Cloud near-zero-downtime upgrade experience

For Pega Cloud clients, Pega uses a standardized, minor software upgrade process that provides clients with an upgraded, cloned staging environment for a 15-day trial period. This cloned environment allows clients to test by using their 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 Self-managing your Pega Cloud environments from My Support Portal.

During the environment upgrades, both clients and their customers can continue to access and use their applications in the client's Pega Cloud environments with minimal disruption. This experience includes the following advantages:

  • Application developers can continue to work by creating Pega rules in their environments.
  • Application users can create and read cases, perform search, or update their next-best-action configurations.
  • Any data that is saved to the database 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.

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

  • User sessions are not persisted; active users might be logged off during the environment restart.
  • Background processes are paused automatically; typically the pause is only several minutes. The upgrade process waits up to 30 minutes for an activity that is running in the background to finish its work; if the activity is not finished after 30 minutes, the background process is stopped. Clients should review these application development best practices to ensure that your background processing takes only several minutes to complete:
  • With these automated background processes paused, some Customer Decision Hub functions will be delayed during the upgrade process; after background processing resumes, these Customer Decision Hub functions automatically resume. These functions include, but are not limited to, Next-Best-Action scheduled outbound runs, Output template finalization, and Segment population.
  • Pega Chat routing while an upgrade is initiated might wait between 30 minutes to 2 hours for the chat to be connected to a client representative; if a timeout is configured for the chat to get connected, then those timeouts might be reached and the end user might have to retry.
  • 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.
  • In-flight cases will be upgraded if clients open them during the upgrade; clients should refer to their application post-upgrade guidance for bulk-upgrade processing of existing cases.

Details of the new Pega Cloud Services minor software upgrade process

Overview of minor upgrade process for Infinity 8.4 and later

The Pega Cloud Services minor software upgrade process requires that Pega and clients coordinate their efforts throughout the upgrade process. After Pega receives the client request for the latest minor Pega Infinity upgrade, 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 the entire application with any 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 upgraded, cloned staging environment for up to 15 days, when they can make any changes or fixes necessary to verify expected application functionality while using the new minor version of Pega Infinity. Clients can continue to use standard deployment pipelines in Deployment Manager and should also migrate any changes to the cloned staging environment. Helpful resources include:
  4. Pega upgrades the client's respective production environment during the client-defined maintenance window.
  5. Clients perform a final confidence check of their applications in production by using a temporary production URL to a node within their production environment. Clients make a go/no-go (accept or abandon) decision as a result of the upgrade confidence test of the changes. During this set of steps, clients must use Deployment Manager to promote the following to the temporary production URL: Clients have 60 minutes to verify the application and communicate their go/no-go decision to Pega.

    Pega limits this window to 60 minutes to ensure that rule changes and data from case processing in a client application during the upgrade do not severely lengthen the time it takes to complete the migration of rules to the upgraded database schema.
  6. Following a client's go decision:
    1. Pega removes the temporary production URL.
    2. Pega initiates a rolling restart of the client's live system (production) environment.
    3. After the rolling upgrade of the production environment is complete, for each application, the client uses Deployment Manager to promote the upgrade fixes that you identified during Step 3 to the production environment. This is required to re-import any client data instance or schema changes.
  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 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 by 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 optional post-upgrade steps, recommended configuration changes, verification steps, or for adopting new features in your application using their standard DevOps process.

Pegasystems Inc. responsibilities

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

  • Manage client communications regarding upgrades, scheduling, and required consents throughout the software upgrade process as defined in the maintenance policies and procedures. This includes ​notifying 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.
  • 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 15-day evaluation period in order to free up Pega Cloud Services resources.

Client responsibilities

During the minor 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 minor version of Pega Infinity.
  • Communicate their confidence test go/no-go decision within the required time.
  • Perform and document required post-upgrade fixes on their upgraded, cloned staging environment and on their upgraded environments.
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