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What’s new for IBM Engineering 7.0.3 administrators?

As part of the recent IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management (ELM) 7.0.3 release, I want to highlight some important changes that likely will matter to you if you are an administrator of ELM systems.

Optimizations

There are two key optimization improvements that are available with ELM 7.0.3.

LQE rs – following on from the DOORS Next re-platform in 7.0, Lifecycle Query Engine (LQE) administrators can move their LQE servers from the Apache Jena architecture to our supported relational-store databases.

  • A new data architecture consistent with the rest of ELM
  • Performance at scale
  • Dependency on Apache Jena storage technology is removed which greatly increases the robustness of the server architecture
  • The new data architecture allows organizations to perform more efficient systems monitoring using standard Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) MBeans that are default in most observability tools

If you adopted LQE prior to 7.0.3, please contact IBM Support to learn how you can transition from open beta to production status. Discuss your next steps, testing advice, and finally how to change to production status.

Administrators will benefit from analysing these performance reports to understand the differences in where the ELM load will be placed:

New RM TRS – the feed for DOORS Next reporting in LQE and LDX, known as the Tracked Resource Set (TRS), has been redesigned to be more efficient and robust. This new mechanism is accompanied by additional Validating TRS feeds capabilities, including a per-configuration option, and checksum calculations for rapid detection of issues.

If you are upgrading from a prior release, then contact IBM Support today to learn how to make the transition to the new TRS and obtain your activation key.

Upgrade

Those upgrading from 7.0.x to 7.0.3 will find the upgrade experience relatively straight forward for most use cases. We recommend, as always, that you test the key upgrade steps with a full replica of production data whenever possible. If you have business-critical integrations and/or custom scripts, then you should ensure that their functional and non-functional requirements are met in the new release before going into production.

Use the interactive upgrade guide (IUG) to create your customised guide for any journey from 6.0.x or 7.0.x to 7.0.3. If you are upgrading from versions that are end of support (EOS), then ensure you follow the additional guidance links within the IUG to ensure you learn from the past experiences of others.

Contact IBM Support if you wish to discuss any of these upgrade and migration scenarios. 

As mentioned in the 7.0.3 What’s new blog posts, 7.0.3 no longer supports certain items in the specified operating environment.

  • Microsoft® SQL Server: use repotools concurrent export/import to migrate to Oracle or IBM Db2 before upgrading to 7.0.3
  • Traditional WebSphere Application Server: use this helpful guide to migrate to IBM WebSphere Liberty. You can now choose to install standalone Liberty, or embedded Liberty.
  • IBM IoT MessageSight or Message Gateway: replace with Eclipse Amlen. See the Amlen documentation for the straight-forward “upgrade”.
  • AIX: move to another supported Unix-like operating system, for example RHEL on POWER or RHEL on X64.

If you currently use any of these in your ELM deployment, then your upgrade planning must contain additional steps to transition onto supported versions of the component.

The alternative items in the specified operating system environment can all be migrated to prior to the upgrade to 7.0.3. You can, and probably should, make these migrations as a separate step in this journey.

Stand-alone IBM WebSphere Liberty

Traditionally, ELM has shipped Liberty in an embedded form for simplicity. It is now possible to install Liberty as a stand-alone option. If you wish to deploy more frequent Liberty updates (for example, to address vulnerabilities as soon as they are remediated) then the stand-alone version will simplify this process. It is still possible to upgrade embedded Liberty too, if you decide to retain this option.

Monitoring/Observability

An active ELM deployment is always changing and must be actively managed. Changes in usage patterns or deployment size can require adjustments to your deployment topology.
IBM recommends adopting a proactive approach based on a “Measure-analyze-act” control loop.
  * Measure key health metrics
  * Analyze them to identify current (or potential) problems
  * Act on your analysis to address the problems.

One of our best practices for administering ELM environments is to establish an enterprise monitoring strategy that is inclusive of application monitoring via JMX MBeans, allowing administrators to proactively and reactively monitor the application environment.

See reference information detailing the structure and content of the MBeans and usage guides, which provide help on how to make use of the MBeans to manage your ELM environment.

Scale

The 7.0.3 release continues the incremental improvements in scale for the ELM applications.

  1. In 7.0.3 we tested ETM scaling to 35M artifacts, 10000 components and 1000 users.
  2. For DOORS Next, we concentrated performance optimizations on user productivity and operating at scale. Teams should experience improved response time for the following DOORS Next use cases among many others:
    • Opening views with many attributes and multiple values selected
    • Deliver and compare
    • Link creation
  3. Running reports in Report Builder that uses the LQE rs beta. It will provide improved scalability and performance in handling many concurrent and long report execution requests, resulting in equivalent or better report performance.

We are doing our final 7.0.3 testing against the generally available builds now and plan to publish the results on the Deployment Wiki soon.

IBM i

We are working on final testing and documentation of ELM 7.0.3 on IBM i. Subscribe to 569815: Quality assurance of IBM i support in ELM 7.0.3 for the latest updates.

Supported Versions

As with every release, there are many updates to the versions of the items in the specified operating environment that are supported with ELM 7.0.3. To see all the supported versions for your software ecosystem, use the Clarity Reports.


In conclusion, the 7.0.3 release is another milestone in enterprise scale across the ELM applications. You may need to make a leap from some technologies that are no longer able to keep up with this scale or are not common among our user base. However, as serviceability lead for ELM, I would recommend the planning starts now for the adoption of these important advancements in the maturity of our product suite.

Paul Ellis
Enterprise Support for IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management