1.What is an Upgrade?
A PeopleTools Upgrade updates the underlying PeopleTools tables ( and files ) only.
- No changes are made to Application data, only PeopleSoft system data is changed.
- Normally this is a PSAdmin project which does not require Application specialists.
- Since application data remains untouched, most user would not even know the difference.
- PeopleTools upgrades are mainly performed to add some new functionality or as a Patch.
- The release number of PeopleTools will get updated, but the Application release will stay the same.
- There are restrictions to a PeopleTools upgrade and it is not always possible to perform a Tools upgrade to a particular Application release. For instance, we cannot apply PeopleTools 8.4 to our existing Application 8.3. We would need to upgrade the Application to 8.8 before we could utilize PeopleTools 8.4
An Application Upgrade updates both the PeopleTools tables and Application tables. This usually requires a PeopleTools upgrade as well.
- Typically this is a major project as Functional and Technical analysts must be involved so we ensure preservation of customized objects.
- Updates must also be made to custom reports, interfaces, etc as data structures most likely will change.
- With most Application upgrades, the look and feel of the application changes. As such, additional user training is normally required.
- Application upgrades are normally performed to introduce new Application functionality or to remain within the peoplesoft support window. As much of State’s peoplesoft application is highly customized, we typically avoid these upgrades until absolutely necessary or there is new functionality that we need to utilize.
- Both the Peopletools and Application number will change.
- There are restrictions to an Application upgrade. A typical prerequisite is moving to a higher PeopleTools release. The reverse is also true. For instance, in order to implement Peoplesoft Internet Architecture we needed to upgrade to PeopleTools release 8.1x. The prerequisite for PeopleTools 8.1x was Application release 8.x.
2. What occurs during a PeopleTools Upgrade ?
- Peoplesoft supplies release scripts for updating Peopletools table structures. These scripts have names like rel819.sql and are located in the peoplesoft home directory. These are normally processed through SQLPLUS and Toad.
- Other scripts are also processed which load new system data such as messages, language coded, DDL models etc. These scripts are also delivered and are typically run through DataMover with file name like msgtools.dms
- A peoplesoft project is typically loaded. A project is a collection of objects which can be stored as a file or within the Application. Since these are dynamic, Peoplesoft delivers these as a file with the new release CD or downloaded. The file will be loaded using Application Designer and once the object definations are available to the online system catalog, SQL scripts will be generated through Application Designer and processed to create any new tables, views or indexes which exists within the project.
- Updating of user security. Since new pages, menus are being created, security must be granted to the peoplesoft userid which will be performing the upgrade.
- This is performed by logging on to the Application and modifying the security profile.
- Conversion of peopleTools object. Not all peopletols objects are replaced during an upgrade. when necessary, objects can be converted to follow new rules with a delivered script. These scripts make change globally to fields, tables etc. A typical change with PeopleTools 8.x is the removal of # sign from any object definition. Prior to release 8.x, certain fields were defined using a # sign. With 8.x, naming convention changed to eliminate the use of any #.
- Views are recreated. Typical stuff here. The Peoplesoft userid will login to Application Designer and create a project with a name like ALL VIEWS. All views would be inserted into this project and saved. A sql script will be generated using Application Designer to create all the views contained within the project.
- Process Schedulers, Appservers etc need to be rebuilt. As part of a PeopleTools Upgrade, new files are copied to the UNIX and NT servers responsible for running Application Server, Process Schedular and Web Servers. Old Appserver, ProcessSchedular, Web Server domains will be deleted and recreated using the supplied files.
- Final audit reports are created and checked for errors. PeopleSoft delivers audit reports – DDDAudit and SYSAudit – as SQR which are processed and analyzed for errors. Typical errors will be a view that has been defined and not created for some reason, or a table that has been defined in oracle but does not exists within peoplesoft ‘s catalog. This is very common as Application Designer does not typically drop tables with data in case you need to preserve them for data conversion/customization purposes.
3. What occurs during an Application Upgrade?
All steps in the PeopleTools upgrade are performed for an Application Upgrade.
Additional steps are follows:
- A demo database with the old Application release must be upgraded to the new PeopleTools release using the PeopleTools Upgrade process. This Demo database is used to performed a ‘Vanilla Compare’ process. The vanilla compare produces a report and a project containing any peoplesoft defined object that is different within the two databases. This is used to confirm customizations applied to our target database ( typically a copy of the production database). We also do this to ‘stamp’ any custom objects as custom so that they are not later identified in the compare reports.
- The target database is compared with new release Demo Database. The new release demo is delivered with the new PeopleSoft CD and contains any new objects or Projects. The result of this compare is a report for every same named object with difference or new object and a project containing all the reported objects. The report lists the exact difference with source object side by side. The project containing the object type, object name and a check box which is checked or unchecked based on pre- determined criteria. These check boxes can and normally are changed based on further analysis of the reports.
- Based on conclusion reached with the report analysis, objects in contention ( existing in both databases with different structures ) can be selectively upgraded or ignored. A case where an object would be ignored is when we have an object with the same name as a peoplesoft object and we have heavily customized our object. It would then make more sense to retain our customized object and add any changes from the new object as opposed to overlaying our object with the new peoplesoft object and re- applying our customizations.
- Objects can be selected from Application Designer by opening the Project and clicking the Upgrade tab. This opens the screen in a matrix format with check boxes for each object. The check box is checked to upgrade or unchecked to leave the object alone. This process is typically performed by the developer as they choose which objects need to be preserved or need to be upgraded. These checkbox get set to a default ‘on’ or ‘off’ based on criteria set when the project compare is performed.
- Once the decisions has been made, the project is copied using Application Designer, from the source database ( new release Demo ) to the target database ( copy of prod ) . Along with the project, all of the object defined within the project are copied as well. This process updates the PeopleTools catalog to reflect the changes/additions included within the project. It does not change the underlying oracle table structure, only the PeopleTools definition.
- SQL create and alter scripts are generated and processed to synchronized the peopletools structures and the oracle structures. Using the project defined earlier, Application Designer will generated a SQL script to create any new tables, alter any existing tables, create or modify any indexes, create or modify views. Once created, we are sometimes required to make changes to these scripts for our environment and then process them using a SQL query tool such as SQPLUS or toad.
- At this point, developers will reapply any customizations to objects or add new customizations as necessary. This process can take weeks to months depending on the number of changes necessary. Changes to the reports, interfaces etc. are also made during this time.
- We will then perform a Test Move to Production. The Test Move is a subset of the complete Application Upgrade steps that does not include the compare and copy phases. Instead we use Datamover to export and import peoplesoft record definations from the Upgraded database into another copy of production. We then give the completed database back to the Application group for testing. The Test Move is performed multiple times in order to tune scripts and procedures for final move to production or go live.
- Data conversion is performed using delivered scripts. These data conversion scripts may need to be modified to fit customized data structures. Typically these scripts move data from an old table to a new table or change the format of data based on new rules. Developers are primarily responsible for analyzing these scripts and making suggestions to Psadmin for any changes required.
- After developers are finished, we performed a few more cleanup steps such as loading final Application data to new tables and performing a final audit.
4. PeopleSoft supplied tools used during the Upgrade
- Datamover is used to perform large data loads and to run some data conversion scripts. Data mover is not a query tool so only specially formatted SQL or Meta SQL can be used. It is good for creating views, loading large amount of data, and converting large amounts of data due to its bulk – loading capability.
- Application Designer is an online tool used to manipulate Peoplesoft defined objects within a particular database. Application designer is also used to import projects from a file or from another database, generate and process SQL scripts based on contents of a project, and to performed compare and copy phase where target and source databases are compared and objects moved from the source to target.
- Upgrade Assistant is an automated tool used for performing the majority of the upgrade steps. This tool is loaded with delivered Upgrade assistant template which contains all the steps necessary to perform the upgrade. Using this template, we enter environment specific information such as database name, ids and passwords, and locations of files on the network server. Once this info is added, an upgrade assistant job is created containing procedures specific to the environment. This job is run step by step, and will execute Data mover, Application Designer, SQR and SQL*plus as required and where the steps can be automated. The job also lists manual steps and contains a link to document specific to the current step. We can also add custom steps to this job by defining a step in the template and then adjust the action behind the step. This can be used to run a SQL script or process a pre-defined procedure.