Much has been written about IBM Maximo Application Suite (MAS) product and the new features/functions it brings to the table. The upgrade process from a current Maximo 18.104.22.168 instance to a new MAS instance is also well documented and becoming better understood by implementation professionals.
But there is an interesting aspect of the upgrade process known as the Customization Archive. If your current instance of Maximo has been “customized,” this is a critical element of the upgrade that you need to fully understand and prepare for. If your instance has not been “customized,” within the scope of the customization archive, then you can stop reading right now and enjoy the rest of your day.
What Is This Thing and When Is It Used?
After MAS has been installed and it is time to deploy the Manage application (formerly known as Maximo) the OpenShift Manage operator creates a Build (a Docker build) that pulls the application images from the Entitled Registry and downloads the customization archive from the customer repository if any customization exists. It then builds a runnable Manage Admin image, and configured workload images (All, UI, Cron, BIRT Reporting).
Specifically, when an admin selects, configures, and deploys the Manage application, the deployment creates a Custom Resource (CR) in the OpenShift environment. A CR contains a user-entered configuration for the application that may include: name, version, number of pods, and DB type and connection, type of workloads, location of customization archive, etc.
When the Manage Build pulls images from the Entitled Registry and downloads the customization archive (if it exists) from the customer repository based on the information in the CR, the Build also extracts the Industry Solutions/Add-on images and the customization archive over the Manage Base image to create the final images. It also validates against the dependency matrix. It creates a runnable Manage Admin image and the Manage configured images(workloads). The final images are stored in the Image Registry repository.
What Is in It?
Below is a sample of what the archive contents might be. Be sure to review these contents and compare them with the areas of customization that have been done to your Maximo. If none, then this archive is not needed during your upgrade to MAS.
A sample Customization archive has:
Deployment descriptors (web.xml)
3rd party libraries
How to Begin?
Once you have collected the pieces that go into your archive, zip them into a .zip archive file.
Upload to a URL that is accessible via curl/wget (http/https/ftp/sftp) to the MAS environment. For example, upload customizationarchive.zip to GitHub and then pass the URL when activating Manage:
The installation process also takes credentials which will be passed to a wget request used during build of the containers.
How to Validate the Results
Once the Manage application is deployed and accessible from within MAS, you will need to check each customization to ensure it was applied. This may require a full functional test of each expected customization. It is also very possible that a customization written for an existing Maximo 22.214.171.124 instance may have issues while running under a MAS Manage instance. This potential effort points to perhaps the need for an initial analysis of all customizations to determine if they need to move forward into the MAS environment or be implemented in a different manner to avoid their inclusion in the Customization Archive.
Very quickly you can see where documentation of the customizations made to your Maximo is very important to your success at upgrading to MAS. It is very possible that a customization was made that is not documented and it will be missed in the process since it will not be present in the customization archive. Testing for those critical functions that existed in Maximo in the new MAS environment will be an important step before declaring success.
TRM is experienced in the planning and analysis needed to upgrade Maximo and the MAS environment, so give us a call to find out how we can help you further.
Article by John Q. Todd, Sr. Business Consultant at TRM. Reach out to us at AskTRM@trmnet.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss deploying MAS 8 or Maximo AAM for condition based maintenance / monitoring.