On Sunday 10 December 2006 15:41, Valen Jones wrote:
> I'm interested in upgrading from 4.11 to 5.x.  I currently track 4.x
> stable using cvsup, but I've never done a major version upgrade.
> First, should I bother?  My hardware has dual pentium 1.13 processors
> with 1G ram (I'm considering maxing it out at 4).  I host a few domains
> on this machine and I have four jails configured on it which will have
> to be upgraded too.  I have users counting particularly on mail service
> not being down for too long.
> Other than the obvious advice to start with a good backup, can anyone
> tell me:
> 1)  Will I gain a major benefit from upgrading
> 2)  Where should I look for instructions / advice on upgrading
> 3)  Also any general advice from personal experience.

Beech's advice is sound.  I would stress that the simplest and easiest
by far is indeed a clean install.  And take two backups, if you have
customers counting on things going right.  Make sure your backups are
readable, usable and complete (no bad spots on tape media, no files
inadvertently omitted, etc.).

If at all possible, leave the production system running and begin the
new installation on separate hardware.  If you have a fast new machine 
to migrate onto, do that.  However your current hardware sounds
adequate for the light load you describe.  If you have just a spare
machine of nearly the same horsepower and configuration, you could
do the new installation on the spare machine, get it configured and
tested, and then backup the old machine twice, wipe the drive and
re-partition, and then transfer the newly-built configuration onto 
your production hardware.  Watch out for /etc/fstab gotchas, like if 
the test machine has an ad0 ATA drive and the production is da0 SCSI.

This will allow you to do a lot of migration, testing and tweaking 
off-line, without your customers noticing much downtime, except for
the final changeover.

How current are your installed ports?  Review the ports you do have
installed, and see whether you're really still using them.  It will
save you a little time on the new machine by not having to build
ports you don't really need anymore.  Look at your key applications, 
and where there are significant version changes between what you're 
running and what's current, familiarize yourself with the upgrade 
issues (if any) that each port presents.  Be prepared to test any
new features you hope to use, or to regression test to make sure
that legacy functionality still works the way you expect.  This 
might be the time to switch to Apache 2, for example, if you want
to.  But some things that worked under 1.3 will have to be adjusted
to work under 2.  At the least, it would be good to upgrade to the 
latest 1.3.x, to use Apache as an example.

As for #3, I have grown fond of using a FreesBIE or other live CD for
steps like booting the migration/test box to create a backup image of 
the new 6.X filesystem, and then also to boot the production box for 
the final changeover to transfer that backup image onto the production
disk.  That way your file system in an off-line (inactive) state, 
where you can cleanly backup the old production filesystem (twice!),
then wipe and re-partition, and transfer the new configuration image
onto the production drive likewise in a clean state.  If you haven't
already, spend some time just experimenting on a test machine, and 
make friends with FreesBIE and/or the Fixit live CD mode of FreeBSD 
installation media.

Good luck!

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