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Upgrade to New York

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Upgrade to New York

The upgrade process moves your instance to a new ServiceNow release version. Understand the difference between upgrading and patching, release definitions, rollback and backup options, and how to test your non-production and production instance upgrades.

Important: For an in-depth explanation of the upgrade process, refer to Upgrade your instance.

Before you begin the upgrade process, read the New York release notes and review the upgrade and migration tasks for your applications and features.

Prepare, upgrade and test the test instance, upgade and test production instance

System upgrades can be significant projects. Each ServiceNow feature release includes major additions, and you should always consider the impact of new functionality on an instance. Upgrading implements enhancements to all features that are part of the base system or are already active, unless the feature is customized on your instance. For a list of all available plugins and whether they are active by default on the base system, see List of New York plugins.

Careful preparation and knowledge of the available software, tools, and resources can contribute to a successful upgrade. In addition to the materials provided by ServiceNow, it is important to understand how your ServiceNow instance is currently operating and the performance level of key business functionality. Set the expectation with IT and business users that time must be dedicated to preparing for, implementing, and testing ServiceNow upgrades.

If you have any issues during the upgrade process, contact ServiceNow Technical Support. ServiceNow Technical Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with any questions or issues.

For additional help with upgrades, ServiceNow also offers various Production Readiness Services. These services specifically address challenges with instance upgradability, manageability, scalability, and performance. The reviews are performed by a ServiceNow-certified professional consultant, who provide recommendations to align customer configurations with ServiceNow best practices. Contact your ServiceNow sales representative for more details.

Upgrade and update durations in New York

The upgrade process takes a significantly shorter time for both updates and upgrades. (An update occurs when an instance moves from one patch or hotfix to another within the same release family. An upgrade occurs when an instance moves from one release family to another). As always, test your upgrades, but don't assume from the much faster completion time that the update or upgrade wasn't successful.

Supported upgrades

You can upgrade directly to the latest release family. If multiple software versions are involved in your upgrade, be sure to consult the release notes for each version between your current version and the target version. For more information about release terminology and availability phases, see the ServiceNow Release Cycle [KB0547244] article in the HI Knowledge Base.

Upgrades and the ServiceNow Store

The ServiceNow Store includes official applications that are developed and released by ServiceNow. Users can download, access, and configure ServiceNow Store apps on their instances.

Starting in the Madrid release, new versions for a ServiceNow Store app can be defined in patch and family releases. This includes the ability to define a minimum version and/or a hotfix for a version you already have installed. From Madrid onwards, if your instance has an installed app version below the defined minimum version, the app will be upgraded to the minimum required version. Similarly, if your instance has an installed app below the defined hotfix version, your app will be upgraded to the hotfix version.

For example, consider an application that defines these versions in a release: 1.7.1, 2.4.0, and 3.0.1. In this example, version 1.7.1 is the minimum version. Versions 2.4.0 and 3.0.1 are hotfix versions.

When an instance upgrades to the release version, the following behavior occurs:
Table 1. Minimum version upgrades
Version installed before the upgrade Expected version after the upgrade
1.0.0 1.7.1 - The version upgrades to the minimum version
1.3.2 1.7.1 - The version upgrades to the minimum version
1.7.1 1.7.1 - The version stays the same, because the instance was already on the minimum version
1.7.2 1.7.2 - The version stays the same, because the instance was already ahead of the minimum version
Table 2. Hotfix version upgrades
Version installed before the upgrade Expected version after the upgrade
1.8.0 1.8.0 - The version stays the same, because the instance was already ahead of the defined hotfix version
2.0.0 2.4.0 - The version upgrades to the defined hotfix version
2.6.0 2.6.0 - The version stays the same, because the instance was already ahead of the defined hotfix version
3.0.0 3.0.1 - The version upgrades to the defined hotfix version
3.0.5 3.0.5 - The version stays the same, because the instance was already ahead of the defined hotfix version
4.0.0 4.0.0 - The version stays the same, because there are no hotfix versions defined for 4.0.0+.

Upgrades vs. updates

ServiceNow organizes its releases into families. A family is a set of releases that are named after a major city, such as New York. Families also contain patches and hot fixes. For example, the following releases are both part of the Madrid family:

  • Madrid Patch 4
  • Madrid Patch 3 Hot Fix 2

Upgrading is the act of moving to a release that is in a different family than your current release. For example, a move from London Patch 7 to Madrid Patch 3 is an upgrade because London and Madrid are different families.

Updating is the act of moving from one patch or hotfix to another within the same release family. For example, a move from Madrid Patch 1 to Madrid Patch 3 is a update because both versions are part of the London family.

In both cases, the target release is Madrid Patch 3. It is the difference between your current and target release family that determines whether you are upgrading or updating.

Features, patches, and hot fixes

Each release family contains features, patches, and hotfixes.

A feature provides a complete solution that customers can implement to add value to their organization. New features are generally only available as part of a feature release. Features are supported with patches and hot fixes.

Type Scope
Feature
  • Introduces new features
  • Includes all available fixes to existing functionality
  • Is production-oriented; quality and stability are of the highest priority throughout the life cycle
Patch
  • Supports existing functionality with a collection of problem fixes
  • Generally does not include new features
Hot Fix
  • Supports existing functionality with a specific problem fix for a feature release
  • May or may not include any previous fixes for a given release
  • Does not include new features

For more information about release terminology and availability phases, see the ServiceNow Release Cycle [KB0547244] article in the HI Knowledge Base.

Rollbacks and backups

When you plan an upgrade, remember that ServiceNow does not provide a universal rollback option. Rollbacks are available for upgrades (for example, New York patch-to-patch and New York patch-to-hotfix). The rollback window is 10 days by default. You can customize this window by modifying the glide.rollback.expiration_days property. To request a rollback, contact ServiceNow Technical Support.

Avoid restoring a production instance from backup, when possible, due to downtime and data loss. When a problem cannot be solved using other methods, restoring a production instance from backup is a final option. ServiceNow can restore an instance to any point in time, regardless of when a backup is completed. ServiceNow Technical Support provides support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for assistance with critical post-upgrade issues.

Note: ServiceNow does not perform on-demand backups. Instances are automatically backed up daily during non-peak business hours on schedules defined by ServiceNow. The timing of existing backup schedules is not adjusted.

Testing throughout upgrades

Testing is an integral portion that occurs after each instance is upgraded. After you upgrade an instance, test and validate it.

This instance naming convention assumes that you have three ServiceNow instances. If you have three instances, upgrade your instances in this order:
  1. Development
  2. Test
  3. Production
If you have more or less than three instances, or if you are using Team Development, these instance labels will be different. In general, upgrade your instances furthest from production towards your production instance.
Instance Type of testing required
Development
  • Conduct smoke tests.
Test
  • Use the ServiceNow Automated Test Framework to assist you in testing your non-production instances.
  • In the Madrid release, Automated Test Framework quick start tests were introduced. Many products include testing suites to help you jump start your testing before and after upgrades. For a list of available tests and activation information, see Quick start tests.
  • For extra testing coverage, you can also conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) on your non-production instances.
Production
  • Conduct UAT.
Note: The Automated Test Framework is intended for use on non-production instances. On your production instance, conduct UAT only.

If you encounter any post-upgrade issues, document the issue's conditions, steps to reproduce the issue, and your customizations. Contact ServiceNow Technical Support to open an incident for each issue, and provide this information accordingly. ServiceNow Technical Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with any questions or issues.

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