PeopleSoft Maintenance

DSI provides PeopleSoft maintenance support, where DSI manages the application of fixes, bundles, maintenance packs and service packs on either a fixed-fee or time & labor basis including the Product Update Manager (PUM) image updates within the latest version of PeopleSoft 9.2.

In addition to major releases PeopleSoft delivers updates in a number of ways, including:

  • Fixes – This is the smallest unit of maintenance. A fix generally resolves a single issue.
  • Bundles are accumulations of Fixes for a particular module for a specific time period – usually one-month.
  • Maintenance Packs are accumulations of bundles across all modules for a specific time period – usually one-quarter.
  • Service Packs are complete application releases with all of the latest patched code. Sometimes new functionality is introduced in service packs, but the focus is generally on bug fixes. Service Packs are released about once per year depending on the amount of fixes that needs to be included.

Fixes, Bundles and Maintenance Packs can all be installed using Change Assistant if you’re running the more current application releases. If you’re running an older application release the install process is similar to the following:

  • Determine the maintenance level you want to get to
  • Identify all of the prerequisites for that level
  • Determine the correct order to apply the maintenance
  • Carefully follow the instructions to apply each maintenance pack, bundle, and/or fix in Demo

Identifying prerequisites and determining the correct order to apply them can be a time consuming process. It generally involves researching each maintenance pack, bundle or fix on Customer Connection and reviewing prerequisites. Then you should check the prerequisites to the prerequisites. One way to do this is to track each patch in a spreadsheet with their prerequisites and post date to determine what order they should be applied. To make it easier, be sure to apply the patch that has the largest number of fixes at a time — apply a maintenance pack if you can, otherwise apply a bundle or finally apply an individual fix.

The following steps will be performed regardless of if you’re using Change Assistant or not:

  • Apply the updates to Demo
  • Run compare reports
  • Apply the PeopleSoft delivered maintenance to the development environment
  • Reapply customizations
  • Apply the maintenance plus customizations to the test environment
  • Test the application
  • Migrate the updates to Production

Since service packs are complete application releases, you’ll have to follow the upgrade methodology to apply them. The general approach is to create a new Demo environment from the CD’s, run compare reports and follow the instructions to create an upgrade project. Followed by migrate into a copy of production, reapply customizations, test the move to production, etc. The upgrade methodology allows for a PeopleTools upgrade to occur at the same time, so it’s often a good time to combine a Tools upgrade with an Application upgrade and save some testing time.

Service packs are more than the sum of the fixes that make them up. If you apply all of the bundles or even maintenance packs that were included in a service pack, you still don’t necessarily have the equivalent of the service pack installed. According to an conversation I once had with Oracle support, service packs have code that may not have been applied when you applied a maintenance pack (because you haven’t licensed a module for instance), or it may not have been released with a maintenance pack.

Testing should be structured so that all modules that you applied patches for are tested, along with their upstream and downstream processes. A Service Pack upgrade should include a test of the entire application.

It’s important to stay up with maintenance because Oracle develops new fixes based on the latest code-base. If they release a fix that you need for Financials 8.4 SP2 but you’re on SP1, you won’t be able to apply it until you upgrade to SP2. You will notice that after Oracle releases a Service Pack, future bundles will be dependent on that service pack.