Upgrade Hell

There is a white board in my cubicle upon which I keep a list of major projects that need doing; one of those items on the list is “Upgrade Websense” with a little sad face drawn next to it. The reason for this designation is that it is an upgrade that just never goes well. Ever. It always results in several long phone calls to San Diego where they are almost as mystified as I am.

You would not think this would be so difficult; I always dutifully print out the upgrade instructions and follow them to the letter, making certain that the event viewer is not open and that the Enterprise Manager is not running. The install manages to stop all the services properly, the file copy goes well and then bang! An Error:128 appears and I know I’m done; stick a fork in me, it’s time to call tech support.

Websense tech support is variable; sometimes you get someone phenomenal, and sometimes you get a dud. The tech I got was okay, but you would think the error messages I was kicking out would have been enough to go on, or documented somewhere. Instead he had me trying all kinds of things like reinstalling the old version and then upgrading to an incremental build, etc.  My gut tells me that the root of the evil is a config.xml file that has been through too many upgrades and ip address changes.

I suppose I could just do a clean install of the latest version, but the problem with that plan is that I would lose all the policies I have created along with my massive white list. When asked if it was possible to send them my config.xml file and have them convert it, they told me that they don’t do that; the only time they will convert a config file is if a customer migrates from Windows to Linux (this is very tempting since I have always felt that having “workhorse” services running on Windoze is a really dumb idea).

Anyway, after hours of being glued to the phone, the tech asked me if I had a spare server laying around so that I could set up a secondary policy server and migrate the xml file to it. The idea was that the secondary server would do the conversion, I could update the original and plunk the converted config file back in. I have been down that road before and got licensing issues and other mayhem, so I decided that for all the support money we pay those nice folks each year they could do it for me.

A couple of hours later the updated config file arrived and it worked fairly well after a bit of search-and-replace; all that pain for an .xml file that’s been around the block a few too many times!

I still wish I had gone with Linux.


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