FAQ - End of Availability of SteelConnect EX Analytics Fusion

Categories:
Solution Number:
S34273
Last Modified:
2020-07-22
Issue
Starting with the 20.2.2 release, a new version of analytics database, called Fusion, will be supported. The Fusion database uses open source technologies instead of the current enterprise version from DataStax (DSE) for big data platform.

This new version of Analytics offers better scalability & performance, with a significantly lower cost.  All new enhancements going forward will be done on this version. Given these benefits, it is encouraged that all customer be moved to the Fusion Analytics as soon as possible.
Solution
What is the difference between Fusion DB and existing DSE based DB?
Answer: The Database technology is same in both of these software versions. Cassandra is used for the historical data and Solr for real time search functionality. The difference is in the packaging and support of the software distribution.
Datastax enterprise packages these components as one integrated software/service. Solr connector is built into Cassandra making it simpler to interface for read and write operations. All the nodes of the cluster are installed in the same way with some minor configuration changes to form a distributed database. Datastax Enterprise takes care of testing and releasing using a stable version of the open source Cassandra/Solr. This version may not be the latest version of the open source software.
With Analytics Fusion, SteelConnect EX directly uses open source Cassandra and Solr. Additional component Zookeeper is enabled for leader election and resource sharing for Solr instances. Packaging/installation and monitoring of these components are taken care by SteelConnect EX Analytics software. Since the database technology is the same, upgrade from DSE to Fusion can be done without losing any historical data. Existing application/driver is compatible with both DB versions, making backward compatibility possible with minimal interoperability issues.

Why should I upgrade to Fusion DB?
Answer: Fusion DB uses the latest version of database software which provides better scaling/performance at a lower cost, and fixes many security vulnerabilities. The database version used in 16.1R2 is end of life. No fixes will be available from the database vendor.
Although currently there is feature compatibility between DSE Analytics DB and Fusion DB, future version will diverge to take advantage of newer capabilities of Fusion DB. Newer features may only be available on Fusion DB.

Is there a financial benefit to the end customer to move to the Fusion?
Answer: Yes. The Analytics “SEC-SDW-ANALYTICS-F-SUB” SKU has a a list price of $12,000 per year irrespective of size of the Analytics cluster. This is at least 50% cheaper than the lowest DSE based  analytics cluster. The standard discounts apply, higher year term subscriptions have higher savings. Refer to the Riverbed Price List.

Is it possible to upgrade just the Analytics to Fusion for customers using 16.1R2 version?
Answer: Yes. 20.2.1 version of Analytics is backward compatible with 16.1R2S10 of Director & FlexVNF.

Is there any impact on reports and features after the upgrade?
Answer: All reports/features available in 16.1R2 release will also be available in 20.2 release. Additionally, the 20.2.x release provides many new reports/features and vulnerability fixes. Installation of the cluster can be done by using cluster installation scripts thereby reducing any human error.

Which image should I use for a new 20.2.x cluster install?
Answer: For a new cluster installation the user needs to download the Ananlytics ISO/QCOW2 or OVA from the release link. These images have Fusion packaged into it. Once all the Virtual Machines or Bare Metal instances are created, they are ready to be configured as a cluster using cluster installation scripts. Both the application and DB will be new with this approach.
The script and documentation related to this can be downloaded from the Analytics documentation support page.
https://support.riverbed.com/content/support/software/steelconnect/steelconnect-ex/steelconnect-analytics.html

Which image should I use when upgrading?
Answer: For to upgrade an existing cluster, download the binary with extension .bin from the release link. The binary upgrades the application to the 20.2.x version. While the application will be updated, the Database continues to be what was initially installed. All functionality will continue to work regardless of the database version.
To upgrade the database to fusion, a cluster upgrade script can be used which will take care of uninstalling the DSE packages and installing new Fusion packages. It will perform the upgrade operation one node at a time. Historical data will be preserved. Real time search data will be truncated. Upgrade scripts and related documentation can be downloaded from following link.
The script and documentation related to this can be downloaded from the Analytics documentation support page.
https://support.riverbed.com/content/support/software/steelconnect/steelconnect-ex/steelconnect-analytics.html
NOTE: Please contact Riverbed Customer Support team for any large customer DB upgrade or if there are any issues while running upgrade scripts.

Will there be downtime during upgrade to 20.2.x?
Answer: Upgrade from 16.1R2 to 20.2.x is like any other upgrade, it only upgrades the SteelConnect EX application software. Data will not be lost at this time. However, when the database is upgraded using upgrade scripts from DSE to Fusion, there will be some downtime (approx. 1 to 2 hours) for the database operations depending on the size of the cluster. Logs will not be lost and any streaming to 3rd party collectors will not be interrupted.
 
How can I detect which version of database node is installed?
Answer: Database version under Administration> Version is shown as follows.  If it ends with F, it is Fusion. If it ends with E, it is Data stax Enterprise.
 
Attachments
FAQ_Upgrade to Analytics Fusion.pdf
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