Upgrade Guide


The following steps are required to upgrade an on-premises installation of Appian to the current release. If you are on a version of Appian lower than 18.4, you must first upgrade to 18.4 or higher before upgrading to the current release.

Appian Cloud customers do not need to follow the instructions on this page when upgrading versions of Appian.

In this document, the following conventions are used to indicate the locations you have selected on your servers during installation:

  • Location of the previous Appian installation: <OLD_APPIAN_HOME>
  • Location of the new Appian installation: <APPIAN_HOME>

Before Beginning

Review New System Requirements and Behavior Changes

Review the release notes and system requirements.

Open the Required Ports

Appian components communicate with each other over specified network ports. If you are preparing a distributed installation, you must first ensure that the required ports are open between the servers that host the different Appian components.

In Appian 19.2 and later, ports 5406, 5407, 5450, and 5451 are additional ports that need to be opened for the data server. These ports must be accessible from the application server(s) (and from the other data servers for a High Availability installation).

In Appian 19.4 and later, servers hosting instances of the application server need to access ports 2181, 2888, 3888, 9092 on servers hosting instances of the Internal Messaging Service. See the Port Usage for all required ports.

Review Plug-ins

Always check the release notes for defect fixes, Java API deprecations and removals, and other changes that may affect plug-ins used by your installation.

Some plug-ins may need to be updated as part of the upgrade in order to continue to provide the desired functionality.

Custom Application Portal Pages

If your application contains custom Application Portal and non-SAIL forms, See the How to upgrade legacy customizations knowledge base article for instructions.

1. Disable Scheduled Appian Administrative Scripts

Halt any scheduling for the following scripts to prevent system changes while upgrading or unnecessary jobs from continuing.

  • cleanup.sh (.bat) - This required administrative script copies archives, and logs to backup locations and deletes them from production. Be sure to reschedule this job once you have completed the upgrade process.
  • cleanupArchives.sh (.bat) - This required administrative script deletes old engine checkpoint files from production. Be sure to reschedule this job once you have completed the upgrade process.
  • status.sh (.bat) - Reports the status of Appian Engines and is used for monitoring purposes.

2. Shut Down Appian

Refer to Starting and Stopping Appian for the version of Appian that you are upgrading from for instructions on how to shut down Appian.

  • Note: Do not kill any Appian processes. Wait for the normal shutdown to complete. An improperly shut down instance cannot be upgraded.
  • If Appian is installed as a Windows Service, stop and delete the Appian Windows services.

3. Back up Your Existing Appian Instance

  1. Back up the entire <OLD_APPIAN_HOME> directory.
  2. Back up the schemas/tables in the RDBMS used by Appian using the RDBMS vendor's preferred backup method.

4. Rename Your Existing Installation Directory

If you are installing the new version of Appian on the same server as your current Appian instance, first rename your current Appian installation directory to keep from losing the existing data (you will need to copy this data over after installing the new version in the next step). For example, you might change the current directory name of APPIAN_HOME to OLD_APPIAN_HOME. This will allow you to install the new version into APPIAN_HOME.

5. Install New Version of Appian

Refer to the Appian Installation Guides specific to your environment and new version. Follow the steps in Part 1 of the guide to install the new version of Appian and then configure the installation as detailed in Part 2. You should not start Appian until you have completed all instructions prior to step 9 in this document.

Keep the following in mind:

  • If you use the same installation directory (name and path) as was used during the original Appian installation (which was renamed in step 4), you will avoid the need to change file paths. Otherwise, you must update the conf.suite.BASE_PATH property in custom.properties file located in the <APPIAN_HOME>/conf/ directory using forward slashes on both UNIX and Windows.
  • If necessary, update the JDK version to match the supported versions listed in the System Requirements.
  • Review the web server configuration instructions and copy the new static files to the web server, as these also change from release to release.
  • If you are running a distributed installation, run the installer on every server that will host any Appian component. Ensure that you use the same version of the installer on every server in the environment. This can be verified after the installation steps by opening the build.info file located in <APPIAN_HOME>/conf/. The contents of this file should match across all servers in the environment.

6. Copy Your Data

Copy the following files and folders from the old Appian directory into the same location in your new Appian installation. Some of these directories might not exist in the legacy Appian directory, depending on what version it is.

  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/accdocs1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/accdocs2/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/accdocs3/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/mini/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/models/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/plugins/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/process_notes/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/shared/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/data-server/data/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/logs/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/archived-process/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/channels/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/collaboration/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/forums/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/msg/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/notifications/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/personalization/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/portal/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/process/analytics/*/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/process/design/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/server/process/exec/*/gw1/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/services/data/kafka-logs/
  • <APPIAN_HOME>/services/data/zookeeper/

If you copied your data files for the _admin/mini/ directory into a directory that uses a different file path than before, such as //NewRootFolder/_admin/mini/ instead of //OldRootFolder/_admin/mini/, you must run the change-paths.sh (.bat) file located in <APPIAN_HOME>/_admin/_scripts/tools/ to update the mini website content directory location.

Note that copying the corresponding files from the old Appian installation into <APPIAN_HOME>/services/data/kafka-logs/ in the new installation is mandatory since this directory contains essential data required for proper start up. The target directory must be empty before copying the data from the previous installation.

Double check each directory to ensure that your old files were successfully copied over.

The system may still start successfully with improperly copied or missing resources. However, resulting system errors may still occur later when a process action that relies on a missing resource is attempted.

7. Update Your Configuration Files

Copy the custom.properties file located at <OLD_APPIAN_HOME>/conf/ to the <APPIAN_HOME>/conf/ directory. For any other custom configuration files, such as appian-topology.xml, merge your customizations with the new default example or template files and place the resulting file in the new installation's directory.

Appian Data Source Configuration

The Appian data source must reuse the same database before and after upgrading in order to preserve the existing data. The schema of that data source will be automatically updated to the latest version during application server startup.

Elevated user rights (such as Schema Owner or Database Owner) are required for the Appian Data Source during the application server startup portion of the upgrade process. These elevated rights may be removed after upgrading, if desired.

See also: Configuring Relational Databases

Custom Spring Security Configurations

Support for custom Spring Security configurations has been deprecated since version 7.11 and you should convert your authentication configuration to one of the three out-of-the-box authentication mechanisms at the earliest opportunity.

If you have not yet converted to using the out-of-the-box authentication configurations and you maintain customized or overridden Spring Security .xml files, you must merge them with the associated base files in the <APPIAN_HOME>/deployment/web.war/WEB-INF/conf/security/ directory when upgrading to the latest version of Appian.

Data Server Configuration

Starting in Appian 19.2, the data server can be configured as a Highly Available component of Appian. If your Appian installation is configured for High Availability, update the appian-topology.xml file to configure data server to run on three servers. For example, the topology for data server should look like this:

    <data-server host="machine1.example.com" port="5400" rts-count="1"/>
    <data-server host="machine2.example.com" port="5400" rts-count="1"/>
    <data-server host="machine3.example.com" port="5400" rts-count="1"/>

8. Recreate Search Indices

You need to recreate search server indices only if you are upgrading from an Appian version prior to 19.3. If you are already on version 19.3 or later, you can skip this section. You do not need to recreate search indices. This step clears Current User Activity and Historical Performance Trends for interface executions.

To account for changes in the format of the search server indices since the last upgrade, delete the contents of the <APPIAN_HOME>/search-server/data/ directory from every server. Do not delete the directory itself.

After following these steps, the search indices will be recreated during the application server startup.

Note: Upon the recreation of indices, Current User Activity and Historical Performance Trends for interface executions will not be preserved across upgrades. These data metrics are gathered and retained on a sliding time frame and will be started fresh after the indices are recreated.

See also:

9. Start Appian

  1. Bring up Appian fully using the Starting and Stopping Appian instructions.
  2. Once all engines, services, and application servers are running, log in.

If you have multiple application servers, start one application server and wait for it to complete startup before starting the rest. The remaining application servers may be started simultaneously.

It is possible to successfully upgrade Appian, but see a blank page or older login screen while testing the initial login. If this occurs, clear you browser cache, and try navigating to the BASE_PATH.

10. Reschedule Appian Administrative Scripts

Reschedule the administrative script(s) you disabled in the first step.

Make sure to update the script location to the new instance.

11. Merge Email Templates

If you used customized email templates in the prior version, reapply these changes to the new templates used in your new version of Appian.

  1. In the E-mail Templates folder of the System Knowledge Center, download the updated emailHeader.html and emailFooter.html files.
  2. Merge your prior customizations into these files, as appropriate.
  3. Upload new versions of the merged file(s).
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