Middleware - Updating and Securing
What is Middleware?
Middleware is software that provides common services and capabilities to applications outside of what’s offered by the operating system. Data management, messaging, application services, authentication and API management are all commonly handled by middleware. It basically acts as a "bridge" between the users browser and the back-end systems and is where all the business logic happens.
If you are thinking of updating your Middleware systems then what are the common mistakes to avoid and best practices for the future?
The continuous software-update is crucial but let`s be honest, companies often fall behind updating their systems and it doesn't get given the priority it deserves. Updating should be a priority in all IT systems but especially in systems like Middleware and Database.
Your users do not want to wait long periods for a transaction to complete, it needs to happen in milliseconds. If your system is slow, they also won't care why, they will simply find another place to take their business to if their experience is poor.
Installing patches and the latest updates can significantly improve performance and the end user experience.
Middleware and databases can also often be a target of criminals in order to steal customer data, so security is also a very important topic here.
With the latest security updates, the system will be much less vulnerable to attacks. Software companies like IBM and Red Hat continuously work on patching the vulnerability holes, though the criminals are also looking at workarounds to get through. Maintaining security of your system must be an absolute number one priority to keep your customers and maintain their trust.
It is not a negligible point of view that the software companies provide support for your installed product only if you have the latest updates installed. You cannot call them out for an issue when your system is 3 years behind of updates. The first suggestion you will get is to update to the latest edition immediately. This is something you do not want to rush through just to get that desired help. Planning and thorough testing is essential.
With 5 years experience in updating the Middleware systems of large international banks, we often see a pattern of common mistakes that large organisations make.
Patching and Updating
One of these mistakes is that instead of installing updates in sequence at the time of release, organisations often keep a huge gap between versions (for instance patching a v10 system to v16 upgrade in one jump).
Why is this a problem?
The newly introduced small fixes are so many in number and the known side effects are so overwhelming, that this is a huge headache to the technicians regarding diagnosing any problems that may arise after the installation. In the event of an issue after the upgrade, it can be very difficult when you make that jump in versions to be able to understand which incremental version is causing the problem. Another common mistake is not having the skilled staff to implement these migration or update tasks. Under trained and inexperienced technicians can often cause long service outages and irrecoverable damage.
Roll back planning
Not having a rigorously tested roll-back plan can often cause serious issues when the time comes to back-out. The update must be run by specialists who analyse, plan, test and implement with zero or minimal outage.
Techolony can help.
Our experienced team of engineers follow proven processes to analyse your application compatibility with the desired software edition and then plan, test and implement the update. Where possible, we can suggest on automation and can build out an automation solution for you; so the next updates can be installed more easily with the push of a button. Sometimes, the updates on some servers cannot be automated because of the way they were built. For such servers we can implement a semi-automated solution with some manual tasks involved and we can provide documentation or training regarding how to update these unique servers.
If you want to learn more about how we can support you on how to plan, organise and implement a strategic approach to maintaining your Middleware infrastructure then get in touch with the Techolony team today.
Find out about Techolony
Techolony specialise in 'Defining, Designing and Delivering' digital change and transformation solutions.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Senior Partner : Middleware