Community Blog Simplifying OS Migration: Alibaba Cloud Linux Supports Cross-Version Upgrades

Simplifying OS Migration: Alibaba Cloud Linux Supports Cross-Version Upgrades

This article introduces the way to upgrade Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 to Alibaba Cloud Linux 3 using Alibaba Cloud Server Migration Center and its benefits.


Background Information

Alibaba Cloud Server Migration Center (SMC) offers a feature for cross-version upgrade from Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 to Alibaba Cloud Linux 3. You can easily upgrade Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 to Alibaba Cloud Linux 3 using the SMC console.

Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 will reach its end-of-life (EOL) on March 31, 2024. By choosing to upgrade the operating system (OS) to Alibaba Cloud Linux 3, you can enjoy a more stable system experience and benefit from AI support and other new features.

In the past, OS upgrades posed challenges for IT teams in enterprises. The need for pre-upgrade verification, handling business risks during the upgrade process, and the lack of automated tools resulted in significant manpower and time costs.

Migration Benefits

Using SMC for the cross-version upgrade of Alibaba Cloud Linux offers the following advantages:

1. Safe and Reliable

When upgrading the system across versions, it becomes irreversible due to the upgrade of the system kernel. Therefore, it is crucial to back up data before performing the upgrade. SMC provides users with fully automatic data backup and snapshots during the OS migration process, eliminating the need for manual snapshot creation. After the upgrade, the original system disk can be released, and the new system disk retains the original data, ensuring data integrity without the risk of data loss.

2. Simple and Easy to Operate

The OS upgrade process often requires significant manpower and time to repeatedly verify and perform related operations. With SMC, you can import a batch of instances and achieve quick upgrades through a user-friendly GUI-based operation, eliminating the complexity of command lines and multiple steps. Additionally, you can monitor the upgrade progress and view upgrade logs in real-time through the SMC console to stay informed about the status of instances during the upgrade process.

3. Consistent

When using third-party methods, such as the command line, to upgrade the operating system, there may be issues with synchronizing the OS in the instance console. SMC ensures a consistent cloud experience. As Alibaba Cloud Linux is a native OS of Alibaba Cloud, upgrading Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 to Alibaba Cloud Linux 3 through SMC automatically updates the upgrade in the Alibaba Cloud ECS console. This eliminates the need to worry about data synchronization after the upgrade.

Introduction to Upgrade Solutions

There are significant differences between Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 and Alibaba Cloud Linux 3 in terms of kernel, basic software package, and tool chain. Migration tools need to take into account the compatibility issues that arise from these changes. SMC conducts migration assessment and migration implementation to facilitate in-place migration from Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 to Alibaba Cloud Linux 3.

Figure/SMC Migration Flowchart

1. Upgrade Evaluation

Leapp scans the system to be migrated, collects basic information on the kernel, software package, and system configuration, compares and analyzes it with the target system (Alibaba Cloud Linux 3), and provides impact analysis and solutions for incompatible items.

Regarding the kernel: Leapp identifies kernel features that are no longer supported in Alibaba Cloud Linux 3, as well as hardware drivers.

Regarding the software: Leapp lists changes in system commands and prompts users to adapt their business programs.

The migration assessment report displays all the items in the current system that may affect the migration. Once these items are addressed, you can proceed with the upgrade. Additionally, the compatibility prompts in the assessment report can help businesses adapt their programs accordingly.

2. Upgrade Implementation

Leapp first collects the current system information and records the necessary configurations to be restored after the restart, such as the SELinux state. During the migration, the tool downloads the required software packages for migration from the Alibaba Cloud Linux repo in advance, based on the list of software packages installed on the current system and the software package mapping relationship between Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 and Alibaba Cloud Linux 3. It then creates an upgrade-initramfs using the software packages of Alibaba Cloud Linux 3. After the next restart, the system automatically enters upgrade-initramfs, triggering in-place upgrades for all software packages. Once all software packages have undergone in-place upgrades, the system automatically restarts to enter the system configuration restoration phase. After all configurations are set, the system restarts and the in-place upgrade of the OS is completed.

The SMC OS upgrade feature is based on the migration tool OpenAnolis, with numerous optimizations and adaptations made to enhance its functionality. By utilizing the SMC OS upgrade feature, you can significantly reduce the complexity and technical demands associated with OS upgrades, enabling you to complete them quickly.

For more information about the SMC OS feature, please refer to:

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