How to upgrade your old BI-Server to Pentaho Reporting 3.7.0

So once again I find myself writing a upgrade guide for the ancient BI-Server releases. It may be futile to say so, but: Hey, this is the last time I am back-porting anything for these dusty creaky collections of bits and bytes.

The next release of Pentaho Reporting will be the 4.0 release, with APIs changing, worlds ending and other mind-altering influences happening. And I surely don’t have the patience to wait until the zombies crumble to dust. So be warned, your clock is ticking too.

Enough of the happy talk, lets talk upgrade.

As a result of the upgrade you will:

There are a few limitations and warnings that come with this upgrade:

  • The Drill-Linking-UI will not auto-populate the parameter information for XActions or XAnalyzer content. 
  • The report-viewer will be upgraded. If you are using invalid report parameter or if you are using report-parameter values that are not acceptable with the parameter-definitions defined in your report, those reports will now always fail. Fix the report definition and the error will go away.
  • Any modification made to the report-viewer’s plugin.xml file will be lost.
  • There is no and will be no upgrade for BI-Server 3.5.0 or earlier versions. Upgrade!
  • The Pentaho-Support-Crew may or may not support such upgraded installations.

For the upgrade you will need:

  • A computer with a Java-5 SDK and Apache ANT installed
  • A Subversion client and knowledge how to check out code from a repository
  • A Pentaho installation on your local disk (and permission to change files there)

This upgrade is relatively easy, and surely easier than the last one. So lets get started.

Step 0: Backup your Pentaho installatio

Don’t skip that part. The upgrade will delete the old reporting files and will install new ones. Always make sure that you can return to the pre-upgrade state. 

Step 1: Create a directory for the source-code and the build files.

mkdir /home/user/pentaho

Step 2: Check out the source code of the reporting plugin that matches your BI-Server installation.

In this manual, I will use a command line client. However, any Subversion client will do the job.

BI-Server 3.5.2:

cd /home/user/pentaho
svn co reporting-plugin

BI-Server 3.6.0:

cd /home/user/pentaho

svn co reporting-plugin

Step 3: Edit the file to point to your BI-Server installation

There are two possible scenarios, depending on how you installed your Pentaho BI-Server:

(1) BI-server pre-configured installation

This is the standard installation type when you install the Pentaho-BI-Server with an EE-installer or from a ZIP or Tgz file from Sourceforge. You only need to modify a single setting:


(2) A custom installation in a J2EE Web-application server.

The installation process has to delete some old files and copies a couple of new files into the web-application. You have to make sure that the WAR-file is extracted somewhere for the upgrade. WAR files are ZIP files so any unzip tool will do the job.

You will have to set two settings in the file. Note that there is no entry for “install.lib-dir” in that file. You have to create one on a new line.

For this example I will assume that your pentaho-solutions directory is “/srv/pentaho/pentaho-solutions”. I further assume your unzipped WAR file sits in “/home/user/pentaho-war” so that you can see a directory called “/home/user/pentaho-war/WEB-INF/lib”.

Step 4: Download the libs and build the jars

Assuming you have Apache Ant installed, you can run

ant resolve dist

Otherwise, shame on you for skipping the requirements and then read:

Step 5: Ensure you have made your backup.

Step 6: If you patch a Pre-Configured Installation or an other J2EE server’s work-directory then stop your BI-Server now.

Step 7: Install the artifacts

The ant-script contains all information to patch your WAR file or your Pentaho-PreConfigured Installation. Simply run:

ant install 

Step 8: Start your BI-Server. Login and enjoy your new reporting engine.

This entry was posted in Advanced Topic, Tech-Tips on by .

About Thomas

After working as all-hands guy and lead developer on Pentaho Reporting for over an decade, I have learned a thing or two about report generation, layouting and general BI practices. I have witnessed the remarkable growth of Pentaho Reporting from a small niche product to a enterprise class Business Intelligence product. This blog documents my own perspective on Pentaho Reporting's development process and our our steps towards upcoming releases.

4 thoughts on “How to upgrade your old BI-Server to Pentaho Reporting 3.7.0

  1. Thomas Morgner

    Almost. There are probably one or two changes in the code needed, but otherwise not much has changed. 3.8 was more a bug-fix release than anything else.

    But you probably have to make sure that you update the EHCache configuration of the server as well and that you add a few new declaration to the spring-xml file to make the server side engine use the new data-cache. Without it, the cache will go mad as it is not aware of being in a multi-user environment and you will be in trouble.

    Copying the 3.8 version of the EHCache file to the old server should be fine. And with a DIFF between the 3.8 and 3.7 version finding the few reporting entries should be easy too.

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