Pre upgrade - Speed up the process

The most complex step in upgrading Liferay DXP is running the process that upgrades the database from the old version to the new version. It takes a long time to restructure the data to the new format.

You can shorten this process by performing a few steps before you upgrade your production environment. Here’s a summary of the steps:

  1. Copy your most recent complete backup from production to a non-production environment in which you can analyze your database and test upgrading, as explained in the remaining steps.
  2. Examine your database.
  3. Use Liferay’s API to delete unused content.
  4. Run the upgrade process on your non-production environment.
  5. Check the upgrade log for the processes that took the most time.
  6. Remove unused content from the upgrade processes that took the longest. If you see a potential issue, analyze it and contact the community if you need help. If you have an enterprise subscription, feel free to open a support ticket and have Liferay verify your analysis.
  7. Repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 as needed.
  8. Remove unused content from production.

The sections that follow explain the more in-depth steps listed above.

Examine Your Database (Step 2)

Here are the most important things to examine in your non-production environment’s copy of the production database:

  • Records per table
  • Size per table (optional)

The greater these values are the longer upgrade processes take.

The database engines show this information in different ways. Sometimes the output from importing backup data into your non-production database shows each table’s size and number of rows (records).

For example, output from a typical database import looks like this:

Processing object type SCHEMA\_EXPORT/TABLE/TABLE\_DATA

imported "LIFERAY"."JOURNALARTICLE" 13.33 GB 126687 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."RESOURCEPERMISSION" 160.9 MB 1907698 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."PORTLETPREFERENCES" 78.13 MB 432285 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."LAYOUT" 52.05 MB 124507 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."ASSETENTRY" 29.11 MB 198809 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."MBMESSAGE" 24.80 MB 126185 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."PORTALPREFERENCES" 4.091 MB 62202 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."USER\_" 17.32 MB 62214 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."USERS\_ROLES" 15.63 MB 1117225 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."LAYOUTSET" 11.50 MB 124442 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."MBTHREAD" 11.99 MB 126184 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."COUNTER" 6.161 MB 123699 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."CONTACT\_" 5.233 MB 62214 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."GROUP\_" 3.772 MB 62221 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."ASSETTAGPROPERTY" 1.460 MB 21417 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."MBDISCUSSION" 3.138 MB 126179 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."JOURNALARTICLEIMAGE" 1.015 MB 22523 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."USERS\_GROUPS" 897.1 KB 62218 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."IMAGE" 480.9 KB 13492 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."JOURNALSTRUCTURE" 135.9 KB 12 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."JOURNALTEMPLATE" 230.6 KB 44 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."DLFILEENTRY" 195.3 KB 1028 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."DLFILEVERSION" 196.8 KB 1350 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."JOURNALARTICLERESOURCE" 272.6 KB 4665 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."JOURNALCONTENTSEARCH" 107.1 KB 2038 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."ASSETENTRIES\_ASSETTAGS" 90.89 KB 6118 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."COUNTRY" 15.33 KB 227 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."DLFILERANK" 12.83 KB 135 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."QUARTZ\_JOB\_DETAILS" 19.70 KB 2 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."QUARTZ\_TRIGGERS" 11.64 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."TICKET" 147.9 KB 1666 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."ASSETTAG" 74.31 KB 908 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."CLASSNAME\_" 13.36 KB 148 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."COMPANY" 9.210 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."RATINGSSTATS" 71.67 KB 2566 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."ACCOUNT\_" 11.35 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."ANNOUNCEMENTSDELIVERY" 13.85 KB 192 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."ASSETCATEGORY" 11.17 KB 2 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."ASSETTAGSTATS" 20.82 KB 666 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."ASSETVOCABULARY" 11.03 KB 6 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."DLFOLDER" 35.81 KB 195 rows

imported "LIFERAY"."LAYOUTPROTOTYPE" 7.359 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."QUARTZ\_CRON\_TRIGGERS" 6.367 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."RESOURCEACTION" 42.84 KB 806 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."SERVICECOMPONENT" 25.28 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."SOCIALACTIVITY" 45.42 KB 734 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."WEBDAVPROPS" 7.820 KB 2 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."WIKIPAGE" 14.68 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."EXPANDOTABLE" 6.656 KB 9 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."IGFOLDER" 10.17 KB 8 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."IGIMAGE" 18.61 KB 61 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."JOURNALFEED" 24.22 KB 38 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."LISTTYPE" 9.554 KB 63 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."MBCATEGORY" 10.75 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."MBMAILINGLIST" 15.96 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."MBMESSAGEFLAG" 7.304 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."PASSWORDPOLICY" 19.06 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."PORTLET" 11.15 KB 136 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."QUARTZ\_LOCKS" 5.117 KB 5 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."REGION" 15.27 KB 316 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."RELEASE\_" 8.281 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."ROLE\_" 17.17 KB 115 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."SHARD" 6.382 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."SUBSCRIPTION" 8.648 KB 2 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."USERGROUPROLE" 5.992 KB 2 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."USERS\_ORGS" 5.531 KB 2 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."VIRTUALHOST" 6.398 KB 1 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."WIKINODE" 9.453 KB 2 rows
imported "LIFERAY"."WIKIPAGERESOURCE" 6.382 KB 1 rows

Several items stand out in the example database import:

  • The JOURNALARTICLE table makes up 98% of the database size.
  • There are many RESOURCEPERMISSION records.
  • There are many PORTLETPREFERENCES records.

The table records reflect Liferay DXP objects. Using the API to delete objects that you no longer need not only deletes each object’s data record but also deletes related unneeded objects (and their data records). For example, deleting an unneeded Group object also deletes related unneeded layouts, journal articles, and more. This reduces the number of records your upgrade needs to process, making your upgrade faster.

Use Liferay’s API to remove unused objects (Step 3)

Your database analysis revealed tables that were large or contained lots of records. It’s recommended to find unneeded objects that can be deleted by examining objects associated with these tables. Also there are some common areas (listed below) to look for unneeded objects.

Here are some common areas to find unneeded objects:

  • Sites: Remove sites you don’t need. When you remove a site, remove its related data:

    • Layouts

    • Portlet preferences

    • File entries (document library objects)

    • Asset Entries

    • Tags

    • Vocabularies and categories

    • Expando fields and their values

    • ResourcePermission objects

    • (and everything else)

  • Instances: Unused instances are rare, but since they are the highest object in the hierarchy, removing their objects can optimize upgrades considerably:

    • Sites (and all their related content)

    • Users

    • Roles

    • Organizations

    • Global ResourcePermission objects

  • Intermediate web content versions: Liferay DXP generates a new web content version after any modification (including translations). Consider removing versions you don’t need. Removing a Journal Article, for example, also removes related objects such as image files (JournalArticleImage) that are part of the content. Removing unneeded image files frees space in your database and file system.

  • Document versions: As with Journal Articles, if you don’t need intermediate document versions, delete them. This saves space both in the database and on the file system, space that no longer needs to be upgraded.

  • Layouts: Layouts are site pages, and they affect upgrade performance because they relate to other entities such as portlet preferences, permissions, assets, ratings, and more. Remove unneeded layouts.

  • Roles: Remove any roles you don’t need. Deleting them also deletes related ResourceBlockPermission and ResourcePermission objects.

  • Users: If you have users that aren’t active anymore, remove them.

  • Vocabularies: Remove any unused vocabularies. Note that removing a vocabulary also removes its categories.

  • Orphaned data: Check for unused objects that are not connected to anything. Here are some examples:

    • DLFileEntries with no file system data.

    • ResourcePermission objects associated to a role, layout, user, portlet instances, etc. that no longer exists.

    • PortletPreference objects associated with a portlet or layout that no no longer exists. This is common in environments with many embedded portlets. These portlet instances have a different lifecycle, and aren’t deleted when the portlet is removed from a template.

After you’ve removed unneeded objects, test your changes.

Execute the upgrade process (Step 4)

It’s time to upgrade your non-production environment and note what upgrade processes take the longest. Each Liferay DXP upgrade process logs how long it takes. An upgrade log now looks like this:

21:42:45,422 INFO \[main\]\[UpgradeProcess:83\] Upgrading com.liferay.portal.upgrade.v7\_0\_0.UpgradeRatings

21:42:45,423 INFO \[main\]\[LoggingTimer:70\] Starting com.liferay.portal.upgrade.v7\_0\_0.UpgradeRatings\#upgradeRatingsEntry

21:42:47,154 INFO \[main\]\[LoggingTimer:38\] Completed com.liferay.portal.upgrade.v7\_0\_0.UpgradeRatings\#upgradeRatingsEntry in 1731 ms

21:42:47,154 INFO \[main\]\[LoggingTimer:70\] Starting com.liferay.portal.upgrade.v7\_0\_0.UpgradeRatings\#upgradeRatingsStats

21:44:10,069 INFO \[main\]\[LoggingTimer:38\] Completed com.liferay.portal.upgrade.v7\_0\_0.UpgradeRatings\#upgradeRatingsStats in 82915 ms

21:44:10,070 INFO \[main\]\[UpgradeProcess:98\] Completed upgrade process com.liferay.portal.upgrade.v7\_0\_0.UpgradeRatings in 84648ms

The duration times (in milliseconds) facilitate finding the most time consuming processes. Consider searching for unneeded objects associated these longer upgrade processes. Once again, make sure to delete them using Liferay’s API and test your changes.

Remove Unused Objects from Production (Step 8)

Now that you have removed unused objects from your non-production environment and tested your changes, you can use Liferay’s API to remove the same objects from your production environment. By removing the objects from production and testing your changes before upgrading, you can more easily troubleshoot any issues, knowing that they’re not related to upgrade processes. Another benefit of doing this even while you work through the upgrade is that your production environment will perform better and be easier to maintain.


By removing unused objects from Liferay DXP, you can both reduce upgrade time and improve your server’s performance on the new version.

Taking the time to optimize your installation before upgrading can save time and keep your installation running smoothly.

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