Prepare for MAS: Utilizing S3 Storage for Attached Documents in 7.6.1

Phil Runion
May 13, 2024

Options in MAS

Projetech identified storage of attached documents in Maximo as a key difference in the 7.6 upgrade to MAS. Moving to OpenShift from a server-based architecture requires attached documents to be re-thought. In the Maximo Application Suite administrators can choose between using Network File Systems (NFS) to provide storage for attached documents using Kubernetes persistent volume framework or using Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud object storage for storing attachments. Both approaches have their advantages and Projetech found S3 as the best path forward for most clients.  

Why S3

Implementing Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud object storage for storing attached documents uses updated technology for storing and accessing files from within Manage. By using S3 instead of Network Files System (NFS), the storage configuration and management moves from being inside OpenShift to outside of OpenShift. This gives administrators the ability to pick and configure the provider, performance, and redundancy that is right for each environment.  

Leveraging S3 for attached documents also sets you up for success in other areas of MAS. Maximo Customization Archives, integration and log publishing can all be done with S3 buckets. S3 is the technology that IBM is investing development efforts into when they need to manage files in the MAS system. Chances are good that every MAS system will have some S3 buckets associated with it, so why not use the same technology for attached documents?  

Projetech leverages multiple clouds to support their clients. Each cloud provider has an implementation of S3 that can be used. By using each cloud’s S3 service, we can simplify configuration, manage costs, and keep file transfer traffic private. Another benefit is that S3 is supporting in 7.6.1 environments meaning you can move to S3 before moving to MAS. This allows administrators to reduce risk, change, and effort needed during the transition to MAS.  

Move to S3 Considerations

When moving to S3, there are a few technical considerations to be aware of. Maximo 7.6.1 supports using S3 for attached documents, and in practice it works well. If using Maximo 7.6.1.2, there are a few libraries that need to be manually updated. Upgrading to Maximo 7.6.1.3 prevents the need for doing this manual update and is a good idea so that you are on a version that IBM supports. Another consideration is how all files are currently accessed by integrations and mobile products. If files are being accessed via the Maximo framework, you are good, but if you have a process that interacts with the file system directly, you will need to adjust it, or S3 might not be right for you.  

Configuring Maximo 7.6.1 for S3

When configuring 7.6.1 for S3, there are two concepts to consider. First is getting Maximo connected to the S3 bucket. Second is moving all the existing files to the bucket to be accessed. Adjusting your Maximo system to connect to S3 is documented well by IBM. Once your S3 account and bucket is created by your system administrator, your Maximo administrator will need to adjust a few system properties. Then restart the system and you can start using the S3 bucket.

IBM Doc: https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/mam/7.6.1.2?topic=properties-attachment-s3

The trickier part in configuring the system is moving the existing attachment file to the S3 bucket. The files need to be uploaded to the S3 bucket. Using a tool like WinSCP allows you to connect to the S3 bucket just like you would connect to a SFTP site with a client UI. Before uploading all your files, you must be aware that Maximo implementation of S3 doesn’t allow subdirectories. However, most Maximo configurations do have subdirectories. Before uploading, Projetech is flattening our doclinks folder structure. In MAS, IBM provides a script for doing this in the MAXINST pod, file2s3.sh, but this isn’t available if you are migrating to S3 on 7.6.1, making this a manual process. To prevent duplicate file names, Projetech scripts add the subdirectory name to the file name and then recursively move the file up the folder directory. A file that was previously in the attachment directory as .\Attachments\testfile.txt is renamed to .\Attachments-testfile.txt.  

Example PowerShell:

Get-ChildItem "'C:\docklinks\Attachments " -exclude attachments-* | Where {! $.PSIsContainer } | Rename-Item -NewName { "doclinks-attachments-" + $.Name}

Once the files are all flattened or combined into a single directory, you can upload them to the S3 bucket. Once the files names are changed and uploaded, the same change is needed in the DOCINFO table. By scripting the folder name into the file name, we have a predictable result that can be reproduced with SQL in the database.  

Example SQL:

update docinfo set urlname = REPLACE(urlname,'C:\docklinks\Attachments\','cos:doclinks/attachments-') where urltype = 'FILE' and urlname not like 'cos:doclinks%' and urlname like 'C:\docklinks\Attachments\%'

Combining changes to the Maximo system properties, uploading documents to S3, and updating the DOCINFO table Maximo 7.6.1 can be successfully moved to utilizing S3 for the storage of attached documents. Attention to detail is helpful, and you should always try changes in your non-production environment first, but with a bit of effort this is one less thing you must change and worry about during your Maximo to MAS upgrade.  

Maximo 7.6.1 S3 Documentation:

https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/mam/7.6.1.2?topic=properties-attachment-s3

MAS S3 Documentation:

https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/mas-cd/maximo-manage/continuous-delivery?topic=documents-configuring-attached

https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/mas-cd/maximo-manage/continuous-delivery?topic=properties-attachment-s3

https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/mas-cd/maximo-manage/continuous-delivery?topic=documents-converting-file-based-storage-s3-storage

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Phil Runion
May 13, 2024

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