Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise) to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial) Upgrade FAQ

In April 2017, Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise) will reach end of life. After April 2017, Canonical, Ubuntu’s developer, will no longer issue security fixes or package updates for Precise, so it is important that we migrate your application to Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) in order to keep your application on an operating system that is supported and secure. This deadline will not be extended as it is critical your application be upgraded to ensure its continued security.

Acquia Cloud Free applications

All Acquia Cloud Free applications will be upgraded by Acquia. A notice will appear in the Acquia Cloud UI's Help Center informing users of this maintenance prior to its occurrence.

Acquia Cloud Professional applications

Beginning 5 April 2017, you will be able to upgrade your Acquia Cloud Professional application through the Acquia Cloud interface. Instructions are in our article, "Upgrading the operating system of a server." You should expect the upgrade process to require 30 to 60 minutes of downtime for your application.

Any applications that have not been upgraded by 1 May 2017 will be upgraded on your behalf by our team. We strongly advise you complete the conversion yourself to control the timing of your instance's maintenance window. 

Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications

To provide time for testing prior to upgrading your production application, we will begin upgrading all non-production environments for Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications on Monday, 17 April 2017. We will schedule and upgrade these environments and dates for your individual applications will be communicated to you in advance.

Following the completion of all non-production environment upgrades for Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications, we will provide a few days for testing, we will then communicate to you when we will be upgrading your production environments for your Acquia Cloud Enterprise application(s). This will continue throughout the months of April and May.

Acquia Cloud Site Factory applications

We will provide additional details to customers with Acquia Cloud Site Factory applications soon. Frequently Asked Questions about the Xenial Upgrade

Q: Why is this happening?

In April 2017, Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise) will reach end of life. After April 2017, Canonical, Ubuntu’s developer, will no longer issue security fixes or package updates for Precise. This creates a security risk to your files, data, and application. It is important that we migrate your application to Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) in order to keep your application on an operating system that is supported and secure. 

Q: Will my application's behavior change after the upgrade?

It is possible that your application's behavior could change after the upgrade. It is imperative that you test your application during the period that the upgrade is applied to your staging environment. 

Q: What important changes are there with the Xenial upgrade?

Subversion 1.6.17 upgraded to 1.9.3

  • Older SVN clients may need to be updated

Git 1.9.1 upgraded to 2.7.4

  • Older Git clients need to be updated to use new Git features

Apache 2.2.22 upgraded to 2.4.18

FFMPEG 2.1.8 upgraded to 2.8.8

  • Acquia is no longer building this from source and instead relying on the Ubuntu package
  • Supported codecs may be different

XML Parser Library Changes

The version of the libxml XML Parser library included with Xenial will not parse XML strings larger than 10MB by default. Due to a known issue with PHP 5.6, this limitation will cause PHP's xmlrpc_decode() function to behave unexpectedly, returning NULL if used to decode an XML string larger than 10 MB. If you rely on this function to parse large strings of XML data, you may want to consider augmenting your application's functionality to check the size of the XML data you're working with before passing it into xmlrpc_decode().

Q: Is there any way to change the deadline?

No. This end-of-life deadline has been set by Canonical. It cannot be changed.

Q: Can I keep one of my environments in Precise?

No. Due to the security risks involved in maintaining an unsupported operating system, we cannot allow applications on the Acquia Cloud platform to continue running Precise.

Q: How can I apply an upgrade to just my staging or dev environment on my Acquia Cloud Professional application? Will I be presented with choices once I hit the "Upgrade" button?

Acquia Cloud Professional applications store all environments (dev, staging, prod) on the same instance. Unfortunately, this means customers with Acquia Cloud Professional applications cannot upgrade non-production environments separately from their production environments. If you would like to learn more about moving your application to a multi-tiered structure, contact Acquia Sales to discuss migrating your application to Acquia Cloud Enterprise.

Acquia Cloud Enterprise customers will have their non-production environments upgraded prior to their production environments to allow those customers to test.

Acquia Cloud Site Factory customers will receive separate communications related to their upgrades.

Q: Is there any action required on my part?

After a relaunch your machine’s SSH key fingerprint will change. You may receive a warning when trying to SSH into your instance. To learn how to clear this warning, visit https://docs.acquia.com/articles/ssh-and-rsa-key-warnings-after-server-relaunch for instructions. Additionally, if you are using any of the following software, you may be required to upgrade to the appropriate version to avoid any issues:

  • Subversion 1.6.17 has been upgraded to 1.9.3
  • Git 1.9.1 has been upgraded to 2.7.4

The following changes may also be necessary:

Apache 2.2.22 upgraded to 2.4.18

FFMPEG 2.1.8 upgraded to 2.8.8

  • Acquia is no longer building this from source and instead relying on the Ubuntu package
  • Supported codecs may be different

XML Parser Library Changes

The version of the libxml XML Parser library included with Xenial will not parse XML strings larger than 10MB by default. Due to a known issue with PHP 5.6, this limitation will cause PHP's xmlrpc_decode() function to behave unexpectedly, returning NULL if used to decode an XML string larger than 10 MB. If you rely on this function to parse large strings of XML data, you may want to consider augmenting your application's functionality to check the size of the XML data you're working with before passing it into xmlrpc_decode().

Moving .htaccess files into your docroot directory prior to your Xenial upgrade

In preparation for these upgrades, we detected that some customers' applications contain an .htaccess file in their applications repo currently located outside the docroot directory.  If this is not removed prior to the Xenial upgrade, affected applications will encounter 500 page errors until this file is moved into the docroot directory within the affected application's repo.  Any customer with an application that might be impacted by their .htaccess file's location have been contacted by ticket as of 28 April 2017.  For instructions on how to resolve this see our article, "Moving your .htaccess file prior to Xenial upgrades for your application." 

Q: Can customers still use Apache 2.2 syntax only for the .htaccess?

Yes. Customer .htaccess files from Apache 2.2 should work without modification on Apache2.4.  This Apache.org article has more specifics on the changes from Apache 2.2 to Apache 2.4. It advises that you either stick with the old directives or switch to the new ones, but don’t get stuck in the middle with a mix of 2.2 and 2.4 syntax in the same app. Q: Will new instances that my application is being moved to (but have not moved to yet) be able to launch on Xenial from the get-go, instead of launching as Precise then being upgraded later? 

Yes. We are currently defaulting new instances to Xenial.

Q: Will there be any downtime for my non-production environments?

For Acquia Cloud Free applications, you should expect the upgrade process to require 30 to 60 minutes of dev and staging environment downtime during this upgrade.

For Acquia Cloud Professional applications, you should expect the upgrade process to require 30 to 60 minutes of dev and staging environment downtime during this upgrade.

For Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications with high availability non-production environments, no downtime is anticipated for your dev and staging environment during this upgrade. For Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications without high availability non-production environments, these environments will be unavailable for 30 to 60 minutes during the upgrade.

Q: Will there be any downtime for my production application?

Acquia Cloud Free applications, have no productions environments.

For Acquia Cloud Professional applications, you should expect the upgrade process to require 30 to 60 minutes of downtime during this upgrade.

For Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications, due to Acquia Cloud Enterprise's high availability architecture, there is no anticipated downtime for your production applications associated with this migration. However, if your application requires custom PHP extensions or libraries compiled and installed by you to function as anticipated, action may be required on your part to restore these libraries.

Q: Will the Xenial upgrade require more memory and make me have to upsize my instance(s)?

Based on our testing, we do not expect most customers to require any infrastructure changes to support Xenial.

Q: How can I determine when the lowest traffic period is to my sites, in order to perform the upgrade during an optimal time?

If you have tools in place to monitor pageviews on your application, you can use these to identify low-traffic periods. If you do not have good visibility into pageviews, a tool like Google Analytics or a similar solution may be helpful. 

Q: Will my Elastic IP (EIP) address change with the Xenial upgrade?

No. This upgrade does not make any changes to your application's EIPs.

Q: Will there be any other impacts to my production application?

For Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications, the upgrade process utilizes the high availability failover mechanism to achieve continuous availability through the upgrade. High volume applications with heavy reliance on Varnish and Memcache caching may experience temporary performance degradation while the cache rebuilds immediately after the upgrade. Acquia Support will be alerted if an application is overly stressed by this condition and we will alert you if actions are required beyond waiting for the cache to repopulate.  

Q: How will I know when maintenance related to my application is being performed?

For Acquia Cloud Professional applications, you will be contacted if your application is not upgraded by 1 May 2017.

For Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications, we will contact you by ticket to let you know when maintenance for your application will occur. 

Q: Are there other major upgrades coming soon?

For more information on upcoming maintenance upgrades, see our Software end-of-life schedule.

Q: I have some additional questions and concerns. Who can I contact?

If you have any questions about this or any other maintenance, you can contact Acquia Support by logging into https://accounts.acquia.com and visiting the Acquia Help Center.

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