Siebel IRM - Boon or Bane?
Siebel 126.96.36.199 brought with it what is called “Incremental Repository Merge” known simply as Siebel IRM. The objectives are novel:
- Move away from the optional ACRs to apply incremental changes for a point release (e.g. 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206 etc). Avoid the often flaky, and certainly difficult to manage ACRs like the evil which they have become
- Get the latest innovations quickly to the customer. Make it easier for customers to apply changes in their own repositories
- Make the upgrades less painful by applying the patches on time rather than saving them for the upgrade
None of the objectives are hard to understand for the weary Siebel developer. The execution though is more tricky.
- IRM is very similar to the upgrade that we all respect and fear about (well, the fear is partly our doing. With Siebel you have to remember what a wise man once said ‘with great power comes great responsibility’). Upgrades are not easy in Siebel, period.
- If you have customizations in the existing repository that are too hot to handle, you have a problem. There are going to be tens of thousands of conflicts that developers ‘have to take a call on’. Developers are lazy (not a bad thing by itself) and do not enjoy ’taking call on’ stuff.
- Sifting through the conflicts and merging them or correcting them is not an enjoyable task.
- If you have been pestered by Support that a good-for-nothing defect is fixed only in the latest and greatest point-release, you cannot just install patch, apply the fix and forget about it. You now have a mini-upgrade on your hands.
- Conflicts and post merge tasks brings jitters to developers. This may necessitate a full or scaled-down regression to ensure you did not break something. That simple change the older team carried out to ‘force-active’ a field may be gone because you wanted some flashy stuff on the same attribute brought in by the latest release.
Of course I am going to write a customary “what is IRM” and all that stuff someday. This was just to outline the frustrations that are legacy of the legacy software.
What you can do today?
- Learn what indeed is IRM from your friend, the bookshelf
- Get an online IRM tutorial from Oracle
- Head over to Support Doc. 1549478.1 with your Oracle Support id for FAQs et. al.
- Join IRM conversation on where else, the upgrade forum
PS: Pardon the cliche in the title, I couldn't just help it when I was trying to write something about IRM. It just fits the bill.