Towards a Fedora Migration Path

In 2018, DuraSpace was awarded a planning grant (LG-72-18-0204) by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to investigate the barriers to upgrading libraries and archives running unsupported versions of Fedora because reliance on the older versions of Fedora puts the stability, security and functionality of the content and services of these repositories at risk. The grant team conducted background research, including an environmental scan, a collection of institutional profiles, and assessments of relevant technologies, before drafting and distributing a survey to the international community. The survey closed with 111 responses, which have been analyzed and summarized in the full report. A select group of survey respondents were also invited to participate in a focus group to discuss some of their responses in more detail.

Grant work has been completed. The full Designing A Migration Path report can be read here

Fedora 3 is no longer a supported version. Finding migration path solutions to supported Fedora versions are critical for users who need to ensure that resources, collections and data in their repositories are accurate, protected and accessible. Fedora 6 will focus on Fedora’s digital preservation roots by aligning with the Oxford Common File Layout (OCFL). The OFCL is an application-independent approach to the storage of digital objects in a structured, transparent, and predictable manner. Fedora 6 will replace the current ModeShape backend with a more scalable and performant implementation that persists data in accordance with the OCFL specification, which will also create an easier migration path from Fedora 3 by allowing repository data to be converted in-place to work with Fedora 6.

Approaching the decision to move forward with a major upgrade (not minor version upgrades) requires agreeing that institutional strategic goals will be better served by advances offered by the upgrade which can trigger an institutional decision point around assessing impact. Focus group discussions surfaced observations around the decision to upgrade software used in a day-to-day library workflow and weighing the advantages of new features against lost staff time, production, and resources required to complete the upgrade. Therefore, the report recommendations focus on increasing the value of supported versions of Fedora while also reducing the effort required to upgrade.

Fedora users are interested in access to templates, tools, and community best practices as they plan migrations. Developing a migration path “recipe” that might include strategic assessment guidelines, staffing requirements, time estimates, data modeling tools, common issues and solutions is a potential next step towards designing a Fedora migration path.