WSO2 API Manager 4.2 – What, Why & How to Upgrade from an Older Version

In the rapidly evolving landscape of API management, staying updated with the latest versions of your API management platform is not just a matter of accessing new features—it’s about ensuring security, stability, and performance. WSO2 API Manager (APIM) 4.2 represents a significant leap forward, offering a host of new features, enhancements, and improvements over previous versions. If you’re still operating on an older version of WSO2 APIM, this guide is for you. Here, we delve into the what, why, and how of upgrading to WSO2 APIM 4.2, ensuring your transition is as smooth and beneficial as possible. 

Why Upgrade to WSO2 APIM 4.2.0? 

1. Access to New Features and Enhancements 

WSO2 APIM 4.2 introduces a plethora of features and improvements designed based on customer feedback and market trends. Below is the list of features added to WSO2 API 4.2.0 from its successor release of 4.1.0. These features are aimed at improving performance, security, and usability.  

  • JDK 17 support 
  • Open Telemetry Support 
  • Datadog integration with WSO2 API Manager 
  • ELK Support for MI 
  • Configuring Self Sign up through Admin Portal 
  • Configuring API Lifecycle through Admin Portal 
  • Enable logs without server restart 
  • Removal of Jaggery Apps from Portals 
  • Registry artifact view support for MI Management API/Dashboard 
  • Gateway Support for Single Usage Token 
  • Support for managing Common API Policies with APICTL 
  • Handling accidental deletions of shared backend certificates 
  • API Linters for validating the API Specifications 
  • Generate API Documentation Automatically from OAS 
  • Support for managing Rate Limiting Policies with APICTL 
  • MI Dashboard Improvement and Search capability for MI Management API 

2. Security and Vulnerability Fixes 

With the digital threat landscape constantly evolving, staying ahead of vulnerabilities is critical. WSO2 APIM 4.2 includes fixes for known vulnerabilities and security enhancements, ensuring your API management platform is secure against the latest threats. 

3. Enhanced User Experience and Performance 

Transitioning from older versions to WSO2 APIM 4.2, users can expect a more responsive, user-friendly interface built with the latest technologies. Performance improvements includes 

  • Reduced startup times  
  • Lower memory utilization for product installation & services executions 
  • Enhanced throughput  

4. Support Lifecycle and End of Life (EOL) 

WSO2 provides support for each product version for a minimum of three years from its release date. Post this period, the version reaches its End of Life (EOL) and is no longer supported. Upgrading before the EOL ensures continuous support and avoids potential risks associated with unsupported software. 


Preparing for the Upgrade: 

Before diving into the upgrade process, it’s crucial to understand that migrating to WSO2 APIM 4.2.0 can vary in complexity depending on your current version and customization level. Here’s a structured approach to guide you through the upgrade. 

Step 1: Setting Up a New Deployment 

Begin with establishing a new deployment environment for WSO2 APIM 4.2, ensuring you don’t disrupt your existing setup. This approach allows for a seamless transition and testing phase before going live. 

Step 2: Migrating Configurations 

Configuration migration is a critical step, especially if you’re moving from a version older than 3.x, which utilizes XML-based configurations. WSO2 APIM 4.2 employs a TOML-based configuration model, necessitating the migration of all configuration files to the new format.  

For example: The offset change in the XML-based configuration model needs to update the product offset in ‘carbon.xml’ configuration file as mentioned in the image below:  

WSO2 xml based configuration

In the latest version 4.2.0 toml-based model, the offset needs to be updated in the ‘deployment.toml’ file as mentioned in the image below:  

Step 3: Customization and Dependency Updates 

If your deployment includes custom components (e.g., mediators, JWT generators), you’ll need to update these for compatibility with the new version. This might include code changes, especially if moving from versions that supported JDK 8, as JDK 17 is the standard for APIM 4.2. 

Step 4: Database Migration 

Database migration involves moving data from your old setup to the new one. This step is crucial if you’re using databases other than the default H2 database. Remember to update the database schema to accommodate new features introduced in APIM 4.2. 

Step 5: Registry and Gateway Artifacts Migration 

For versions older than APIM 4.2, you’ll need to migrate registry and gateway artifacts. While the gateway artifact migration is optional due to changes in how artifacts are stored, it’s necessary if you’re coming from versions like 2.x. 

Step 6: Migrating Identity and Access Management Components 

This step involves updating the identity and access management components to ensure seamless integration with the new version. It’s essential for maintaining user identities and access controls post-migration. 

Best Practices and Final Thoughts 

Successfully migrating to WSO2 APIM 4.2 not only involves carefully following the technical steps but also adopting best practices throughout the process. Here are some key recommendations: 

  • Engage with Experts: Consulting with WSO2 experts or partners can provide valuable insights and help avoid common pitfalls. 
  • Database Preparations: If changing database types or versions, address this either before or after the migration to avoid complications. 
  • Load Balancer Adjustments: Ensure your load balancers are configured to handle the new deployment smoothly. 
  • Pilot Migrations: Conducting a pilot migration can help identify potential issues and estimate the time required for the full migration. 
  • Downtime Planning: Schedule the migration during low-traffic periods or plan for a complete downtime if feasible, to minimize impact on users. 

Migrating to WSO2 APIM 4.2 is a strategic move that brings your API management capabilities in line with the latest technological advancements, security standards, and performance optimizations. By following the outlined steps and best practices, you can ensure a smooth transition to a more secure, efficient, and user-friendly API management platform. 

Remember, the upgrade process is a significant endeavor that requires thorough planning and testing. Leveraging the support and expertise of WSO2 partners can greatly facilitate this process, ensuring that your organization reaps the full benefits of WSO2 APIM 4.2’s capabilities. 

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