We release a new version every month at Looker, chock-full of new features. Most of our customers are able to take advantage of these features as soon as they are available, because we manage and update their Looker instances for them. However, if you self-host your Looker instance or have a hold on updating because of feature deprecations, it is easy to fall behind and miss out on the latest and greatest Looker has to offer.
Why Should You Update?
In addition to the fact that we are constantly releasing new functionality to make your experience better, there are a couple of important reasons to stay current:
- Looker provides product support coverage for Looker instances on the latest stable version and the two previous versions, as well as the Extended Support Release. Because we release a new version every month, three months without updating puts you outside the stable window. The latest version provides all new features and the latest bug fixes.
- At Looker, we take security very seriously and update our product to address any new web vulnerabilities. We try our hardest to keep supported releases as safe as possible, but we ask you to do your part by staying current with Looker to ensure that your Looker instance has access to the latest security patches.
Steps and Considerations When Updating
1. Address the Original Need for Holding on Update
Sometimes you may ask to prevent updates for a specific functional reason. This could be a significant change in functionality for which you need more time to train your users, or it could be a feature or tool that was deprecated in a new release that is operationally critical for your business (like an API endpoint used by a script or separate application).
2. Review Release Notes
Looker Release Notes discuss what is in each release, so you can stay abreast of new features your users should take advantage of and anything that may affect rollout of a new version. See the Release Highlights section for the most exciting new features, and make sure to review the Potentially breaking changes section to identify things to watch out for.
3. Update Any LookML Parameters That Have Been Completely Removed
Enhancements to LookML include deprecations of parameters. Update your LookML to keep everything working in the new version. Specifically, check the Legacy Feature Schedule. Be sure to follow the Transition Guidelines to check for deprecated LookML parameters that have been completely removed, in or prior to the version to which you are updating.
NOTE: It's best practice to update your LookML to remove ALL deprecated LookML, as those parameters will be removed in a future release.
4. Take a Backup of Your Instance (and Restore to a Staging Environment)
Creating regular backups is strongly recommended and should be done before each update. Additionally, while this is not required, if you are updating several versions it's a good idea to set up a staging server where you can test the updated version before rolling it out to your entire company.
If your instance is hosted by Looker, reach out to your Looker contact, or Looker Support, to have our team take a backup and set up a staging server for you.
5. Update the Staging Instance and Smoke Test
If you host your own Looker instance, download the latest release JAR and follow the Update Instructions documentation page to update your staging instance to the latest version. Be sure to check the installation requirements for the latest server requirements — particularly the Java version.
If your instance is hosted by Looker, reach out to your Looker contact, or Looker Support, to have our team update your staging instance for you.
Once your staging instance is up to date, log in and test things out! Make sure your important dashboards and Looks run without error and that there are no (new) LookML errors when you validate your model.
6. Update the Production Environment
Assuming all looks good on your staging instance, you can go ahead and update your production instance to the latest version, following the same process you used for staging. Be sure you have taken a recent backup in case you need to restore for any reason.