Upgrading From AutoMate 4 to AutoMate 6

Applies To: AutoMate 6, AutoMate 5
Published: 5/24/06 , modified July 12, 2006

Introduction

Many people hesitate to upgrade because they assume that installing AutoMate 6 on a system with AutoMate 4 will interfere or convert their existing AutoMate tasks; this is not the case. Because so many of our users relied on AutoMate 4 for mission-critical tasks, AutoMate 6 was designed from the very beginning to operate side-by-side with AutoMate 4 and/or 5. This design eliminates time pressure and risk normally present when upgrading mission critical software, allowing the user to migrate when it is convenient even piece by piece, if desired. The following article outlines the simple process of upgrading to AutoMate 6 on a workstation with an existing installation of AutoMate 4

Installing AutoMate 6 to an Existing AutoMate 4 System

Locate the existing computer running AutoMate 4 and install AutoMate 6 just as a new user would. You will note that AutoMate 6 installs to a different folder by default.

The AutoMate 4 default installation folder is:

  • c:\Program Files\Unisyn\AutoMate4\

The AutoMate 6 default installation folder is:

  • C:\Program Files\AutoMate 6\

It is recommended that you do not install to the same folder as your existing AutoMate 4 installation.

When you have finished the AutoMate 6 installation, reboot the system. Rebooting is not always required but is recommended to make sure everything starts okay for unattended operation. If the install requests that you reboot the system, rebooting is required for correct operation. After the reboot, both versions of AutoMate should be running in the system tray. Tasks will still be present in AutoMate 4 and will run when they are triggered. Opening the AutoMate 6 Task Administrator (known as the Configuration Manager in AutoMate 4) will show that the only tasks present in that system are the samples which are included. AutoMate 6 cannot be used to administer the tasks in AutoMate 4 or vice-versa. Since the two systems run totally independent of each other, the AutoMate 4 Configuration Manager should be used to administer AutoMate 4 tasks and the AutoMate 6 Task Administrator should be used to administer AutoMate 6 tasks.

Migrating Tasks from AutoMate 4 to AutoMate 6 AML format

To assist users in converting existing AutoMate 4 tasks to AutoMate 6's new AML (Automation Markup Language) format (first introduced in version 5), Network Automation has made a Migration Utility. Using the Migration Utility is straightforward and is completely non-destructive to your existing AutoMate 4 installation. Upon downloading and running, the Migration Utility will perform a read-only scan of the existing AutoMate 4 task database and ask which AutoMate 4 tasks should be converted. Select the tasks to be migrated (usually "All" since the process is read-only and will not affect existing tasks).

Note that there is no need to export AutoMate 4 tasks first as the migration utility reads the internal task database of the AutoMate 4 installation directly.

Upon completion of the migration, a file with a .AML extension will be created for each task that was migrated. When ready, these file may be imported in to AutoMate 6 by opening the Task Administrator and selecting from the menu: File | Import. Once imported, the task can be tested in AutoMate 6 - if confirmed to be operating correctly, it may then be disabled in AutoMate 4 via the AutoMate 4 Configuration Manager. Repeat this process for all tasks being moved to AutoMate 6. This does not need to be done all at one time, since the tasks are still functional in AutoMate 4 the migration process can be done task by task at your leisure. Once all AutoMate 4 tasks have been migrated, tested and disabled in AutoMate 4, there is no longer a need for the AutoMate 4 so it can be uninstalled.

Download the AutoMate 4 to 6 Migration Utility

Additional Caveats

No Need To Export Automate 4 Tasks
Because there seems to be so much confusion about this issue, it bears repeating that there is no need to export tasks from AutoMate 4 before performing the migration. The migration utility reads the task database in AutoMate 4 and creates files that can be imported into AutoMate 6.

Migrating To A New Machine
If migrating tasks from an old AutoMate 4 computer to a new computer which will be running AutoMate 6, simply run the migration utility on the AutoMate 4 system and copy the AML files that are created to the new AutoMate 6 system. Import the AML files into AutoMate 6.

Basic Scripts
AutoMate 4 scripts utilizing pure BASIC can still be used in AutoMate 6 and will be converted, however the following AutoMate 4 specific objects cannot be used in AutoMate 6

  1. AutoMate.
  2. CurrentTask.
  3. Action.

In most cases there are other ways of accomplishing the same functionality as was provided by these objects, usually using Actions included in the "visual" portion of the AML language (non-BASIC). Nonetheless, adapting your tasks will take more time if any of these objects were relied upon heavily.

Task Storage Technical Information

This advanced information is not relevant to the migration process itself, however it may be interesting to those wondering how AutoMate 6 task storage works compared to previous versions. Furthermore, it is not necessary to understand task storage concepts to use AutoMate 6 as the interface masks the underlying storage system.

AutoMate 6 stores tasks in a completely different manner than previous versions of AutoMate. In AutoMate 4 all tasks and triggers were stored in a proprietary database which was located in the AutoMate 4 program folder. AutoMate 6 stores triggers and other task properties in the AutoMate Task Library file (by default: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Network Automation\AutoMate 6\AM6Taskfile.atl), this file contains pointers to the actual task steps, which reside in individual text files with the extension .AML [Automation Markup Language] (by default stored in: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My AutoMate Tasks).

The task storage architecture was changed to be in compliance with Microsoft Windows document creation and storage guidelines and is also much better suited to task sharing, re-usability and manual editing of AutoMate tasks.