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Maintaining Your ISLE Infrastructure

You will regularly be updating your Drupal site as security patches and module updates are released. Less often, you will also need to update the rest of your Islandora installation. ISLE makes this easy. In fact, it was specifically designed to streamline this process.

Since Islandora is not a single piece of software, but instead many pieces of software working together in concert, maintaining all of it is a daunting task. There's nginx, tomcat, karaf, etc... Then there's everything needed for the authentication layer and JWT keys. Plus there's all the microservices. You can see that all this adds up to a significant maintenance burden.

Now imagine if all that time and effort spent on security updates and getting the newest versions could be boiled down to a handful of simple commands. That's exactly what ISLE does!

Updating ISLE


Before we update ISLE we should pull the most recent version of the isle-dc repository. This ensures that our docker-compose.yml file has any new additions that the new version of ISLE will need.

You may also want to check your .env file against the sample.env found in the repository to see if there are new variables you wish to make use of.

Updating ISLE is easy. When a new release is made available, you update the TAG variable in your .env file to the latest version. Suppose you are on ISLE 1.0.0, and ISLE 1.1.0 has been released. Then we would set


Before we update our docker-compose.yml file we want to stop the running containers with

make down

We'll then generate a new docker-compose.yml file that includes the new tag with

make -B docker-compose.yml

After that, we pull the new containers with

make pull

And finally we deploy the updated containers by running

make up

You can check that everything is running at the version you've specified with

docker ps -a

The version that's running can be confirmed by looking at the IMAGE column in the output.

Major Version Updates

Major version updates may require a bit more work after the new containers are up and running, if the new images are running higher major versions of software. For example, if there has been an update to PHP or Solr.


When upgrading to a new major version of Solr, you need to regenerate a new set of config files. You will need to do this on both your development site, and your production site.

First, remove the old solr data. This will remove everything that has been indexed, so we will have to reindex our site in a later step.

docker compose exec -T solr with-contenv bash -lc 'rm -r server/solr/ISLANDORA'

Next, recreate our solr core with a new set of config files.

make solr-cores

Finally, we reindex our site.

make reindex-solr


Drupal updates will be handled by your composer.json file, but you may require a certain version of ISLE in order to have the correct version of PHP. Once you have the correct PHP version installed, you can update Drupal to a new major version in the same way you normally update modules. It may be helpful to reference the Starter Site's composer.json file at

Once you have done this on your development site, the process for your production site is the same as any other Drupal updates.


After updating Mariadb, you may need to run mariadb-upgrade inside your mariadb container, to update your system tables. This should be safe to run any time, but it is a good idea to back up your database first, just in case.

You can run this from your isle directory with

docker compose exec mariadb mariadb-upgrade

Specific Update Notes

Version 1.x to 2.x

Upgrading ISLE from 1.x to the next major version requires the TAG be set to 2.0.5 or higher. Once you create your containers you will need to follow the above instructions for Mariadb, Solr, and Drupal.

ISLE 2.0 bumps PHP up to version 8.1, which allows you to upgrade to Drupal 10.

Last update: November 1, 2023