I have inherited an Alfresco v18.104.22.168 server that is integrated with MariaDB and LDAP on CentOS 7.7. How many upgrades would be necessary in order to get to a more currently supported state?
As a follow-up, Alfresco data resides on a 190 GB NFS-mounted partition. Does this data need to be migrated as part of the app upgrade process? The reason I'm asking is that we're thinking of spinning up a new version of Alfresco as a docker image instead of attempting to upgrade our current system in-place. Would the data be compatible with, say, an ACS 6.2 instance?
Unfortunately I don't think you can jump from 4.n to 6.2, as there were a considerable number of breaking changes from 4-5 & 5-6. So you will need to do it in steps - I think you'll have to go from 4 to 5.1, 5.1 - 5.2, & then 5.2 to 6.2. Keensoft have a useful guide. TSG also provide useful advice.
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I agree with what Eddie recommended regarding upgrading in steps.
As to your question about data, yes, the content store is compatible across upgrades.
The database, however, will have its schema upgraded with each of your upgrade steps.
If you have customizations, those might also need to be reviewed at each step, or, at the least, make sure they will be compatible with the final version you end up running.
By the way, I'm not sure running in a Docker container is going to give you much advantage from an upgrade perspective, so if that is your driver for making the move to Docker, I'd recommend against it.
If you are looking to automate your 6.x install, you might take a look at my Ansible playbooks.