What is the difference between Patch 3 and SP1? I'm reading the what's new guide, but is there a difference in the actual installation process? We currently struggle with patching because we have 3 environments, have a separate, dedicated server and database teams, and each "patch" upgrade is a full upgrade process. What is the difference between Patch 3 and SP1 that were released over the course of the last few days? Why choose one over the other? Why release both in such a short time span? I ask truly in an attempt to learn more.
Apologies for the confusion caused with the recent delivery of our two Archer releases on July 31. It was not originally intended for both to be delivered on the same day, but just happened due to late schedule adjustments.
Let me explain the purpose for each of these release vehicles -- Service Pack and Patch -- starting with the simpler of the two, the patch release. Archer 6.4 P3 (220.127.116.11) is a cumulative patch release (CPR) that contains bug fixes raised by customers and a small number of internally identified defects. CPRs have a monthly cadence and contain only bug fixes, no enhancements. The CPRs are released on the last business day of the month, or as close as we can get, and typically contain ~40 defects with accompanying release note. They are cumulative so that the customer can determine which patch is critical for their business to apply, and when. Our goal is for the upgrades to be as seamless as possible, with quick deployment, and immediate impact.
The Service Pack (SP) contains both functional enhancements and bug fixes. The enhancements are appropriately sized for the shortened engineering time-frame; bug fixes both from customers as well as internal sources. Full or partial document set updates are included, and of course, release notes. As you can see, very much in-line with what you experience from other enterprise software vendors.
Now for the issue of some fixes being in one release and not the other.
Archer engineering consistently has two releases (or more) going on in parallel. In this case, over the past 3-months, that was 6.4 SP1 and 6.4.0.x CPRs (one each month). The CPRs are continuously fielding a stream of customer defects that are fixed, verified, and ultimately released in the current CPR. At GA, customers download the CPR, upgrade, and see that we have fixed their reported defect(s). One day the customer will upgrade to 6.4 SP1 GA and when they do they expect their bug fix to be there. To ensure this, the CE team merges each code fix committed to the CPR also to the SP. This works great until the window allowing submissions to the SP is closed so that the SP can complete final testing and release. During this time, CE may deliver additional customer fixes to the CPR, but not to the SP due to the ‘freeze’. As the window in which this can occur if very short (maybe 1-2 weeks), the number of defects in the CPR but not in the SP is small. All of this comes back into full sync with the delivery of the first CPR for the SP train, 6.4 SP1 P1, at the end of August.
Yes, we could lock down the CPR at the same time as the SP, and avoid confusion. But some of these “CPR only” fixes are much needed in the field so we defer to getting them delivered ASAP. Regardless, I am interested in hearing what you all think as you are living this daily. What appears the better solution from within Archer CE, may have a completely different impact in the field.
Hi Jeff, thanks for pointing this out. I was thinking that these are cumulative updates, as SP1 and P3 are mentioned in the same Release Notes document. And SP1 is higher. Usually it means that SP1 includes P3 fixes as well. Good that it is cleared now. But kinda disappointing a bit Now I need to consider if I need to go for higher version for new features or for stable fixes
That actually is very confusing since Ilya said SP1 can be considered newer. The Release notes also present it in a way that make it appear that SP1 should be considered newer.
Does SP1 include the Patch1 and 2 updates? What leads to a patch and a SP being released close together? What’s the main difference between a patch and a service pack in the Archer world?
That is quite surprising. I thought the standing guidance always was that Archer releases are always cumulative within a minor (.n) release path. If that is no longer true, I think folks are going to find it quite difficult to do cross-comparisons of the release notes for multiple releases going forward.
Thanks. I got the email about patch 3 and when I went to check it out I was surprised to see the announcement for SP1 and was immediately confused, especially by how it is presented in the release notes.
Overall, we are finding it very difficult to try to keep up, especially when there are feature releases or bug fixes that can really help us. Although we’ve had archer almost 2 years we still aren’t very mature in our overall deployment and are fixing a lot of lessons learned. How do others balance the frequency of patches with the upgrade and testing process? This is the first application I’ve ever administered on my own, but some of my teammates that have been admins of other applications find the release schedule pretty frequent given the full upgrade process needed each time.
To be honest it varies. E.g. I administer several environments, and every has its own policy about deployment.
Main rule I use most frequently is N-1 version, unless I need specific feature or bug fixed ASAP. Thus, I carefully analyse release notes, check our CVE vulnerabilities from scanner and other bugs users informed, and then consider whether I am still okay to use N-1.
But I also have another environment which is always up to dated. I have there PROD and QA. And release cycle between these is 1-2 weeks. I upgrade QA whenever RSA announces direct availability, then perform testing for 2 weeks before deploying to PROD.