We are excited to announce an update to the Accelerator release strategy. We realize that some customers like to take advantage of newer features at an accelerated pace, so we are introducing a new release type called ‘Preview Release’ (PR). These preview releases allow us to deliver additional capabilities to our customers at a faster pace. Customers get early access to upcoming product innovations to enable them to test functionality and to provide feedback that can be incorporated in a subsequent release. Though these are produced in shorter cycles, they are production quality that customers can put into production if shorter upgrade cycles are something they are comfortable with. Customers should, of course, install these into test environments to try out the new features and provide feedback. Customers will need to be nimble and upgrade to the next PR in order to pick up defect fixes. Unlike traditional releases, PRs don’t have maintenance releases. Defect fixes will be available by upgrading to the subsequent PR.
With the addition of this new release type, we will now have four distinct types of release outlined below.
- Long Term Support (LTS) Release
The traditional “big” releases that we have been doing are now called LTS Releases. New LTS Releases are Major or Major.Minor (e.g. 11.0 LTS, 11.1 LTS) versions, typically released every six months. An LTS Release is identified by the LTS suffix. An LTS release is supported for a minimum of 18 months. This timeframe will be extended as needed to ensure that customers always have access to two actively supported LTS Releases.
- Maintenance Release (MR)
New MR versions are Major.Minor.Maintenance (e.g. 11.0.1, 11.0.2) versions, released about every three months or sooner if needed. MR releases are supported as long as their parent LTS Major.Minor version is actively supported (e.g. 11.0). An MR release typically contains defect fixes and does not contain database schema changes. In some cases, we might expedite an MR release.
- Hotfix Release (HR)
Hotfix Releases are released on as needed to address specific customer situations. Hotfixes are typically issued to address critical defects, which can cause production outages, security issues, or have a severe negative impact on customers. They can be made available on any supported LTS or MR as needed. Typically, the next MR or LTS release will absorb these changes so a customer can move past the hotfix release by upgrading to a later version.
- Preview Releases (PR)
New PR versions are date based (e.g. 2019.08 PR or 2019.09 PR) versions, released roughly every 1-2 months. This rapid schedule allows us to deliver new features at a faster pace. PR releases will not receive MR releases (maintenance releases) or hotfixes. Instead, defect fixes and features will be made available in a subsequent PR release. All new features introduced in PR releases will get rolled into the subsequent LTS release. A customer who is on a PR is expected to upgrade to the next LTS release. Hence for customers who typically upgrade once or twice a year, CloudBees recommends they use an LTS release in their production environment and use PR releases in a test environment to provide feedback on new features.