Should we or shouldn't we?
The typical question of the IT Manager when her/his datacenter automation software releases a new fixpack. This question stems from prior nightmares attempting to deploy fixes that were half-baked, poorly documented and delivered in haste.
I'm not an 'alpha' adopter but I certainly am an early adopter. The reasoning I take into deploying a new fix or new release fixpack is that I want the newest features, I want the bugs corrected - especially if there is a specific one that I'm subscribed to, and I want the latest enhancements in stability and serviceability. This will invariably cause some churn in my current calendar which may in turn force other projects to take a break, downtime will have to be scheduled, and service request tickets opened to alert dependent teams, but that short team pain will always bring a longer term gain.
Further reasons to keep up to date include the following:
- At the time of a new fixpack release the development teams and test teams all have the latest code changes fresh on their minds so if something new does come up in your environment then they are ready and best prepared to deliver a quick solution.
- By keeping up with the latest maintenance you ensure that you will always be in position to upgrade to the next refresh release or migrate to the next major release when the time comes. Falling behind here often results in contingency plans for data migration and lengthy delays spent analyzing if the old code can be 'jumped' to the new release.
- New releases will always include additional serviceability and stability improvements which will make your life as a system administrator much easier.
To emphasize this point we'll look at the upcoming TPM 7210-IFIX03 release due at the end of October 2012. In it we include a host of fixes and enhancements which improve the overall function and quality of the product. In particular a migration function to upgrade your WebSphere version 6.1 to version 7.0. This is really key for shops that need to keep their web-hosting environments running at the latest technology and security levels. The IFIX03 installation is redesigned as well, moving many of the prior manual steps into scripted pre- and post- installation sections. This is really great and should be a major step forward at alleviating many common maintenance headaches. While you're at it you should also take a moment to register for the upcoming training on this TPM721 IFIX03 release,