Instana includes components and features for nonproduction use such as technology previews and beta. Before general availability, the technology previews and beta features are shipped early to collect user feedback.
These qualifiers represent different stages of maturity of a feature function across the following axes:
- Software stability: likelihood for the software to break other software as well as itself
- User-experience stability: how you interact with it, whether the data that you collect and process with it remains available and process-able in the future.
- Scope completeness: whether the scope is complete or not
- Support offering: whether support is offered
Find the criteria of the qualifiers in the following table:
|Criteria||Technology Preview||Beta||General Availability|
|Is it scope-complete?||No||Often not with the first release||Yes|
|What can break for the user?||Literally everything. It will likely break things in terms of functions, installation and configuration, and data retention (data that is collected with earlier versions might be lost). It might even be dropped later.||Ideally nothing. It might change, but does not break.||Ideally nothing. But it might be iterated and some GA functions might be retired|
|Eligibility||You can request to be added to use the technology preview feature||You can try beta functions without invitation||Available for everyone|
|Does IBM offer support for it?||No||Yes||Yes|
Technology preview is a demonstration of a feature that is early in development but is not complete and therefore is not yet supported. As licensee of Instana, you can use these components and features only as part of your internal development and test environment for internal nonproduction use. Components and features that are available for nonproduction use are not to be relied on in a production environment.
The implementation for a technology preview feature might never be completed, or it might be in technology preview for a long time. A list of gaps might exist and need to be closed before the functions can move to Beta.
IBM makes a beta feature available solely for evaluation and testing purposes. No warranties, SLAs, or support are provided and beta features are not intended for production use.
Beta software is further than technology preview in the development process, but either it does not yet meet general availability criteria, or we lack the confidence to make it GA. If it is replacing existing functions, the old functions might no longer be accessible. It might still have problems with quality and stability, but importantly, it is safe for production. It is a stepping stone on our path to General Availability, and IBM will communicate to customers who are willing to participate.
General availability means that a feature is widely available for sale and delivery to customers or channels, usually across multiple geographies. It's stable, well-documented, and live for everyone.