Using Baseline and Latest - Together!
We wanted the best of both worlds and I don't see too many people talking about this. So I thought I'd share the rather simple way we've addressed running both release channels. When it comes down to it, I'd like to think we're dealing with two groups of people:
- The IT department wants new features to use and test (latest)
- The rest of the org wants stability (baseline)
Not to mention the other catch - having a separate SCSM development environment running latest while great for general testing, does nothing in the way of practical day to day use. That's why we:
- deployed a lightweight SCSM mgmt server running Windows Server Core connected to our production SCSM instance
- deployed with the Latest Release channel of the portal running its own Cache Builder and connected to its own ServiceManagement db
In doing so, we now have two portal instances both connected to and updating production data - but one serving the sole purpose of being on the fast ring of releases for analysts. Plus should truly function breaking issues arise, the fallback is simply to go back to using the baseline portal that the rest of the org is on.
But in full disclosure there is a super, tiny, minor but never the less present risk involved in doing this. As the latest portal is upgraded on this extra mgmt server, the portal management pack is always going to be shifting up in the overall environment. Which means the day to day baseline portal has a higher version of the MP than is deployed with. So far this hasn't presented any issues but it's not outside the realm of possibility that it could in the future. Speaking of management packs, that also means we've gone the rather cautious route of only running the current Baseline version of Advanced Request Offering. This mp is then only upgraded when we upgrade baseline.
Second to this - we then disabled Knowledge Authors in the baseline portal, enabled them for the latest portal, and then with a SQL job are replicating our latest portal's knowledge base into our production portal's knowledge base.
All in all, it's been a win win for everyone!