Enterprise software upgrades – three words that strike fear into the heart of any sysadmin running complex applications, or applications that have not been upgraded in a while.
At Signiant, we are big proponents of SaaS as a deployment model. So much so we even made a video all about this (starring yours truly!).
As Director of DevOps at Signiant, my job is to make sure our SaaS solutions always just work for our customers. A big part of this is seamlessly rolling out new features to users without them having to deal with the upgrade process themselves. They just get the new features, automatically.
But internally we still have a few third-party applications that we run on-premises, either because the vendor’s product has no SaaS option, or because we have not gotten around to migrating to it yet.
I was recently involved in upgrading an issue tracking application that had not been kept up to date (its last upgrade was 2013), and it really helped reinforce for me one of the key benefits of SaaS: “managed upgrades”.
Here’s a quick summary of the upgrade process for this on-premises enterprise application:
Now here is what the corresponding upgrade would look like if this were a SaaS hosted application, such as Media Shuttle:
I’ve been fortunate at Signiant to work in many different roles, one of which was managing our technical support team. In support, we only saw a small window into major upgrades of enterprise software but I have a new appreciation for just how involved major upgrades of enterprise software packages can be.
Now that I’m working in the DevOps role and responsible for working with our engineering teams to make sure our upgrades are seamless and automated for our cloud hosted solutions, I find that I take the SaaS model for granted sometimes. We’ve worked hard at Signiant to make sure that while we do upgrades very frequently (some more complicated than others), our customers just get to enjoy all the new functionality we’re adding to our cloud platforms, without any of the hassle of upgrading the solution themselves. While I like the challenge of making complex systems work, it’s been a real eye-opener into just how complex and time consuming upgrades of enterprise software can be.