Do you CD or LTS?
It’s been four years since IBM MQ introduced Continuous Delivery (CD) and Long Term Support (LTS) releases.
The main objective was to give MQ users a choice between getting access to the latest and greatest features sooner than later (CD) or using a stable environment that had only bug fixes (LTS). Since the typical cadences for new releases was every 2 years, the delivery of new code only at these points meant waiting a long time to get new features. Then if it didn’t work quite right, there was another 2 years for the next major. Delivering new code as fixes introduced challenges since it could mean less stable code base. Providing both options provided a balanced approach.
Some customers have been very quick to adapt to the CD model, especially for testing systems, but for pre-prod and prod stuck with LTS versions. This gave them the benefit to be able to try out new code while at the same time, keep production stable. In some situations where a new feature was needed for some applications, the ability to run multiple installations provides a method to support both at the same time.
The MQ team has kept a regular cadence with CD versions about every 4 months and LTS versions every 2 years.
9.0 LTS (2016)
9.0.1, 9.0.2, 9.0.3, 9.0.4, 9.0.5 –> 9.1 LTS (2018)
9.1.1, 9.1.2, 9.1.3, 9.1.4, 9.1.5
One of the other benefits of this method is that the LTS versions are more stable when released, since much of that code has seen testing in a CD version and issues that are found are tweaked for the LTS release. It also means the LTS versions is less disruptive as well since most features have been out long enough that there is information available on best practices. While customers running LTS versions still need to wait about 2 years between getting new features, once they are delivered, they are better quality and implement quicker.
Running a mix of MQ versions requires special tooling to make the management and operation as simple as possible. Nastel products provide the best solution for this type of environment by abstracting the user community from the complexities of the underlying architecture. They don’t need to be aware of things like which installation do I need to connect to, what version of MQ is this running, etc. Check us out!