IT Service Support: Release Management
Enterprises are cautious in how, when, and where they deploy new hardware and software. Failed rollouts can result in downtime and potentially lost data—neither of which are good news for IT organizations trying to offer high uptimes and reliability.
Release Management provides organizations with a strategy for releasing software and hardware. It helps ensure the proper licensing, testing, and validation of new releases. An immediate benefit of Release Management is that it encourages an organization to view software and hardware rollouts strategically.
There are several activities associated with Release Management, including:
• Build and Configure. Build components in a controlled environment.
• Test and Accept. Test groups can test the hardware or software to ensure quality and reliability.
• Schedule and Plan. Schedule when a rollout occurs, and how it should occur. This part of the ITIL process also works closely with Configuration Management since Configuration Items (CIs) will be updated.
• Communicate and Prepare. Communicate the rollout plan to affected parties.
• Distribute and Install. Distribute and install the rollout to the existing infrastructure.
Table provides a review of the capabilities of each product to address the ITIL activities for Release Management.
System administrators working within Microsoft environments must use different software for each need in Release Management. As with open source, managers in Windows environments must rely on workflow or ticketing systems to manage the planning process. Microsoft’s Systems Management Server (SMS) provides a significant capability for hardware and software management in Windows environments. For hardware rollouts, SMS is able to use its auto‐discovery capabilities to locate the new devices and add them to its CMDB. Also, because SMS works with Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), it is able to provide a detailed listing of the individual components of the new hardware. SMS is also well suited to software deployments ‐that is, for supported operating systems and applications.One of the strengths of SMS is the ability to provide a “mass rollout” of OS updates, applications, patches, and configuration changes. And because SMS is able to restrict a rollout to groups of systems based on properties such as hardware or AD group membership, it gives system administrators granular control of the rollout process.
Release Management Product URLs
Microsoft Visio http://www.office2007.com/
Microsoft Project http://www.office2007.com/
Microsoft Power Point http://www.office2007.com/
Systems Management Server http://www.microsoft.com/smserver/default.mspx
IT Infrastructure Library V2/V3 and IT Service Management discussions
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