Release Management is used for platform-independent and automated distribution of software and hardware, including license controls across the entire IT infrastructure. Proper Software and Hardware Control ensure the availability of licensed, tested, and version certified software and hardware, which will function correctly and respectively with the available hardware. Quality control during the development and implementation of new hardware and software is also the responsibility of Release Management. This guarantees that all software can be conceptually optimized to meet the demands of the business processes.
The goals of release management are:
- Plan to rollout of software
- Design and implement procedures for the distribution and installation of changes to IT systems
- Effectively communicate and manage expectations of the customer during the planning and rollout of new releases
- Control the distribution and installation of changes to IT systems
The focus of release management is the protection of the live environment and its services through the use of formal procedures and checks.
A Release consists of the new or changed software and/or hardware required to implement approved Changes
Releases are categorized as :
- Major software Releases and hardware upgrades, normally containing large areas of new functionality, some of which may make intervening fixes to Problems redundant. A major upgrade or Release usually supersedes all preceding minor upgrades, Releases and emergency fixes
- Minor software Releases and hardware upgrades, normally containing small enhancements and fixes, some of which may have already been issued as emergency fixes. A minor upgrade or Release usually supersedes all preceding emergency fixes
- Emergency software and hardware fixes, normally containing the corrections to a small number of known Problems
Releases can be divided based on the release unit into :
- Delta Release : is a release of only that part of the software which has been changed. For ex: Security patches to plug bugs in a software
- Full Release : means that the entire software program will be release again. For ex : an entire version of an application
- Packaged Release : is a combination of many changes . For ex : an Operating System image containing the applications as well.