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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS .net Autumn Release pulled in Technical; They cant win either way really can they. some will want it now now now and others will be of ...
  1. #16
    pubgrub277's Avatar
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    They cant win either way really can they. some will want it now now now and others will be of the wait and see type.
    I would say that it does seem a very small minority and perhaps on this occasion they might have left it up.

    Does anyone test a version of the updates on a mirror/non live environment but with their data? i've used a VM a few times to test various things and wondered if anyone has the time to do this a matter of course?

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    Cmd.exe's Avatar
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    I never did, apart from the lack of time available to do this, i wouldn't be able to test all the different areas of SIMS sufficiently to make it worth doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Not sure it's that simple, but I do think it's a bit extreme. Personally I wouldn't have re-released because of that census issue, so at least we wouldn't end up with autumn 11 re-re-release!!
    We don't do Census, so I would be happy to install a release - and thus get all the other new features and fixes - knowing that Census didn't work. As it is, I can't install it because they've pulled it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pubgrub277 View Post

    Does anyone test a version of the updates on a mirror/non live environment but with their data? i've used a VM a few times to test various things and wondered if anyone has the time to do this a matter of course?
    That's what we are paying capita for.

    I think they should just rename the summer Autumn Release to Winter, instead of releasing beta's

  5. #20
    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pubgrub277 View Post
    Does anyone test a version of the updates on a mirror/non live environment but with their data?
    No, for three reasons:
    1) time
    2) can't test everything
    3) shouldn't have to. I don't do that with any other company's software.

  6. #21

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Happens to everyone, that's why Windows Service Packs and Centos has yum.

  7. #22
    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Happens to everyone, that's why Windows Service Packs
    Not a good comparison for two reasons:
    1) Microsoft didn't pull Windows from general release because of a problem with sending emails in blue using Outlook Express; they released the product so that everyone could use the other things, and then released an update to Windows later.
    2) Windows Service Packs aren't (generally) fixing something which is completely broken - MS fixed those before release, and then send out monthly updates for the minor issues.

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    pubgrub277's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    No, for three reasons:
    1) time
    2) can't test everything
    3) shouldn't have to. I don't do that with any other company's software.
    I don't for the same reasons but always have that worry that something will break after an update (regardless of how many tests have been done at other sites/on test data).
    We depend so heavily on this system now that i find myself thinking should i make the effort/time just to be sure it works on our data.

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    MS don't pull service packs, but they do pull hot fixes and replace them with new ones ... how many of us play the '5 working days' game with patches from *anyone*? For my home machine I am happy to risk it with Apple and MS but I am loathe to do it in a production environment.

    3/1000 is a healthy success rate for most small user base applications, but with the number of installs they now have, and the fact that MIS is mission critical, then they have no choice to pull it.

    As for testing it ... even with MS / Apple / Cisco patches ... in a large scale environment (and we do often claim that schools should be considered as SME) then we should expect some local testing ... some leave this to the LA / local SIMS teams ... but some do use VMs to test themselves.

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    Now that I seem to look after 2 schools, 1 school will be sighing in relief, the other is happily managed by someone else when it comes to SIMS. I'm glad that Capita have the ability and desire to pull something like this. The knock on effect is disastrous even at a rate of 3/1000. Kudos to Capita for acting quickly and pulling it I say.

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    If only 3/1000 schools are affected, perhaps pulling the software was an over-reaction. Perhaps it could be left up but with a warning that xyz function doesn't work, and schools can then make a decision themselves on whether or not to proceed.
    I think in this instance, it's a good job it's been taken out of action. If they told us what didn't work, which they have now, you wouldn't take it anyway. Registration groups / pastoral structure is affected, and you can't know exactly what's been happening in the history of your SIMS, so you might be affected and not even know.

    Quote Originally Posted by pubgrub277 View Post
    They cant win either way really can they. some will want it now now now and others will be of the wait and see type.
    I would say that it does seem a very small minority and perhaps on this occasion they might have left it up.

    Does anyone test a version of the updates on a mirror/non live environment but with their data? i've used a VM a few times to test various things and wondered if anyone has the time to do this a matter of course?
    I do this every time, without fail. It's almost a no brainer now. I can't test everything, but i always download the ISO and put it on a virtual test server. I haven't done it yet, because i also wait for the issues to crop up, as downloading another copy will take us a while, so would rather it was the patched one we install.

    You can't test everything, but i just do it to see if it actually runs the upgrade files without conflicting with anything else. The basics work, i.e. assessment / reports, registers and data reports. Day to day stuff. I don't test in detail, but if it seems to work, at least there are no show stoppers. Last time the homepages went funny, but it didn't affect my test user so its still difficult to be sure. At least i know that if i work late or at a weekend and have told all users to be out of the system, it will at least update the db and not be a total waste of time even if some little bugs do creep in.

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Now that I seem to look after 2 schools, 1 school will be sighing in relief, the other is happily managed by someone else when it comes to SIMS. I'm glad that Capita have the ability and desire to pull something like this. The knock on effect is disastrous even at a rate of 3/1000. Kudos to Capita for acting quickly and pulling it I say.
    I'm with you there, we're looking at possibly 66 schools in total out of their 22,000. Not bad really, but you can't be sure. I think it could affect quite a lot of schools.

    I wouldn't have known had i not seen this thread. Yes i'd have looked at SupportNet eventually, as i have a few forums to post replies in, but it's not obvious. Every single item in the news is highlighted. All 12 have something that needs attention. 6 New, 6 updated. This really should be bigger, flashing, or something.

    The last email i got, was on wednesday just telling me that SOLUS 2 was updated with the CENSUS patched release.

    I still think they need to work on the communications. Not a thing on twitter, nor an updated email. Nothing on the other new websites. It might seem like bad marketing to publicise a fault, but seriously, i think we'd all agree, it's damn good marketing for us, the current users.

    I'm updating the main Sticky Autumn release thread with more details of the actual fault, as posted on SupportNet. Autumn Release 2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by pubgrub277 View Post
    ...Does anyone test a version of the updates on a mirror/non live environment but with their data? i've used a VM a few times to test various things and wondered if anyone has the time to do this a matter of course?
    When I attend UAT then I test the forthcoming upgrade against my school's own dataset. That is what UAT is aimed at. Capita want to test against as many different datasets as they can. That is why they also release beta versions to LAs and approved test schools! UAT also gives you an opportunity to feed your own ideas into the system so you can, even if only in a small way, determine how the software moves forward.

    Ironically, I have applied for January's UAT to test the Spring 2011 Release and the session is full! It seems that more and more users are seeing the benefits of UAT. I would like to attend but maybe this is the time to get the Beta for that release to test on my new SIMS Test laptop. It won't be the same as attending UAT though!

    As for not having time for testing, I also use it for my own training needs! If new functionality is being released with a future release then you can trial that part of the software at UAT! This saves time (and possibly money) later, as you would most likely not need further training in that new functionality!

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    A quick update. I've been into see our service desk and can confirm that we've had 5 cases where the curriculum structure has been changed incorrectly. We suspect however that although 1000 downloads have taken place not that many schools have actually applied it as we'd have expected more. We're investigating what happened as this is clearly unacceptable but the top priority is providing a fix for schools impacted and getting the release out again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pubgrub277 View Post
    Does anyone test a version of the updates on a mirror/non live environment but with their data? i've used a VM a few times to test various things and wondered if anyone has the time to do this a matter of course?
    Yes. We have a test SIMS environment because we remember the Bad Old Days. Now it's externally accessible SIMS downtime affects more than the people within school at $time_it_breaks.

    Besides, having to answer "why is SIMS broken?" with "because I didn't test the latest version" is embarrassing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    You can't test everything, but i just do it to see if it actually runs the upgrade files without conflicting with anything else. The basics work, i.e. assessment / reports, registers and data reports. Day to day stuff. I don't test in detail, but if it seems to work, at least there are no show stoppers.
    I disagree with that so much! Accepting that complete testing is not possible, either by us or by Capita, the basics you list are something which capita can test. Something deep in the bowels of SIMS not working is understandable, possibly even excusable, however problems with fundamentals like class lists and pastoral structure are simply unacceptable.



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