Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Continuent Product Management Newsletter, February 2017

Welcome to the first newsletter in 2017 for Continuent. 

Hope everybody has had a good start to the new year. We did at Continuent, starting off with another developer meeting while we pin down our plans for the coming year.

In this Continuent Product Newsletter we cover:
General Information
  • London Developer Meeting
  • Continuent Release Schedule
  • New Replicator Appliers
  • Ask Continuent Anything -- on Thursday 23rd, Feb at noon PST/3pm EST
New Releases
  • Release 5.0.1 Coming Soon
  • Release 4.0.7 and Net::SSH

London Developer Meeting

We had a customer meeting in London in January where we got the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with one of our customers and understands their needs and concerns. That was useful, partially because they love our product (which we obviously like to hear!) but also because their ideas for improvements match with our future vision of changes we are planning. That also gave us the opportunity to discuss in the dev management team a little more about our medium to long term goals.

Continuent Release Schedule

One of the many decisions we made at the London meeting was to change our release schedule. Our new schedule is designed to get fixes updates and new features into customer hands as quickly as possible. To achieve that, we’ve started by specifying our release levels first. They follow the traditional x.y.z model, where:

  • Z-releases contain bug fixes and minor improvements
  • Y-releases contain all previous bug fixes and mid-level functionality improvements and new features
  • X-releases will contain major new functionality, for example a new replicator source, cluster solution, or major improvements to core components.

In line with that basic overview, we’re aiming to to release:

  • Z-releases will happen every 6 weeks
  • Y-releases will happen every 3 months
  • X-releases will happen at least once a year

We’ll also be stricter about our version support process. All releases will be supported for a maximum of two-years from each Z release. All existing customers and versions will be supported up until the end of this year (2017). After that, we’ll start enforcing the time limits. Since we will have a new major version out of every year, a customer should never be more than two years and ergo two versions behind with a release.

More importantly overall, of course, it should mean that our customers can plan their updates knowing when the next release will come out. It should also mean that if you are waiting for a fix after reporting a bug, and we haven’t given you an explicit patch, you should have to wait a maximum of six weeks before the next release.

New Replicator Appliers

Continuent currently offers the following heterogeneous replication solutions:
  • Extraction of the real time transaction feed: from MySQL, AWS RDS and Oracle
  • Applying in real-time into following databases: to Oracle, MySQL, Hadoop, Redshift, and Vertica

One of the other topics that came up at the meeting was the need for additional appliers into a variety of other databases and targets, including, but not limited to, Kafka, Flume, Couchbase, MongoDB (we support it already, but improvements have been requested) and some improvements to our Hadoop applier environment. We’re open to further requests and suggestions and I’m collecting information right now. If you want to discuss it, please contact me ( directly.

Online Q&A -- Ask Continuent Anything

Eric Stone, our COO, will be hosting an ‘Ask Continuent Anything’ session on Thursday 23rd, Feb at noon PST/3pm EST.

You can ask us anything here, technical, business, product specific, product requests, history lessons. We’ll try to answer any questions you have, and if we can’t provide an answer, we’ll follow up with you after the session. We’ll include a summary of those questions in the next newsletter.

Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone:

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (571) 317-3116; France: +33 (0) 170 950 590; Germany: +49 (0) 692 5736 7206; United Kingdom: +44 (0) 20 3713 5011
Access Code: 548-812-605

Continuent Release 4.0.7 and Net::SSH

Release 4.0.7 should be out within a week of this newsletter and is going through final testing right now. We’ll announce it accordingly when it’s ready.

Before the end of last year, we released 4.0.6 which contained many fixes, but most importantly tried to address the issues with compatibility of the Ruby Net::SSH modules used both during staging installs and within some of the command-line tools.

Unfortunately, this proved to be more complex than we expected. To summarize (from the Net::SSH docs):

  • Ruby 1.8.x is supported up until the net-ssh 2.5.1 release.
  • Ruby 1.9.x is supported up until the net-ssh 2.9.x release.
  • Current net-ssh releases require Ruby 2.0 or later.

This presents a problem when we are trying to work with a wide range of Ruby versions, made more complex by the fact that even relatively new releases of Linux OS distributions still work with old (and outdated) versions of Ruby. We have originally bundled Net::SSH to make the distribution easier to work with. Unfortunately, customers using a distribution that includes, say, Ruby 1.9.x as standard (Ubuntu, including 16.10 LTS) then have compatibility issues.

To address that, in both 4.0.7 and 5.0.1 we are no longer including Net::SSH. Instead, you’ll need to install the right Net::SSH version according to your installed Ruby and Linux distribution for the Tungsten tools to use. Full instructions will be included in the release notes.

Continuent Release 5.0.1 Coming Soon

As per the above release schedule, and our promise in the last product newsletter, release 5.0.1 is going through final testing right now and we hope to release it within a week of this newsletter. It contains a variety of fixes and improvements from the 5.0.0 release, while making it simpler and easier to install and upgrade from previous versions.  

NOTE: Release 5.0.1 will also be our standard expected release for all customers going forward.