ServiceNow: Early Availability vs. Release Testing Preview

Author by Michael Dugan

In case you weren’t aware, ServiceNow’s New York release is coming! They have been hard at work getting this release polished up and generally available, and it will be coming near September of Q3. General Availability is currently set for September 5th, 2019!

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(Photo credit: ServiceNow as part of their 2019 Financial Analyst Day)

Very similar to Microsoft implementing a “Fast Ring” program of Windows Updates, ServiceNow has a program that allows select partners and qualifying customers to opt into early feature sets and functionality of an upcoming release. As a company, they suggest staying within one major release of the latest version that is currently supported (N-1). For example, at the time of this blog post, ServiceNow will support anyone still on the London release given that Madrid is the most current release that is supported.

Early Availability:

This program applies to existing customers (except accounts requiring FedRamp certification) and partners who are selected for early availability through their participation in the Technology Partner Program or Partner Testing Program. It’s an opportunity to upgrade any specified instance to the latest build/patch of an upcoming release to test new features. It allows for upgrading the following type of instances:

  • Production instances
  • Sub-production instances
  • Developer instances

Either your ServiceNow contact can sign you up for this program, or you can log into the HI portal and submit a request via this link to register for the program! Once enrolled, users will receive an email stating “Welcome to New York Early Availability” and will be entitled to the latest build for this early availability testing cycle. To begin the upgrade process, leverage the HI portal to select a specific instance and schedule the upgrade!

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Release Testing Preview:

This program is essentially the same concept as the Early Availability program, but ServiceNow only allows this type of testing through sub-production instances. The time frame for opting into this program is typically within a month of the very first build/patch of the preview. The following instances are supported for an upgrade through this program:

  • Sub-production instances only

ServiceNow excludes partner accounts, self-hosted instances and customer accounts that require FedRAMP certification from this area of testing.

Isn’t there a level of risk involved with this process?

Of course, but see below for a list of outcomes that you achieve through this program:

  • Gain insight and awareness into the new features that New York offers to position your organization in a way that will support those features in the future
  • If you have Automated Test Framework implemented and configured, you can stay ahead of the pack and run through automated tests to see how your customizations will be affected
  • ServiceNow encourages reporting bugs or other notable issues within the platform so they can improve the platform
    • When submitting feedback through the HI service portal, be sure to prefix your Incident short description with “New York: “, so that they can better support you

Do ServiceNow developer instances fall within any of these programs?

Since the developer program is a separate program in itself, you’ll find that very limited support is handed out as part of this situation. In fact, ServiceNow recommends going to the community for support to receive a faster response.

I personally have upgraded my developer instance to the beginning patch of New York and noticed some quirky behavior:

  • Scheduled jobs missing, but still firing
    • I’m witnessing their runtime via back-end logging
  • Email processing being delayed
    • I’ve had to re-process emails once they enter the ServiceNow ecosystem

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Final Remarks:

Be sure to check out the following links provided by ServiceNow that will address any further questions you may have around the process below:

If you have any further questions around our offerings within the ServiceNow practice at Concurrency, please feel to contact us. Thanks for reading!

Author

Michael Dugan

Systems Engineer

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