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Patch release basics

Semantic versioning

Pega Platform™ patches, as well as major and minor updates, use semantic versioning, in which the part of the version number that is incremented communicates the significance of the change. The version number, in the format XX-YY-ZZ, defines the major version (XX), minor version (YY), and patch version (ZZ), for example, 8.6.1. 

semantic versioning

Major version

Major software updates deliver substantial value in terms of performance, reliability, capability, and security. They include changes that are not backward compatible and require some downtime to adopt. 

Example: Pega Platform 7 to Pega Platform 8 

Minor version

Minor software updates include new features, enhancements, and fixes to provide enhanced value. You can apply them with near-zero downtime effective Pega Platform 8.4.2.

Example: Pega Platform 8.4 to Pega Platform 8.6 

Patch release

Patches contain fixes that address application user-reported issues, but do not contain any new features or feature enhancements. Application user refers to client reported bugs. Bugs are prioritized, and internally reported bugs are included only on a case-by-case basis. Patches are backward compatible and limited in scope. 

Example: Pega Platform 8.5.2 to Pega Platform 8.5.3

Benefits of adopting patch releases

Pega adopted industry standard patch releases in September 2018, with the release of Pega Platform 8.1. Since that time, Pega has fixed, tested, and released 8.x.x patches that resolve 99% of client-reported bugs.

Increased security

Fixes and security solutions that are prepared for any given client are also available to all clients. This approach enables clients to proactively resolve their issues. 

Highest quality

Patches are fully regression and integration tested, compared to hotfixes which are only unit tested. Pega updates its own internal production systems to the latest patch prior to releasing the patch to clients. This provides an added level of confidence that patches do not introduce regressions. 

Improved maintainability

Patches are cumulative and uniquely versioned, which allows for easy deployment and change management.

Patch frequency

Since 2018, Pega has released over 30 patches. After the initial release of a minor version, patches are released approximately every eight weeks. As older minor versions stabilize, the patch frequency extends to every 12 weeks, and then to every 16 weeks, until the version reaches the extended support phase.

Note: As a best practice, keep current with Pega and update the system to the latest minor version before an installation enters the extended support phase because important security and reliability improvements are delivered with each new release.
platform patches

 

Numerous installations of patches on Pega Cloud

Pega currently installs approximately 250 patches every week during the client maintenance window. An extensive checklist is run pre- and post-update to ensure that the patches are successful, which has resulted in the first-time installation success rate of over 90% for new patches.

Client installations

Clients with on-premises installations are responsible for applying patches within their own environments and have been highly successful following that approach. The Pega Digital Software Delivery page is where clients can download and update licensed software. Clients can request downloads and updates of products that their company has already licensed. The Resolved Issues page on Pega Community lists more information about which bugs are addressed in each patch release.

Emergency hotfixes

In the rare case that an emergency hotfix is required, Pega has the infrastructure in place to instantly assist clients with hotfixes. 

Pega only provides a hotfix if the following conditions are met:

  • The Client is on the latest available patch release
  • Pega Support and the engineering leadership team have provided explicit approval.
  • The reported issue has a critical business impact.

For issues that do not have critical business impact, Pega provides a fix in the next available patch release.

Note: Pega might make an exception and provide a hotfix for issues that block software updates.

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