Keeping everyone updated on the status and progress of the Collaboration portfolio is a constant and continuing endeavor! However, it is also exciting to see how things are progressing and gauge the progress and success of each new build and mark each new milestone.
A lot of this information is very similar to the information that was provided in the last Windermere update. The difference is that it is three months later and updated information can be provided on each of these topics.
Windermere Authorized BETA
The Authorized BETA has progressed nicely with excellent participation, feedback, scrutiny, criticism, defects, and great suggestions. The plan is to release our 4th update to our BETA sites probably this week – week of September 16th.
What has been the general feedback, you might ask? I have attended most of the beta calls, but not all. I would characterize the feedback as very positive towards the new Admin Console. This is a big relief given that this effort is one of the main focus points of the Windermere release.
I would characterize the feedback on the Windows Client changes to be somewhat mixed. There has been feedback regarding the color schemes, some of the usability changes, and even some of the new look and feel. This was expected and anticipated. We have engaged our team of Usability experts during the entire Windermere development cycle and we will continue to listen to feedback and make changes where necessary. The Usability and design team continue to be involved and very focused on getting this right.
Change is hard. We all like things the way they are and seldom want to change or learn new things – even if they are better. We will push forward on our Windows Client update. A lot of the feedback has also been very positive and many have commented on how several things in the new Windows Client not only look fresher, but are easier to find, easier to learn, and more flexible to use.
The plan is to continue to leverage and update our Authorized BETA sites throughout the development cycle and right up until we ship!
As mentioned previously, we do plan to have a Tech Preview. The current plan is to release the Tech Preview in October. This will give most customers who desire a preview of the Windermere release access to the code and the ability to share opinions and issues with the Tech Preview community.
Beginning with BETA five, both the Authorized BETA sites and the Tech Preview sites will be given access to this build and all future BETAS on to release.
Windermere release is targeted to release by the end of 2013!
Internal Roll out
One of the major barometers that is used to determine if a product is ready to ship is to roll out the product internally to all or a significant portion of Novell/Attachmate employees. This process has begun. As many of you may know, Novell runs two production GroupWise systems. One system is used almost exclusively by the GroupWise engineering team. This includes Developers, QA Engineers, Product Managers, Project Managers, Documentation Writers, Usability Experts, and Managers. This particular GroupWise system has been running Windermere code on its post offices and primary domain since February. Many of the users are also using a Windermere Client or Windermere WebAccess. All of our internet email traffic has been going through a Windermere GWIA and Windermere MTAs have been up and running for a long time.
I currently run GroupWise Windermere Windows Client on my Windows 8 laptop in caching mode. My post office is running on a Windows Server 2012 box.
The other corporate production system is the main GroupWise system for the vast majority of employees. This system has also begun its internal roll out and so far the primary domain has been updated and 3 post offices. As this expands to hundreds of users in North America and EMEA, our IT department will begin to advertise and make Windermere Clients available for early adopter users to download and install. Later in the roll out process, users will be prompted to install the new client.
As the internal roll out goes, so goes the final release date. If it goes well, then Novell is more likely to be able to meet their expected final ship date. That is the goal!
Novell has also selected and began to engage with our Lighthouse customers. These are customers who agree to update their production systems prior to the final product shipping. Of course, they will probably update several times between the time the program starts and the final release of the product. This is another excellent barometer in providing Novell engineering the confidence needed to ensure that the product can be successfully deployed in production environment once the product ships. Currently we have selected three Lighthouse customers of varying sizes, geographies, and market verticals.
October is also the target for our Lighthouse customers to begin to roll out Windermere code into their production environments. If our Lighthouse customers are satisfied, then we will also have yet another data point on the readiness of the product and more confidence in our final ship date.
The last major task that must be completed between now and final shipment is our ability to test/fix any quality related issues that are discovered. Our QA team is in crunch mode with executing test cases, following test plans, figuring out steps to duplicate issues, and verifying that fixes not only worked, but also did not break something else. Management uses this time to watch defect trends to help determine product readiness and product stability. Quality Assurance will execute a multitude of tests and test passes to make sure the product is a known quantity and works as expected.
So that’s it….that is the status of the product and next steps that need to be completed in order to ship. I always enjoy your feedback and questions…so ask away!