For over 10 years PortaOne has consistently delivered maintenance releases (MR) every 7 weeks without fail.*
To see the full list of new features in MR100 click here.
PortaOne CEO Andriy Zhylenko says that he regularly tells clients how proud he is that we haven’t missed a scheduled MR ever.*
(*With the exception of spring 2022, for obvious reasons.)
It’s a big milestone. This is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of so many PortaOne employees, working together for over 10 years, in collaboration and spurred on by our customers’ needs.
What is a MR?
MR stands for maintenance release. It is the way we at PortaOne deliver the new software version of PortaSwitch to our customers, released every 7 weeks. Each MR contains a handful of new features, new enhancements, and bug fixes for known issues, thus making it easier to move from one release to the subsequent one.
As written by our blog writer, Hennadiy Kornev:
So, we decided to abandon the classic “version” scheme. Now, we liken purchasing a software license from PortaOne to buying a sapling when you want a tree: pay once, and then (with some support and nourishment) it grows big and tall. All those new branches and all that summer fruit is yours to keep. And the MRs? Those are merely the notches that mark its growth.
(For Hennadiy’s full detailed answer to What is MR?, check out his 5 part series. Highly recommended for history lovers and those that appreciate the long game.)
How and why it all started
For some of our slightly younger colleagues and customers, you might be unaware that pre-SaaS, many companies were “offering” upgrades which required users to pay an additional fee for each subsequent version of a software system (think Windows 95, Windows 98, etc.). Not to mention that these upgrades were released about once a year or even less infrequently.
We understood then, just as we do now, that telecom is a complicated business. Needs are constantly changing and evolving. Just 10 years ago we might get a request such as a functionality for prepaid calling cards, e.g. complex rating and charging mechanisms. And now we receive requests for applications for IoT/M2M projects and integration with modern front end interfaces for office telephony, such as MS Teams.
That’s why it’s always been our goal to facilitate these changes as often and as easily as possible for our customers. Back in the early 2000s, we became one of the first companies who decided to shift from the classic version scheme of upgrades: “Major.Minor.Patch” to a scheme of a perpetual, unlimited license which guarantees the user that they are ‘future-proofing’ their system by buying all the new functionality and every component added to PortaSwitch, not to mention the maintenance and customer support along the way. No upgrade fee, no module fee, ever.
Many competitors might do a release each year, which is somewhat Agile, given traditional telco dev cycle duration. But it’s not Agile enough to enable fast adaptation to the ever-changing business landscape.
For more about our Agile development cycle, check it out here.
How we got here
After several years and 24 maintenance releases, we decided to take it up a notch by drastically shortening the “go-to-market” time (from ideation to deployment) for a new functionality. Initially you may have needed to wait 6 months (or more) until the next “big” maintenance release which contained the code for the needed feature was out. With large releases it was quite difficult to know the exact release date beforehand. We made a promise to our customers that they could receive these new functionalities of PortaSwitch every seven weeks. Starting with MR25 on April 9, 2012, the 7-week development cycle was revolutionary for its time, and in terms of duration and consistency over the years, you can say it still is.
What this has meant for our customers
This change in our development has benefited our customers on multiple levels. It has enabled our customers to consistently add new features into their PortaSwitch platforms.
Thanks to this reliability, our customers can confidently move forward with their own internal developments, request additional developments from us, and benefit from new features and updates that others in our community have asked for.
What do we do when even our 7-week agile development cycles aren’t fast enough for our customers? Or when customers want to implement changes and new features more often and get their ideas to market faster?
You ‘add-on’ new value-added services, at the speed and frequency that best suits you and your customers’ needs. We designed our Add-on Mart as a VAS marketplace, enabling users to develop and deploy new functionality without touching the “main” code of PortaSwitch – thus new functionality can be safely deployed in a matter of days! And in order to quickly connect PortaSwitch to other components of your existing technology stack, such as CRM, accounting, customer engagement, and eCommerce platforms – we offer Workflows – an easy-to-use, visual, low-code integration platform. Find out more about getting new services launched immediately with Add-on Mart.
Regardless of the amount of testing done by the PortaOne QA department or operator’s team prior to an update, there are some rare usage scenarios, outdated external applications or user habits that may result in negative customer experience after an update.
Dual Version Solution was created for gradual software updates and migration of batches of customers to the new release, minimizing the risks of impaired user experience and the amount of affected users; reducing the amount of preparation work for the update and allowing to quickly resolve any post-update issues by transferring the affected customers back to the old, stable release. You can also see a presentation from our 2021 PortaOne Telecom Conference which gave an indepth look at this solution.
What’s in store
In terms of maintenance releases, just remember they come out every 7 weeks! That means new functionalities and components that can assist you and your team to deliver better services to your customers.
Also check the latest PortaOne news on our website, where we regularly post information on new MRs, webinars we’re giving, or events we’re attending.
And don’t forget to check out and subscribe to our blog, which is full of interesting takes on PortaOne and our telecom industry at large.
You can always find all documentation on each MR, including new features, the admin guide, and more by visiting here.
And we also offer webinars several times a year which cover some of the latest releases. The last one covered MR97-MR99. You can see the full webinar and notes here.
Most importantly – while we control the regularity of MRs, you can assist in the content of the MRs. We work with our customers to add new features that solve their problems. So don’t forget to stay in touch with your customer relations manager to make suggestions, requests, and offer feedback.