I have noticed that there is still a lot of confusion and skepticism in regards to our Firmware release process, in particular when it comes to the Beta release.
I would like to try and clarify this as best I can, but keeping it nice and short as no one has time to read a long blob of detailed wording, right? 🙂
As per the name, this is the current firmware version that has been in production for a while. On average, you would want to be running this unless......
Stable Release Candidate
...... you are facing a problem. There is an issue in the current software that you have encountered and we have already implemented a fix, not on the current stable release, but in the next planned one.
"What about that new feature that I've heard about? I'd really like that. But I'm also facing a problem that is not being resolved in the Stable RC. What now?"
Well now, that's what the Beta release is for. What we call beta is actually a version that has already been tested in house extensively and in a selected number of networks to confirm stability of the platforms before releasing it to the public. The beta cycle is very quick and allows us to implement fixes a little bit more dynamically than waiting a stable release that may be months away.
I'll take the liberty now to give you my personal view (which having read the above, you can 100% skip!).
From a personal point of view, I find the denomination a bit misleading. I'm not a software developer, so I will not pretend I know why a release has been called a name and not another, but I would say not to look at Beta firmware as if it was a car with just 3 wheels. The car is complete, we put a shiny new touch screen display next to the driver seat and maybe even integrated the sat-nav in the windshield, plus you can now regulate the headrest, which is something that has been bothering you for a while, but it's not very popular and known yet, so you may not find a review praising it around.
With this, I'm not saying "Go and upgrade all your networks to Beta, NOW!" 🙂 As I mentioned earlier, we always recommend being in the latest Stable version (I would say it's important to keep up with the stable release train though). At times, Meraki Support will likely suggest to move up to a different version in order to fix that particular issue you are facing. I would encourage you, though, to cast a quick glance at the release notes that you can find under Organization > Firmware Upgrades , as they are normally going to state what we are fixing and what you should be expecting still being a problem.
Regardless of the versions you decide to roll out in your network, you will always benefit from our support, though do keep in mind that the older versions are on a best effort basis.
I hope this helps!
Many thanks for this post . It make it clear !
I have a question , to get the umbrella functionality on MR we had to update to 26.0 beta that the support pushed to our APs.
In the Release note for 26.0 it’s written to ask support for changelog, what we did but the support is answering that : because of Beta they don’t give release note !
Something is bugging me ,
Firstly on the release note it’s written to get in touch with support to get changelog , and support answering they don’t give .
Second , I love to know what I am actually testing ! All other vendors are telling you what has changed so that you know what to test .
I’ve been down this road also and find it to be very bumpy, with lack of any information. We used to run RC and Beta. And, for the most part had OK luck. But, then it got to the point of changing and finding out that all iOS devices couldn’t connect, or that AirPrint broke. If we are being asked to run Beta or RC, at least give us full details. You used the analogy of the car being complete, but then we later find out three of four bolts holding the wheels are left off. Even Stable has found oddities, i.e. broadcasting mesh SSIDs on an MX65W.
If you’re going to defend the reasons to use RC and Beta tracks, give us the details of what’s in them. How many support cases could be reduced by showing that information?
@aws_architect This typically happens when there are other items in the firmware which are not yet public.
The lack of transparency is not something that I am used to with other vendors.
You can't ask users to test if you don't tell them.
- what to test ?
- what are the other changed behavior from previous version
- known issues ...
@aws_architect I wanted to mention @MRCUR is correct, since there is (at this moment) no MR SRC and no MR Beta that you can navigate to on the Organization > Firmware Upgrades page, the only changelog notes are the public ones for the GA firmware at this time. Obviously, there is the MR 26 beta firmware, but the changelog is not quite there yet perhaps until it gains more field exposure with early beta customers and there is either an SRC release or Beta release or both available.
This is not an intentional lack of transparency on Meraki's part, for MR26 info the best way to get a handle on the new features, known issues, different/new behaviors is to work directly with your Meraki sales reps about specific new features. Once there is SRC and/or Beta on that firmware upgrades page, they'll be accompanied by the corresponding release notes.
If you were in a situation where you already need to run MR 26 you can engage with support or your sales reps to better understand the details about what's new/different and more importantly if there are known issues or caveats to be aware of so the risk can be minimized or eliminated.
@MerakiDave The approach is wrong.
to test the beta umbrella feature the support pushed on my prod the 26.0. Already this is strange .
I have no idea what is inside , what the other change that could affect my prod and what the known / open issues .
To finish you write on changelog to contact support to know what’s inside and when we do you don’t tell the change log because it’s not public yet !
If you don’t call that a lack of transparency , then let’s call full transparency if you prefers but this would note be true ..
I would argue the approach is not wrong if you work directly with your local Meraki sales team and leverage them to engage with the product team for the specific info you need. Depending on what you are testing or what details you require, there may be a process to follow, such as getting an NDA in place. Depends on the situation of course.
I understand the frustration but it isn't strange that you required 26.0 to test Umbrella, that is the version in which Umbrella support becomes available, it will not be in any 25.X versions to my knowledge. If you are working with Support they may not be able to disclose non-public information regarding the change log, that's true, but they should be able to give an indication (especially if they are pushing firmware and/or enabling features) if there is anything conflicting or any caveats specific to your configuration that could put your production environment at risk. Leverage your Meraki account team as best you can until the change log becomes public, which typically isn't too long. They can also engage with Product to review the specifics situation.
In Europe local Meraki sales team is almost inexistant and they dont work the same way as in US.
They also don't have the same means. Whatever I asked to them, wasn't taking care of.
Regarding the 26.0 yes it is strange, I wanted to test Umbella in beta not the 26.0 Beta that we don't know what is inside.
So here the problem : you pushed In my production the 26.0 and I have absolutly no clue what's inside.
Same as I will give you a pill but won't tell you what is inside
If saying what inside 26.0 is such a top secret big deal then don't push to production and don't write to ask support for changelog that they wont give anyway.
I would be you I would have done a 25.xx Beta with only the addition of the Umbrella feature.
This way it would be clear for the customer :same as before and only the Umbrella changes on the Firmware.
@aws_architect If you don't want to continue using MR 26.X, ask Support to revert the network(s) to the previous 25.X build. If you want to test the Umbrella integration, you will have to run 26.X.
It’s not about want or don’t want to use 26.0 this it’s about the process of release and the transparency
Ok I think I see the rub here. You wanted to test Umbrella while still in Beta. The problem is, Umbrella is only available with 26.0 firmware, that is the first code train Umbrella was written into. That gives a bit of a dilemma because there is no way to test Umbrella, in isolation, under 25.X firmware, and in order to test Umbrella you would also require 26 firmware, but you don't have the full details on what else that might bring along with it, until the release notes become public. This is where I would again suggest working directly with your local Meraki Sales team and Meraki Support to better understand if there could be any known issues or caveats specific to your environment, should you move your existing configuration to 26.0 firmware. If your Meraki Sales team is unresponsive for some reason as you indicated, then also work with your Cisco AM and SE, and Meraki Support in conjunction. Or PM me here in the Community and I'll try to make a connection.
I would like to chime in with what Dave is saying. Communication and continuous feedback is key for us, so we do try our best to be transparent with our customers in every step of the way; I think we do demonstrate this through our blog advisories, our efforts with the Meraki Community and the way we present the information regarding your network and your data.
Regarding @aws_architect specific's issue, I think the catch here is the fact that there is no open beta for the Meraki MR at the moment. The Umbrella trial on 26.X is sort of a Closed Beta and is purposefully targeted to only test out the Cisco Umbrella integration, so no Changelog is present to show what other fixes or issues are present. This is not in an attempt to hide what is being changed in the specific version, but rather due to this being a specifically targeted build. Echoing @MerakiDave and @MRCUR, I strongly recommend to coordinate with the Sales representative in this situation, as they can tap into internal engineering resources; Support might also be able to help out, but the timescales to get feedback might be slightly longer. I would say though, that it may be good practice to carry out this due diligence prior to the upgrade, so you can make sure that there is no adverse effect to you applying the feature.
@Welles, you should be able to have visibility of what's in all the releases by looking at the release notes via the Organization > Firmware upgrades page. We normally put in all the interesting stuff in a very summarised format there. If you are unsure of something, give Support a call and they should be able to clarify.
The issue I had was not listed as an issue in the “Stable” code, not RC or Beta. Somehow this “bug” made it through testing on Stable. Support did tell me that after I opened a case.
Also, being able to click on the “Release Notes” option in the firmware upgrades section is broke, it does nothing. You might want to check that out. Chrome 69 and Edge, Windows 10 and Safari on iOS 11.4.1.
From time to time a particular setup might cause some unexpected behaviours and we will need to tackle them on a case by case basis. Looks like unfortunately you came across one of these situation and I am sorry you had to go through it, but at the end of the day that's what our friendly support team is there for! 🙂 Hope this got sorted though.
Regarding the Release notes, thank you for bringing this to my attention. We have raised it internally and we are expecting a fix within the next couple of days. Sorry for any inconvenience!
So about the MR26 firmware ... I just bought some MR42E access points. After going through support channels and asking questions I come to find out that they can only run on MR26 firmware but yet in the portal, in your literature and anywhere else there is no mention of this firmware version even existing (from a new customer perspective). Then I come to find out that I can't even read about it as it's brand new beta code etc .... this seems to be a recurring theme with Meraki I'm quickly learning. I also purchased Insights and to run it I have to run the latest Beta code on MX gateway to even use it.
The lack of transparency here is staggering and gives the impression that Meraki is happy to get the revenue and not happy to share anything up front about it's code... I have to say, before looking to roll out Meraki across an entire country, that this has me quite concerned.