In this article
OpCon 20 delivers features to clients faster, simplifying the upgrade and install process.
UI refinements and Deploy on Docker give users more flexibility
OpCon 20 overview
OpCon 20 brings a new release support model, simplified installation, tightened security, and a rewrite of Solution Manager. Here’s a quick summary of the features coming with 20.
- Long-term Support and Short-term Support release options.
- Clients can choose to get access to features as soon as possible (STS) or stay on a more methodical release cycle where all fixes will be applied (LTS).
- Online Help and Online Training
- Simplified Installation:
- New Web Installer
- Tighter Security
- External Events Password now External Token
- Works for either MSGIN or the OpCon API
- Disabled by default so users can opt-in
- A GUID instead of a user defined password
- Updated Password Requirements
- External Events Password now External Token
- Solution Manager rewrite
- Open Solution Manager from the Enterprise Manager to bridge the gap
- Workload moved from server-side to client-side to enhance scalability
- Configuration settings now accessible in the user interface instead of through an ini file
- Continued advancement of Deploy
- Deploy will now be available in a Docker container
How to choose between LTS and STS release options
SMA previously did two large product releases per year for all clients, but we now offer the flexibility to choose how your upgrade cycles happen with long-term support (LTS) and short-term support (STS) options. If your organization has a longer upgrade cycle, say greater than 18 months, the LTS option is probably the best fit. You don’t have to change anything with your plan, this is the new default.
With the LTS plan, SMA will deliver one major release per year, which will include new features and products. Clients are not required to upgrade, but SMA consultants are available to assist if your organization wants some extra peoplepower to handle the implementation of new features.
With LTS, you will also receive maintenance releases approximately every six weeks for the lifespan of that version. In addition, all bug fixes will be backported to all supported releases. The length of a supported release continues to be three years.
STS releases, by comparison, deliver early access to new features. Instead of a large yearly LTS release, the STS releases are shipped on a similar timeframe as the maintenance releases (approximately every six weeks). All defect fixes are applied to the next STS release instead of a maintenance release.
Clients can switch back and forth between the plans at no additional cost, but clients who switch from LTS to STS cannot switch back to LTS until the next major release.
LTS vs STS overview
Training and Help now available online
Now you can get any of your team members started on OpCon without waiting for a spot in one of our online classes. Our entire basic training course and supporting materials are available for access at your convenience.
Product documentation for OpCon releases, modules, agents, and connectors are now available conveniently in one place at https://help.smatechnologies.com/. All supported versions starting with 19.1 can be found here, allowing you to research new versions before upgrading.
OpCon Web Installer (OWI) provides a more convenient way to upgrade
OWI is now available through SMA’s Innovation Lab. We designed the new web installer to make upgrades run as smoothly as possible. OWI takes an inventory of OpCon core components and Windows-based agents you have installed and shows you which versions are available. This makes it easier to determine which programs need to be upgraded. Here are the features baked into this initial version of it:
- Grants the ability to download or install (which will also download as a pre-requisite) installers from the distribution location
- Runs available Windows installers in the required order for successful installation or upgrade
- Has the ability to run the installers from a filesystem rather than looking for the latest on the internet
- Has the ability to uninstall product components
- Works across OpCon component versions. The same OpCon Web Installer can be used to upgrade from 19.0.x to 20.x and can also install a different or new version of an agent or connector
- Has the ability to self-update itself (not the OpCon components) and will notify users when updates are available
OpCon 20 bridges MSGIN to the OpCon API
If you think about it, MSGIN was the first application programming interface (API) for OpCon. It was a mechanism for outside programs to send commands to OpCon and it authenticated with a user account as well as its external event password. All OpCon user accounts have an interactive password they use to log into the OpCon UI as well as an external event password.
In OpCon 20 we are rebranding the external event password to event token. It now works for both MSGIN and our OpCon API. It is important to note that all existing external event passwords (now external tokens) will continue to work as they are. The updates listed below require opt-in for each existing user. A few of the updates include:
- The external tokens are now auto-generated GUIDs rather than user-defined passwords. This eliminates the possibility of the External Token resembling the user’s actual login.
- There is an option for a Legacy external token which creates a shorter password supported by our mainframe and midrange Agents.
- External tokens are disabled by default.
- The external token can now be used to log into the OpCon API, or to submit events through MSGIN.
Solution Manager gets more scalable
We’ve shifted the resource load from the server-side to the client-side for Solution Manager. Now multiple users can monitor, manage, and change processes without impacting OpCon server performance. To go along with this, we’ve made some adjustments to the UI. More actions result in pop-up windows rather than requiring users to toggle between pages, leading to faster outcomes, particularly for experienced users. The configuration file that was previously somewhat difficult to locate is now much more prominent and easy to access.
Deploy hits Docker
In OpCon 19.1, we unleashed the power of OpCon in containerized environments. Since then we have worked to refine the experience of using OpCon in a container. We’ve hit a big milestone on our roadmap by containerizing Deploy’s web-service component (Impex2). This allows Deploy to work within a containerized OpCon environment. Included in this Deploy image are Docker run commands to determine server locale as well as to configure multiple NetComs.
Take your seat at the SMA Technologies Roundtable
We have a great series of bi-weekly roundtables on deck to take you through the holiday season. You’ll see presentations from OpCon developers and product specialists, and we highly encourage you to ask questions and give feedback. Let us know what you think and your idea could make it into the OpCon development roadmap.
Want to learn more about automation? Schedule a demo of OpCon!
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