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netriplex's picture
Joined: 2012/01/24
Points: 140

How do you as a current service provider deal with the continual lack of Thirdlane Connect backwards compatibility?

This latest release by Thirdlane (based on the release notes) has corrected many of the issues that we have had with Thirdlane and we are considering moving back to the Thirdlane platform and offering PBX as a service again. However, as of right now, we have 3 small clients that remained on thirdlane that we deployed single tenant VMs for with free licenses and 2 of the 3 tenants were complaining on Tuesday morning that they could no longer use Thirdlane Connect because it autoupdated on their mobile devices.

With a release with so many major changes, our normal internal control processes would be to evaluate the release on a separate system to ensure they were no issues before pushing it into a production environment with a 1000 extensions relying on your service to work reliably and stably. Further, we would typically want to give our customers a 2 week notice of a scheduled upgrade process so they are prepared. However, with the lack of backwards compatibility, this approach is virtually impossible.

Do you just yum update and pray the moment you find out a Thirdlane release has been made? How do you handle customer communication? Do you explain to customers that their Connect may not work for a couple weeks while you test the latest release to ensure stability (I can't imagine that would go over well)?

This latest release certainly looks promising and provides a path for us back to unifying customers back onto a single multi-tenant platform, however, I am petrified about the update process and the fact that essentially all updates are "breaking" with limited control over preventing those breaks from occurring.

thirdlane's picture
Joined: 2007/02/07
Points: 530

Unfortunately this is not a simple problem to solve at the vendor level. Our goal is to avoid the updates that break the app, but this is easier said than done. Besides the issues with app stores, we’ve also seen quite a few breaking Chrome and other browsers’ updates, so mobile is not the only place to worry about

We could provide an early warnings about releases, but it won’t solve the problem entirely. You should definitely test our platform updates, just try to minimize the testing window – another thing easier said than done :)

In any case, here are a few things to consider:

1) Advice your customers to turn off automatic updates. This is not a perfect solution (especially due to differences between App Store and Google Play), and it is clearly an inconvenience, but this may at least get you off the hook and minimize the impact of updates.

2) Advise your customers that they can use web version of Connect (using Chrome on mobile devices) during the transition and if they updated too early. Of course this is not perfect, but is better than being offline.

3) Get a branded version of Thirdlane Connect and control your own distribution and updates. This is probably the best option but there is a cost. See https://www.thirdlane.com/forum/white-label-option-for-thirdlane-connect

Also, please do not use free version of Thirdlane platform to simulate Multi Tenant – for a number of reasons, I hope I don’t have to explain.

Alex Epshteyn
Third Lane Technologies
Multi Tenant Asterisk PBX