Staying Current with SAP Commerce Cloud Monthly Update Releases
It’s been 7 months since SAP released SAP Commerce Cloud 2211 and we want to share with you some answers to frequent questions we have received from our customers. The highlights are:
- Ensure you’re on a maintained release of Commerce Cloud. If you’re not on 2211, you should be starting your upgrade to 2211 as soon as possible.
- If you are on 2211, you must be on a current update release. If you are using SAP Commerce Cloud, composable storefront, you also need to be on a current release. Ideally, you’ll plan to take these monthly updates on like patches for other software you are running.
- On a quarterly basis the Commerce Cloud Monthly Updates may include new features (disabled by default). Enabling new features will be behind a feature flag for 12 months during which time you can evaluate, test and roll out the new feature on your implementation before they become standard features.
- Sign up to the SAP Cloud System Notification Subscription (CSNS) to receive notifications of new releases.
If you’ve been with SAP Commerce Cloud for quite a while, you’ve probably already come across monthly releases in what we used to call patches. We would release a monthly patch, which included non-breaking bug fixes, security updates and performance fixes. Once you’re on 2211 and start adopting the continuous update releases, you’ll see that 2 out of 3 monthly releases in a quarter are just the same as the patches we have been releasing for years.
New Feature Roll-out
For 1 out of the 3 monthly updates in a quarter we will roll out new features, which will be disabled by default. You can find the list of features rolled out and in which update they were released here. After 6 months the feature will be activated by default, but you still have the option to disable it. After 12 months it will be available out of the box just like any of our existing feature set. Some of these new features may be in extensions that you’re not using. For example, if you’re not using the assisted service module (ASM), then when the new ASM features become out of the box, you still wouldn’t be impacted because those extensions wouldn’t be included as part of your build.
You are still in control of when you take on the Commerce Cloud update (as long as it is a current release), which version you update, and which features you wish to activate that are by default in a deactivated state. You can choose the method by which you adopt these updates, whether it’s automatic, taking X updates behind the latest or being explicit about the Monthly Update version. We see a lot of customers tend to explicitly define the update, so they can control which update they’re on. Ultimately, we provide these 3 options, but the choice of update method you choose is a decision you must make to align with your business requirements.
These monthly updates are smaller and are unlikely to break your code. Our recommended practice is for you to adopt the latest update monthly. At the very least we need you to update twice a year to ensure all our customers have a secure and stable version of SAP Commerce Cloud and they can take on new features in smaller, easier to adopt ways than the major releases we have done prior to 2211.
For releases that are introducing new features or may have a breaking change (e.g., change to a 3rd party library) we will offer preview releases. This provides you with the opportunity to confirm any impacts. Preview releases cannot be deployed to your production environments.
If you’re running a version that is 3 months or less from hitting its end of maintenance date, you’ll start to see a banner on the environment page in Cloud Portal reminding you to update. Once you pass the date the end of maintenance date, you will no longer be able to create new builds with a non-current update, however you can continue to deploy/run existing builds.
SAP Commerce Cloud, composable storefront
If you’re running SAP Commerce Cloud composable storefront, you will also have to be on a current release for the same reasons as above. We covered this more in-depth in Staying current with Commerce Cloud and Composable Storefront. We recommend you start to upgrade to composable storefront 6.x and/or Node.js 18 now. When you’re updating to the latest composable storefront version you should look at update articles. Since composable storefront relies on libraries, you can use semantic versioning to configure the version to use for each library in your package.json file. At a minimum you should automatically take the latest composable storefront patch/bug fix releases, as configured by default when setting up composable storefront. You can then choose when to take on the major/minor releases of the composable storefront libraries. It is best to update composable storefront and SAP Commerce Cloud Monthly Updates at the same time to minimize the need for multiple testing cycles.
Including Updates as Part of Your Business as Usual
We are asked often how much effort will it take to execute the updates? For most releases, the effort to take on the updates should be minimal. Each update release with all its components and add-ons is developed and tested by SAP to ensure changes are non-breaking. The update should be seamless, and you should be fine to run your standard tests, just like you would if one of your developers is deploying a bug fix. For some releases there may be new features or code that is marked for deprecation that is removed. If you depend on these, then you may find there is more development and testing effort in that month. The testing effort will depend on if the new feature or removed code is used or not. For example, in March with the 2211.5 update we exposed new APIs on advanced-configurable products. A customer that only uses simple products, when picking up the March 2211.5 Update could decide to only run through their automated tests and skip a full user acceptance test (UAT) cycle. A different customer that does use the advanced-configurable products should run UAT, because that code is affected. Similarly, if a deprecated extension is removed but you were not using that extension then there would be minimal impact. If you are dependent on the code marked deprecated, then you would need to look at additional development efforts to switch to an alternative as well as additional testing time.
If you have a subscription to SAP Commerce Cloud professional or enterprise edition, you may be eligible for assistance from SAP through the Platform/Platinum or Technical upgrades included with your subscription. These may help you get to 2211 and then stay on a current version by assisting you with an update once every 6 months. We are also adding test automation as part of these activities to help our customers build confidence in taking on not only the monthly releases but deploying any build in between. Please reach out to your Customer Success Partner (CSP) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about Platform/Platinum/Technical upgrades.
We want to encourage all customers to get into a rhythm of business where they are taking on the updates of Commerce Cloud and composable storefront often. This means the level of changes is smaller and it gives more time to fix any unexpected issues. We also want to take the opportunity to remind you to check on the Cloud features we release automatically. These innovations do not require you to create a new build or to be on a specific version. SAP Commerce Cloud continues to evolve and provide a safe, secure platform for you to reach your customers around the world.
- What’s New in SAP Commerce Cloud– shows all changes across SAP Commerce Cloud. Use the Product Version filter to see what changed in a specific continuous update release
- New Cloud Features – Features rolled out automatically. Some features may have restricted availability as they are rolled out.
- Supported Major Releases – Covers which major versions (1905, 2205, 2211) are under mainstream maintenance. New builds with a version that is past end of mainstream maintenance will fail.
- Current Update Releases – List of continuous update versions of 2211 that are maintained. New builds with versions not in the table will fail.
- Changes by Release – details for what is changing in each continuous update release.
- Update Release Policy and Publication Frequency for Composable Storefront Libraries – table of current versions of composable storefront.