3.7. Early Access Program

3.7.1. Introduction

The Early Access Program (EAP) is a mode of gateway operation in the Cascade system. Gateways running in EAP mode have two main differences from those not running in EAP mode:

  1. The gateway subscribes to the “candidate” channel of system apps. This means they get a software update that isn’t published to full production, but is stable enough that the publisher considers it a “release candidate”.
  2. The gateway checks for updates to system apps up to four times per day. It applies these updates as they become available.

This allows for more proactive management and troubleshooting of any issues that might arise when a developer publishes their release candidate into production. Rigado recommends that each customer keeps two gateways in EAP mode for robust testing on a recurring basis. These gateways should mimic as closely as possible the customer’s real production environment and pipeline, without being relied-upon for production data.

3.7.2. Program Description

The Early Access Program gives Rigado Cascade customers access to Rigado and Ubuntu Core system app updates ahead of their official release, for testing and validation purposes.

Rigado uses gateway in EAP mode to test and validate that apps and data pipelines continue to run as expected when system apps update. This early validation ahead of full release ensures the continuous integrity of customer data pipelines.

Rigado requires and facilitates the setup and maintenance of at least two additional gateways per customer. These gateways operate in EAP mode, and preferably they are on-premises at Rigado offices. Rigado will work with each customer to set up these gateways as identically as possible to how the customer’s production gateways are set up in the field. This configuration may include:

  • customer apps
  • data pipeline components
  • sensors
  • Edge Connect configurations
  • cloud connections
  • customer data handlers

Rigado recommends that gateways in EAP mode use all of the critical parts that coordinate to deliver customer IoT data to the cloud.

“Advanced Mode” Customers, who write and maintain their own custom software apps on Cascade, can manage EAP mode for gateways with Configuration States. Advanced Mode Customers who have not yet had Configuration States enabled can manage EAP mode on the gateway details pane of any gateway.

3.7.3. The Edge Direct Agent

The Edge Direct Agent (rigado-deviceops) is an application that runs on every Cascade gateway. This application is often listed among the gateway’s “system apps”, but its release cycle is a little different. Where the other system apps are updated in a monthly maintenance window (specified by the customer, and updated by Rigado), the Agent checks for updates to itself every 24 hours.

In order to mitigate any issues that might arise when the gateway Agent self-updates, Rigado publishes all updates to that application in the “candidate” channel at least seven days prior to releasing those changes to production. When we publish this release-candidate, any gateways in EAP mode will apply the changes automatically. Rigado will also notify customers as soon as these changes are published to “candidate”, to allow customers the full seven day window for validation.

Customers should notify Rigado any time they experience issues with pre-release system apps. Once this early access period has completed and after Rigado addresses any customer-identified issues, we will release the changes to production via the “stable” channel.