Release FAQ
Q:  What is the Luminate release schedule?
A: Releases will occur approximately every 6 weeks, with December as a blackout month.  Here is our tentative release calendar, which is directionally accurate but subject to change. 
  • Visit the Release Calendar article in the Luminate Knowledgebase for dates and information.
Q:  What types of releases should I expect?
A:  Customers can expect 3 different types of releases to occur:
  • Major Releases covers new functionality and will happen two times each year. These releases have site downtime for both Administrators and Site Visitors.
  • Maintenance Releases fixes, minor feature updates, and often contain foundational components of features we’re building for our Major Releases. These occur approximately every 6 weeks when a Major Release is not scheduled. You will be notified in advance of the release and provided with downtime information via the notification.
  • ePatches are those releases that fall outside of the planned schedule and occur when a change is urgent.  Notification of the patch will include any downtime information.

Q:  How will I receive notification of a release?
A:  Luminate Online customers who are subscribed to communications will receive notification of a release via email from Blackbaud Hosting or Luminate Support. 
Q:  How can I change my release notification subscription?
A: Reach out to your CSM to confirm what notifications you are set to receive or request to receive notifications you currently are not receiving.
Q:  When will I receive notification of a release?
A:  Our planned releases (Major and Maintenance Releases) have a standard 72-hour lead time for communication.  ePatches, as un-planned releases, do not require notification, but Blackbaud makes every effort to provide as much advance notice as possible. 

Q: If there are multiple installation dates for production sites, how will I know which wave I am in before the release?

A: Installation dates are determined near the release date.  Your specific update date will be in the communication you receive from Blackbaud Hosting or Luminate Support.

Q:  How will I know the impact of the release to my site? Will there be downtime for every release?

A:  The downtime and install window are dependent on the content of the release.  Most major releases will contain changes that will require at least some very brief downtime per site, but rarely we will have full downtime if we need to make major infrastructure changes.  The impact will be described in the communication you receive for the release.
Q:  How is the Luminate release schedule determined?
A:  Release dates are scheduled for clients based on product configuration, content within the release (features/fixes) and timing of the deployment. 
Q:  How can I check what release my Luminate site is currently on?
A:  The release information is features on the Luminate Status page and the Administrator Site Navigation Help/About.
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User-added image 

Q:  Where can I find Release Notes about the latest and past releases?
A:  The latest, as well as archived past releases, are available here: Release Notes
Q:  What am I responsible for as a client receiving a new product release?
A:  In preparation for a release, customers should review the Release Notes and Luminate How To User Guide . You can also check the Luminate Community and Knowledgebase for updates on release timing and any changes in the contents of releases.  Customizations may require updating depending on the release, and should be tested to ensure proper functioning. 
As you’re checking out new features, we welcome your feedback – please let us know what you think in our new Ideas Portal and from in-product surveys offered on some features. 

Q: How does Blackbaud ensure success of new features being released?
A: We prepare extensively for each release, including several methods designed to test and mitigate risk.  These include but are not limited to:
  • Beta release, where we collect feedback on a new feature from inside the product.
  • Early Adopter Programs, where we engage extensively with a group of customers to test and provide rapid feedback.
  • Multi-stage releases,  where we ship foundational parts of new features “dark” – or behind the scenes.
  • SDP (Site Data Parameter), where we ship something with an on/off setting that can be enabled at request or quickly disabled upon discovery of an issue.
Q: Can I request to be excluded from a release or change my release date? 
A: We are not able to exclude customers from releases, and release dates are set with the least impact in mind for the largest number of clients.

Q:  What additional resources are available to learn more about releases?
A: Check out the following resources available to Luminate Online customers: