Yesterday I hosted an internal session to communicate to our SE's, exchange thoughts, open a platform to ask questions and most of all to motivate people to join the EA program. Many people from R&D joined as a speaker to provide information and very valuable insights. Software development is a complex process and automatically gets exposed to opposing interests from time to time. For our customers it's real important they get the features they're looking for at the quality and granularity level they expect. While I have a VERY high opinion of our R&D department and their creative skill-set the final proof of the pudding is in the acceptance of customers.
In order to validate our software developments we have a lot of stages, one has to be finished before we can start the next. Before we start exposing any code to customers a lot of cycles have already passed internally. This brings me to what I wanted to highlight: How does the release of R80.20M1 benefit anyone and how does that connect to the EA cycle? For sure a topic that raised some questions internally and a reason for me to share what was helping me.
- R80.20M1 is a management release that has a specific feature set oriented on management, what's new:
- New file system (xfs)
- Compressed snapshots
- SmartProvisioning and SmartLSM support
- Integration with Google Cloud Platform, Cisco ISE & Nuage Networks.
- SandBlast Agent Anti-Bot, Threat Emulation and Anti-Exploit
- SandBlast agent forensics and anti-ransomware
- Log Exporter
- Multiple simultaneous sessions in SmartConsole
And many more enhancements
- R80.20M1 is a GA release, people can install this release, get support on it etc
- This is not the GA of R80.20, you will be able to upgrade to it once released via CPUSE
- After GA of R80.20 more releases of R80.20Mx can be expected
It's important to realize that in the EA program, Check Point will invest a lot. R&D people are sent on site and they assist throughout the whole process from start to finish. That includes final migration to the GA version. There are quite a few benefits for a customer. Next to early exposure to new features they get into a direct relationship with R&D, feedback is always taken into account and sometimes even leads to changes of the direction. Internal guidelines say we won't ship new code until enough verification was done. This also means we need testing with live traffic (not the internet gateway perse, a subnet will do). Europe has a great reputation of contributing feedback in this program, a fact that makes me real proud.
So in conclusion, don't be confused as we released R80.20M1 as a GA release where the R80.20 is still awaiting release. We have to start at some point and this allows us to be much faster responding to market desires for specific features that focus on management. The plan is for Check Point to release a feature release for management every couple of months.
EA is a separate cycle and you cannot mix and match between the management release and the EA cycle, the latter also includes the gateway for instance.
I hope you enjoyed reading and this can help you in your jobs. Keep those EA customers coming, they benefit all of us!