After having released a new version of UCS with new features each November for the last few years, we have decided this year to reschedule the release of UCS 4.2 for April 2017.

There are a number of reasons for this move, one of the primary ones being the migration of apps from the App Center to the use of the container technology Docker. This results in increased security during operation and the possibility of running apps with different system requirements on one and the same system. In addition, this will also allow us to render the updating of UCS itself and the individual apps more independent of each other, thus significantly reducing the efforts required on the part of app developers and users in the case of new releases.

Docker was introduced with UCS 4.1, and since then some of the newer apps are utilizing this technology. The task at hand now is to transfer existing apps to containers without excessive extra efforts being required of the app developers. We have already managed to approve the first three apps in this process and hope that others will follow suit soon.

Independently of these events, we are also noticing that the market demands on our product have increased enormously. UCS is being employed ever more frequently in very large environments. For example, more and more municipalities are tapping the potential offered by our solution for the centralized management of the identities and rights of more than 100,000 users in their schools. In the past, such large-scale projects required some elements to be set up manually, which inevitably led to mistakes being made. We have now invested a great deal of energy in making UCS more robust in such situations and ensuring the selective replication of Active Directory domains in these scenarios is also more stable. We have already passed a number of important milestones and intend to keep following this path in the interest of continuous improvement.

Additionally, we are also continuing to develop the App Center. In the future, app developers will not only be able to manage their own applications autonomously via self services, but will also be able to offer their apps to partners and eventually end customers directly for purchase via the platform. The financial transactions can be processed entirely via the App Center.

We believe that it is far more important at this point in time to offer our customers and partners improved scalability of UCS, increased security when operating apps and an all-round more robust product than to adhere stubbornly to a release tradition. The users and partners we consulted on this matter have also confirmed our perception.

As such, we now intend to launch our release candidate for UCS 4.2 at CeBIT 2017. In addition to an updated Debian basis, we also want to develop a completely new approach for the operation concept: By implementing a central portal page, we aim to allow rapid access to all the applications in the domain as well as administration of the different UCS instances. In doing so, we are making it simple for UCS users throughout an organization to access approved applications quickly and easily.

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Peter H. Ganten is the founder and CEO of Univention.

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