Confidently install each new Vulcan release

Maptek Vulcan 8.2 will be released to customers in November. In this week’s blog, Tom Sweet, Director of Global Vulcan Quality Assurance, assures users that a rigorous global testing program is taking place behind the scenes.

Q. What makes Maptek Vulcan 8.2 the ‘most-tested’ version of Vulcan to-date?
A. We have increased our test assets 53 percent since the Vulcan 8.1 release in March 2011. Our dedicated internal test team, working from three continents, is the largest Maptek has seen.

Q. How has the external beta test program improved?
A. At the suggestion of one of our customers we created a beta release walk-through document that expands on the release notes. This outlines the major features of the Vulcan 8.2 release and also includes sample data and steps to allow users to easily work with the new features. We also added a Vulcan Downloader tool that allows customers to download Vulcan after validating their licenses.

Q. Explain in more detail the contents of the new release notes document.
A. This guide includes information on several new features coming in Vulcan 8.2: 256 Colour support; ISIS database from .CSV feature; Rapid Pit Design tool; and a Support Analysis feature that implements the geostatistical ‘change of support’. The latter allows users to model grade distribution from sample databases as if they were used to create resource block models at a given block size. The new polygon flag feature and attribute editor are explained as well. Grade estimation enhancements include alternative block centroids and alternative local search regions features.  Users will find the sample datasets useful to bring themselves up to speed as quickly as possible.

Q. Tell us more about the Vulcan Downloader tool.
A. Our clients have been asking us to make full releases of the software available to download. The Vulcan Downloader tool allows clients with valid licenses to obtain a full release of our software after the license has been validated, while protecting Maptek intellectual property. This tool has worked well for many of our clients.

Q. Tell us about the test labs for improving quality assurance.
A. Maptek runs Dell PowerEdge servers with Hyper-V Server 2008R2 dedicated solely to testing in each of our development offices.  We are actively testing on up to 40 virtual machines with operating systems from Windows 8 to Windows XP.  We restore several machines each night for running automated tests, and collect the results in the morning.  This allows us to quickly find and fix any regression bugs. We use Windows 7 64-bit for most of our testing.  Windows 8, along with Server 2012 are Microsoft’s newest client and server operating systems. We are well into the process of qualifying Windows 8. Some team members are running Windows 8 exclusively on their laptops and will be demoing Vulcan under Windows 8 at the North American Users Conference this week.

Q. Why should people feel better about upgrading each time there is a new Vulcan release?
A. Vulcan improves with every release. Each version is well-tested and the number of automated assets increases every time. The new walk-through product release guides are helpful for introducing users to the new features in the release, making for smooth transition.  Lately, we have been rolling out more frequent releases to get new functionality into users hands quickly. We encourage customers to take advantage of the new tools and features by upgrading their Vulcan version at each release.

Q. What are some of the plans for the future?
A. Once Vulcan 8.2 is out the door, we will be moving to Windows Server 2012 for our virtualisation host. This will allow us to apply more logical processor cores to our virtual machines, with improved management. We will also continue the qualification of Windows 8, and with testing Chronos with Microsoft Excel 2013. And, of course, we will continue to increase the number of automated test assets. Additionally, we plan to expand the Quality Assurance team’s customer outreach program to add user scenarios to our testing, including to our nightly automation runs.

Tom Sweet
Director of Global Quality Assurance - Vulcan
October 22, 2012

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