I am totally new to blackboard, but I've been assigned the responsibility of the server, installation, and patching of our Blackboard learn enivornment.
I've got BB 9.1 SP8 installed, but I'm wondering what the 'proper' way to do on-going patches is. When I'm in the administrator panel the 'blackboard learn updates available' says "0"
As I know there SHOULD be at least one patch (for the java cert issue), either this isn't checking properly, or it is for something other than patches....
I also see there is a 'patch utility' that I haven't installed...
So, for a new BB admin -- what is the proper way to make sure I have a fully patched system now, and keep it patched in the future? I haven't been able to find a clear guide (i.e. I've seen some refer to manual patching, some refer to the patch utility. The java cert patch I know about because of the support bulletin - but I don't see it listed in the 'download' section, so I'm left thinking I'm not looking at the right section.)
The "Blackboard Learn Updates" list that shows on the admin panel only shows when there is a new service pack or hotfix available--things that require a complete new Blackboard installer file and cover a large number of issues. It does not tell you about individual patches, which are generally installed with the BbPatch utility (https://blackboard.secure.force.com/btbb_TSGArticleView?Id=50170000000WYP0AAO&RecordType=01270000000Hip5AAC) and which address a single specific issue. As a rule, you want to download ans install the most recent version of BbPatch, since many patches do not work with older versions.
Not all patches apply to all Blackboard versions, or all platforms on a particular version. Recently, Blackboard has begun putting together "patchsets", collections of essential patches that they recommend applying to all systems running a particular Blackboard version (For 9.1 SP8, see patchset 1 at https://blackboard.secure.force.com/btbb_ServicePackArticleView?id=50170000000WjYxAAK&pid=50170000000WXvUAAW). Beyond that, Blackboard issues support bulletins about specific issues that arise which they feel are essential for admins to address (such as the Java cert issue), and they may have patches associated with them, or they may require other action--setting or configuration changes--on the part of the administrator.
Aside from patchsets and service bulletins, Blackboard has other individual patches associated with specific known issues. Traditionally, Blackboard has only recommended applying a patch if you were seeing a particular known issue, because the patches are not regression-tested in the way service packs and hotfixes are, and you generally had to open a ticket with Blackboard support referencing the known issue to find out if there was a patch available for it and to get a copy. the vast majority of these will be installed via BbPatch, but occasionally there will be one like the Java cert patch which will require individual files to be replaced on your installation. Those are very rare, though, since BbPatch generally handles even simple file replacements.
The new Behind the Blackboard which has just been released changes much of that, so most administrators (including me!) are still just beginning to find our way around it. However, it appears that you can now search the Knowledgebase for known issues associated with a particular release, and if a patch is available for that issue you can see that from the KB article, though it looks like you may still need to request it from Support.
The best process now is probably to do a search for known issues that apply to your Blackboard version, then look for those that might affect you. For instance, a problem that affects installations using the Japanese language pack, or those that only occur on Linux/Oracle platforms, would not really impact my server, and I would ignore those. However, if an issue affected tools or functions that my users made heavy use of--or came out in a support bulletin--that would be a high priority patch for me to install on my server.
Does that help?
That helps IMMENSELY. Thanks very much for the detailed reply. I'm feeling better about my grasp on it now.
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