Azure Sphere developers might have noticed that we now have two Azure Sphere OS feeds where once there was only one. The Azure Sphere Preview feed that delivered over-the-air OS updates has been replaced by feeds named Retail Azure Sphere OS and Retail Evaluation Azure Sphere OS. What’s the difference and what does it mean for you?
The Retail feed provides a production-ready OS and is intended for broad deployment to end-user installations. The Retail Evaluation feed provides each new OS for 14 days before we release it to the Retail feed. It is intended for backwards compatibility testing.
At the 19.02 release, both feeds delivered the same OS. The 19.03 quality update was released to the Retail Evaluation feed on March 14, 2019 and was promoted to the Retail feed on March 28, 2019. Future releases will similarly be made available on the Retail Evaluation feed for 14 days before they are promoted to the Retail feed.
What’s the value to you?
We’ve designed Azure Sphere for easy updates so that new versions of the OS can be deployed to customer sites without manual intervention. However, we recognize that you want an opportunity to verify your existing applications before your customers receive the new OS. The 14-day evaluation period lets you check that everything works as you expect.
Application binaries that are built only with production APIs from a given OS release will be compatible with all subsequent OS releases. To evaluate the new OS, we recommend that you assign one or more devices to a separate Retail Evaluation device group that is configured to receive the Retail Evaluation feed. Using the devices in this group as “canaries,” you can run your applications and OTA application deployments against the new OS version.
If you encounter problems, please notify us immediately through your Microsoft technical account manager (TAM) so that we can address any issues.
Get started with Azure Sphere
The best way to learn more about the Azure Sphere Retail and Retail Evaluation feeds is by connecting an Azure Sphere devkit or module to the network. If you haven’t already started building with Azure Sphere, you can get started quickly with modules that meet your needs from our ecosystem of Azure Sphere partners. To learn more, view the on-demand Azure Sphere Ecosystem Expansion webinar.